Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase
Rating: Very Good
Description: At Black Rabbit Hall nothing much ever happens - time seems to move slower at this idyllic holiday home in Cornwall. Until the worst thing happens and for the Alton children time feels like it's stopped altogether. As they run wild, lost in grief and confusion, an outsider, Caroline Shawcross, and her dark angry son Lucian enter their lives, changing them forever. In the present day, Lorna Smith is searching for her perfect wedding venue and is inexplicably drawn to the now crumbling Black Rabit Hall, unaware that her own history is locked up in those derelict walls... (from Goodreads)
Why I Picked This Book: I can't resist a Cornwall sitting and throw in a falling down former idyllic holiday home and it's definitely a book for me! Plus, I loved the cover!
My Impression: From the beginning the book is thick with atmosphere, tension, and a sense of dread. I was pulled into Amber's world (late 1960s) immediately and found her so easy to connect too. She's 14 and an unusual mix of child and adult. I felt protective of Kitty and Barney, worried for Toby, wary of Lucian, and intense dislike and distrust for Caroline.
The Lorna plot took me a little longer to get into. It was still interesting because we're seeing the house 30 years after Amber's story and I was looking for clues as to what had happened but I didn't have quite the instant fall into the story that I did with Amber.
My reading of it did slow down a bit in the middle. Not because the pacing was off but because it was almost too rich. This book reminded me a bit of a sinfully rich wonderfully chocolate-y dessert but one that's best eaten in small bites. With all the atmosphere and tension and richly drawn settings and characters I found myself feeling saturated if I read it in too big of chunks. For me this was a book to be savored and not devoured.
Normally, when a book is compared to another author or another book I take it with a grain of salt (because - seriously - how many books are the next Gone Girl or for fans of The Girl on the Train?). For this one I saw comparisons to both Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and Kate Morton's books. This is one of the few times I felt like the book really lived up to the comparisons. We have the sense of dread and maze of a house that we have in Rebecca's universe and the complex characters and interwoven characters that Morton excels at creating.
Black Rabbit Hall stayed in my thoughts even after I had put it down. I wanted to know what happened, what was going to happen, and what secrets were still left to discover. I loved the world that Chase created and reading it was just an indulgent treat - just like that rich chocolate dessert!
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely! I really enjoyed this book.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Absolutely! Especially to fans of Kate Morton, Rebecca, or just old houses with lots of secrets.