Lorna is getting married. She's dragged her fiance to Cornwall to check out a new wedding venue: a dilapidated old estate called Pencraw Hall. The owner, Caroline Alton- a formidable old lady, has just opened up the place for events. It's drafty, dusty, and even has a tree growing up through the floor boards. Lorna's groom thinks it's a disaster, but something about the place calls out to Lorna. When she's offered a chance to stay a few days to explore the house, she takes the opportunity to check out the house also known as Black Rabbit Hall and its secret history.
Thirty years earlier, the Alton children spent happy childhood vacations at Black Rabbit Hall. They ran barefoot through the woods and along the beach, a departure from their London life. Their glamourous American mother and besotted father watched over them. Everyday was a holiday until tragedy came into their lives one Easter vacation. Afterwards, sadness hung over the family, bringing changes that would forever alter Black Rabbit Hall and the Alton family.
Black Rabbit Hall is a modern gothic romance, not quite Daphne duMaurier, not quite V.C. Andrews, but with elements of both. There is forbidden love, jealousy, death, a nasty villain, and secreeeeeets. The estate itself is a character, much like Manderley is in Rebecca. It has a history that draws people to it. The locals are wary of it. The owner is desperate to keep it, even though it seems past saving.
|Not quite as creepy and far gone as Crimson Peak|
For the most part, I enjoyed Black Rabbit Hall. It wasn't completely unpredictable. I did feel like there was a lull somewhere in the middle and kind of forgot about it for a few days. I do have a few quibbles. I know the 1960s were a different time, but I thought it some of the events were caused by an extreme case of insensitivity. I'm not sure if it's believable or not. It's hard to get into without giving too much away, but it's something I'm still considering. I'd love another reader to talk about it with me. (I'm not talking about Caroline. She is the worst.)
Despite those feelings, I recommend Black Rabbit Hall if you are itching for a bit of gothic.
About the Audio: There are three narrators: Nathalie Buscombe, Katie Scarfe, and Cassandra Campbell. I had no idea there were 3 different women reading until now. Seriously. I couldn't tell you who read what part. The only thing I noticed was that I hated the American accent on Amber's mother during her sections. You can listen to a sample of Black Rabbit Hall on Soundcloud (careful it's an autoplay website).
Thanks to Penguin Random House Audio for the review copy. All opinions are my own.