12 Oct 2016

BLACK RABBIT HALL.

After yesterday's review of August's readers group book, today I'm bringing you September's read which the group will be discussing tomorrow ...

BLACK RABBIT HALL by EVE CHASE.

BACK COVER BLURB: The four Alton children spend every blissful summer at their family's Cornish home, a house nicknamed Black Rabbit Hall, playing on its sun-baked lawns, building dens in its woods. Endless days without an adult in sight. Amber, the eldest daughter, cannot imagine anything ever changing.

But no one foresees the storm that will bring it all to a tragic end, turning Black Rabbit Hall into a twisted, unforgiving place that will steal their childhood innocence. A home that not all of the Altons will be strong enough to survive.

Decades later, as Lorna winds her way through the countryside in search of a wedding venue, she discovers a disturbing message from one of the Alton children carved into a tree.

Will the truth of that dark summer finally creep into the light? Or should some secrets be buried forever?

FIRST SENTENCE {Prologue: Amber, last day of the summer holidays, 1969, Cornwall}: I feel safe on the cliff edge, safer than in the house anyway.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page  183}: Lorna's heart sinks. Just when she felt she was getting somewhere. Still, to be fair, Mrs Alton looks quite drained beneath the powdery blooms of blush on her cheeks, giving her the eerie appearance of an aged china doll.

SOURCE: A Reading Group read.

MY THOUGHTS: Let me begin by saying that this is a work of fiction and as such a certain amount of poetic licence is to be expected but there were certain things so implausible as to greatly mar my enjoyment of this book. The main one being ...

The threadbare rugs, the dark dank rooms, the peeling wallpaper, the dead seagull blocking the chimney, the hydrangea growing through the ballroom floor - all wonderfully descriptive of an ancestral hall long since past its prime but what bride-to-be would even consider holding her wedding here let alone show such determination to do so? 

Different eras (the late 1960's and 30 years on) and people. As if jumping around between the past and present, between the different occupants of Black Rabbit Hall, didn't make for potentially confusing reading. Add in the fact that many of the chapters ended in what amounted to cliff hangers and its hardly any wonder that I'd occasionally lose the thread of certain aspects of the story, finding myself having to back-track.

Perhaps surmountable concerns IF I'd otherwise found myself gripped by the plot and/or engaged with the characters but as it was, a case of too little too late, it wasn't until around page 150 or so and the hint of a tragedy that my interest was momentarily aroused and some pages after that that I found myself vaguely interested in how the story might eventually pan out. 


13 comments:

Kelly said...

What a shame about this one! The blurb sounded so good - yet I feel sure from what you said, it would probably not work for me, either.

Natasha Hill said...

It's a shame you didn't enjoy this one as much, the blurb made it sound great! This will probably be one of the books I keep an eye out for just in case as it did grab me, but then if it gets quite complex and there are lots of threads of story feeding into one, it might be one I have to really sit down and lose myself in. Great review though Tracy! And don't worry, I prefer the origami pumpkins too :D - Tasha

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Sorry you didn't really love this one and aspects felt unrealistic. Yeah, I can't really see a bride wanting to get married in such a run down place.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Aw too bad. At least it did grab your attention a bit. Sometimes it takes me a while to get into a book, but the constant cliffies would bother me too.

Suko said...

Tracy, thanks, as usual, for sharing your honest thoughts. I hope the next book you pick up is more to your liking.

DMS said...

Sorry you didn't enjoy this one more. You did a great job explaining your thoughts. As always- I enjoyed your review. :)
~Jess

Literary Feline said...

I'm sorry this one didn't work for you, Tracy. I have a copy of this one to read and hope to fair better, but we'll see.

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

I thought I had marked this one as a Goodreads 'Want To Read', however when I checked I found that I had never actually added it to my list, so I obviously had second thoughts, even at that stage!

It really wouldn't do for us all to enjoy the same books would it? That would be a bit boring and predictable and wouldn't leave any opening for a good debate or discussion.

I wonder what the rest of your reading group will have made of the story, you managed to crystallise your thoughts very well, but then you always do :)

Yvonne

Brian Joseph said...

The plot sounds interesting. It is too bad that in the end it seems like it did not work.

There are certain types of books that require a realistic plot. Lack of believability in such books can really ruin them.

Tracy Terry said...

The only one not to have enjoyed the book. The other's all liked it, one of the group going as far as to say she thought it was the best book we'd ever read as a group.

ClaudineGueh@CarryUsOffBooks said...

It looks and sounds (in the blurb) excellent and I was really curious. Perhaps if I come across it and get to read the first few pages . . . Sorry you didn't enjoy it, Tracy.

Melliane said...

that's true that it looked good. It's too bad it wasn't more than that in the end

Gina R said...

Aww...I had high hopes for it too after reading the description! Darn. Oh well, better luck next read...