Black Rabbit HallLarge Print - 2016
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It is not often that a debut novel draws comparisions to classics of a genre, but Black Rabbit Hall delivers a rich, engaging story in the vein of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca. Scouting locations for their upcoming wedding, Lorna and Job travel to Cornwall to seek out Pencraw Hall – known to locals as Black Rabbit Hall for the hundreds of rabbits that inhabit the crumbling estate’s grounds – an estate Lorna visited once with her mother as a young child. Once they arrive, Lorna feels a strong sense of déjà vu and although it is nearly derelict, she is delighted with the eccentricities of Black Rabbit Hall – the colourful and innumerable rooms, the ivies that have broken through the mortar to trail up the interior walls, and the elderly matron of the hall, Mrs. Alton. Mrs. Alton slowly reveals the story of Black Rabbit Hall and the once prominent family that called it home, and Lorna discovers her connection to the manor is not one of mere memory. Chase exposes Lorna’s connection through a second narrative, that of Amber Alton, a young girl who lived at Black Rabbit Hall thirty years previously. By switching back and forth between the past and present, Chase weaves an incredibly atmospheric story with a pace that keeps pages turning long into the night. Reminiscent of other gothic stories like Valerie Mendes’ Larkswood, Black Rabbit Hall is an imaginative, brooding debut novel of tragic romances and obsession. Best enjoyed on a dark and stormy night near a crackling fireplace.
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