Our book club just read Black Rabbit Hall, by Eve Chase. This page-turner chronicles the troubles of the Alton family in 1968-69 Cornwall. Fifteen year old twins Toby and Amber, 5 year old Barney, and 3 year old Kitty leave London for the summer holiday to their family estate of Pencraw, affectionately called Black Rabbit Hall for the black rabbits that appear on the lawn at dusk.
The Altons are a happy family, until their loving, free-spirited American mother is thrown from a horse while searching for Barney during a storm. Her tragic death begins the unraveling of the family, as their grieving father Hugo emotionally disconnects, Barney refuses to talk about the accident and is never quite the same, and Toby becomes increasingly wild and paranoid. It’s left to Amber to hold the family together; but her fortitude is tested when her father remarries the cold and rigid Caroline Shawcross.
Amber’s point of view is alternated with that of Lorna, a young woman looking for a wedding venue, in the present day. She is irresistibly drawn to Black Rabbit Hall, but puzzled at its hold over her. She meets Mrs. Alton-now an old woman, alone in the house with only her housekeeper, a young woman named Endellion, for company.
Lorna remembers photos of her and her mother in front of the drive to Black Rabbit Hall when she was a child, and is determined to discover her connection to the old, crumbling estate-even if it means jeopardizing her relationship to her fiance, Jon.
The book is full of secrets and revelations, twists and turns that kept me guessing and obsessed; I haven’t been this enthralled with a book since The Girl On The Train. If you’re looking for an entertaining, fully satisfying read to keep you up into the wee hours, take a trip to mysterious Black Rabbit Hall.