I was so pleased to receive a copy of The Secrets of Rochester Place as it sounded like exactly my kind of read and I was right! I am delighted to share my review today.
About the book
A LOST CHILD.
A LONG-KEPT SECRET.
THE HOUSE THAT HOLDS THE KEY
Spring 1937: Teresa is evacuated to London in the wake of the Guernica bombing. She thinks she’s found safety in the soothing arms of Mary Davidson and the lofty halls of Rochester Place, but trouble pursues her wherever she goes.
Autumn 2020: Corrine, an emergency dispatcher, receives a call from a distressed woman named Mary. But when the ambulance arrives at the address, Mary is nowhere to be found. Intrigued, Corinne investigates and, in doing so, disturbs secrets that have long-dwelt in Rochester Place’s crumbling walls. Secrets that, once revealed, will change her life for ever . . .
Who is Mary Davidson? And what happened at Rochester Place all those years ago?
Set between the dusty halls of Rochester Place and the bustling streets of modern-day Tooting, this emotive, intricately layered mystery tells the spellbinding story of two people, separated by time, yet mysteriously connected through an enchanting Georgian house and the secrets within its walls. For fans of Sally Page’s The Keeper of Stories.
I do love a book set over two different timelines which make you wonder what the connection between the two is going to be. This book in fact had an extra earlier time period brought in through the pages of a diary which I particularly enjoyed.
It was a notably mysterious start to the book as Corrine receives a phone call from a distressed woman, but when the emergency services get there the woman, and in fact the house, is nowhere to be seen. Not surprisingly, this both mystified and intrigued Corrine – and me as well.
I really enjoyed both the storylines of this book. In the present day, Corinne’s quest to unravel the mystery behind Rochester Place was very compelling. The 1930s part of the story was so evocative of a turbulent time in world history and showed clearly the awful effects that had on so many people. The author combined the past and the present so well and certainly kept me guessing as to how they would come together.
There is a strong focus on people who have left their native lands for one reason or another and how they are treated by those in their adopted countries. This was particularly true of the 1930s timeline which references both the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War but we also see xenophobic treatment of people regarded as a bit different in the present day storyline.
The Secrets of Rochester Place is a beautifully written, atmospheric story of love, courage and family secrets. There are so many layers to the book and it’s clearly well researched, which makes for a very satisfying read.
My thanks to Ellie at Penguin Random House for sending me a copy of this book for review.
The Secrets of Rochester Place is published by Penguin.
The ebook is available now and the paperback will be published tomorrow (8/12/22)
About the Author
Iris Costello is the pseudonym of Nuala Ellwood, who was born in 1979. She has a BA Hons degree in Sociology from Durham University and a Master’s in Creative Writing from York St John University where she is a visiting lecturer in Creative Writing. The author of six highly acclaimed novels, Nuala has a teenage son, Luke, and is based in York and South London