About the Book
Seraphine Mayes and her brother Danny are the first set of twins to be born at Summerbourne House. But on the day they were born their mother threw herself to her death, their au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of a stolen baby.
Now twenty-five, and mourning the recent death of her father, Seraphine uncovers a family photograph taken on the day the twins were born featuring both parents posing with just one baby. Seraphine soon becomes fixated with the notion that she and Danny might not be twins after all, that she wasn’t the baby born that day and that there was more to her mother’s death than she has ever been told…
Why did their beloved au pair flee that day?
Where is she now?
Does she hold the key to what really happened?
What I thought
I don’t know where to start with this review as I’m still suffering a book hangover days after I finished it, I enjoyed it so much. I thought it was absolutely brilliant.
For some reason I had it in my head before I started it that it was historical fiction but it’s not. It is a time slip story but only a time difference of 25 years which when you get old like me passes by in a flash.
What I will say is if you read this, be prepared to devote some quality time to reading it because you’ll need to concentrate fully. It’s complicated, at least I thought so anyway. But then when families start keeping secrets, it’s bound to get complicated.
The setting is Summerbourne, a large family home in Norfolk close by to the coast. I would love to live there myself as the descriptions of the house and it’s location in a small village with a beach within walking distance sounds wonderful.
The narrative is told by both Seraphine in the present and Laura the Au Pair 25 years ago in alternating chapters. The chapters are short and at times I did get a little confused on starting a new chapter as Seraphine and Laura were so alike in personality. Added to that, the fact that most of the story takes place in the family home Summerbourne, it would sometimes take a few paragraphs into a new chapter for me to get my bearings as to what time period I was reading and who the character was telling the story. Like I said you need to give this book your full attention at all times, as it can get confusing.
In the present the book revolves around 25 year old Seraphine Mayes who has recently lost her father in an accident. She shares the family home with her brother Edwin and twin brother Danny. Her mother died on the day she and her twin brother were born. As she goes through old photo’s she stumbles upon a photo of her mother holding a baby. She looks so happy and Seraphine can’t understand why hours later her mother would choose to end her life. Neither can she understand why there is only one baby in the photo. This starts her on a search for the truth, which is where the rest of the book leads us.
The other chapters told by Laura the au pair take us back to the time when she started working for Seraphine’s mother at Summerbourne. This was prior to the twins birth and she was there to look after Edwin who was around 4 years old at the time. At a point almost towards the end of the book the two stories meet up in the middle and all the secrets and mysteries of Summerbourne and the family who live there are gradually revealed.
It’s a fascinating story with a cast of supporting characters equally important in the grand scheme of things. You end up rooting for each one of them and I don’t think there was a single character that I didn’t like. Although it’s not a programme I watch, it did remind me of Midsommer Murders in some ways. Though there are no murders and no detectives lurking round corners it had a similar feel to it. On outward appearances to anyone looking on, they seem like an idyllic family living an idyllic life but there’s tragedy and heartbreak lurking just below the surface. A fantastic book, it will take me a while to let it go completely.
I really hope the author is working on her second book, it will be interesting to see where a new book will take the reader.
♥ Happy Reading ♥
With thanks to the publisher Little, Brown Book Group via Netgalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The book is available on Kindle now and the paperback is due for release on 11 July 2019 which you can pre-order on Amazon