“There are two courses open to a gentlewoman when she finds herself in penurious circumstances…….One is to marry, and the other to find a post in keeping with her gentility.”
With no other prospects in sight, Martha Leigh takes a position as governess for eight-year-old Alvean TreMellyn at her family’s estate Mount Mellyn in Cornwall. Alvean’s mother Alice has been dead for a year, after she ran away with her lover they both died in a tragic train wreck – burned beyond recognition. Her father Connon is cold and withdrawn, especially with his daughter. Martha settles in and builds a relationship with both Alvean and the waif-like Gillyflower and she also finds herself attracted to the master of the house (well of course!), but then things soon begin to go bump in the night in typical Holt fashion.
Does Alice’s presence still live on at Mount Mellyn? Did she really die in the train wreck? Why is Connon so remote from his daughter? What about Connon’s relationship with the beauteous but haughty Lady Treslyn? Who framed the last beautiful governess for theft so that she lost her position and was forced to leave? Does someone want Martha out of the way as well? What about these mysterious blinds in the house where one can watch what is going on in another room without being seen? Does the house have more unknown secrets?
That’s as much as I’m going to tell – read it for your self! Like a couple of the other reviewers, I noticed a definite similarity between parts of this story and Rebecca and Jane Eyre (but that’s a good thing), although she’s still got a surprise or two in store for you that will keep you turning the pages until the very last reveal (gad, what a nail biter). While she’s not quite up to the perfection that is Du Maurier, I think you’ll find this a perfect comfort book to curl up with in front of the fire with a glass of red wine and chocolate.