When I heard that there was a book coming out that was comparable to “Rebecca” I just knew that I had to get my hands on it! I knew I was bias going into it but I still am not sure if I was for or against the book. Certainly, it has some of the gothic appeal and charm of the great classics but it does fall short. Of course, this did not come as a surprise to me as it is hard to top the best in gothic literature. Still, this novel is not without its merits and if you’re hankering for some good old fashioned gothic but have re-read the classics too many times...then this is your book!
Eve is caught off guard when she falls for Dom, a man that she meets in a maze near Lake Geneva. The couple have a whirlwind romance which eventually leaves them on the doorstep of Les Genevriers, a slightly dilapidated estate with great atmosphere and a troubled history. Eve falls in love with the property but as she becomes more and more involved with its history, Dom becomes more distant and moody. Eve knows that Dom was married before but he refuses to share any information with her regarding that part of his life. Of course this pushes Eve to snoop into his past, even if it means placing her relationship with Dom in danger.
Alternating with chapters by Eve, are those written by Benedicte who was a previous owner of Les Genevriers. Benedicte, now elderly, is looking back on her troubled life plagued by the ghosts of her blind sister and violent brother. While the reader is able to see where Benedicte’s story is going, she is blind to its own development. For some readers, this was annoying and they felt that the mystery was predicable. However, I didn’t view this book as a mystery. Instead I thought it to be an atmosphere piece. While I knew more about Benedicte’s past than she did, it made me hurt for her and yearn to hear her side of the story.
Some readers were let down by this book and thought it not equal to “Rebecca”, lacking in mystery, and overall predictable. I agree with each of these assessments. However, I do not believe that these were in any way detrimental to the story. This novel is a stand alone that, while boasting similarities to the great gothic classics, holds its own story and purpose. Additionally, this book is not written as a mystery or thriller any more than “Jane Eyre” or “Wurthering Heights” was. The intrigue is used to develop the atmosphere, not the “who-done-it”. The predictably of the plot is to each their own. I had figured out elements of the ending within the first hundred pages though my true joy in reading it was knowing more than the characters and yet still watching it unfold. Overall, this is a good read. It’s not great, but it certainly kept me occupied for a few days and left me feeling satisfied with the story.