About the Book
Ponden Hall is a centuries-old house on the Yorkshire moors, a magical place full of stories. It’s also where Trudy Heaton grew up. And where she ran away from…
Now, after the devastating loss of her husband, she is returning home with her young son, Will, who refuses to believe his father is dead.
While Trudy tries to do her best for her son, she must also attempt to build bridges with her eccentric mother. And then there is the Hall itself: fallen into disrepair but generations of lives and loves still echo in its shadows, sometimes even reaching out to the present…
What I thought
This has been a bit of a roller coaster read for me. Had you told me at any time that one day I’d give a book that is very much based around Emily Brontë a 4 star review I’d have been sceptical. Ever since school, classical literature has just never been my thing.
I have never heard of Ponden Hall and as it was the only hint in the blurb that this is a place synonymous with the Brontë’s then I wasn’t aware when I requested the book on Netgalley of what I was getting myself into; I just thought it sounded good and might perhaps be a bit of a ghostly tale.
After the first few chapters in I decided that it was probably best to admit it wasn’t what I was expecting and that I wouldn’t be able to review it. But I kept reading, one more chapter, one more. The first ghostly apparition – mmm, maybe I will read it.
There are several strands and story lines associated with this book. The setting, as I already mentioned is Ponden Hall. Trudy Heaton grew up here but left at a young age to marry her true love. Her husband is a Doctor and after a plane crash over a Peruvian forest he is now missing presumed dead. He leaves behind Trudy and their young son Will. Devastated at losing her husband, Trudy returns to Ponden Hall to live with her estranged mother who she hasn’t seen for 15 years. Whilst not strictly a time slip story there is the mystery of Agnes who lived at Ponden Hall in the 1600’s. There are the many ghostly encounters within the house whilst Trudy is staying there which revolve around Agnes and her tragic story. There are the notes that Trudy finds hidden in different parts of the house which she recognises as being written in the hand of Emily Bronte herself. There’s the architect who Trudy meets who seems eager to help her restore the hall and save it from its dilapidated state.
All these different strands are linked together by the house and its history over the last 400 years. I admit that at times I found it a little slow but Agnes’s story was interesting and also some of the encounters that Trudy had with ghosts of the past actually made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. It was a very atmospheric book with descriptions of the bleak Yorkshire Moors, the drab, damp and cold weather (that I can totally identify with). It is quite a creepy book at times.
The last part, when all the various strands are brought together is so good. I’m saying no more because I wouldn’t like to spoil the book for anyone but I did enjoy the last part the most. I cannot honestly say that myself and the subject matter were a perfect match. It’s quite possible that had it been in the book description on Netgalley that it was Bronte related, there’s every chance I may not have requested it. Having said that I’m glad I stuck with it and read it all as thinking back over the whole book, it really was an excellent story and told in a very heartfelt way. Due credit must be given to Rowan Coleman as you can just tell she must have lived this story while she was writing it. A lot of research and a passion for the Bronte family has gone into its writing.
It might not all have been quite my kind of story but I am certain there are many readers who will absolutely love it.
♥ Happy Reading ♥
You can download a Kindle copy of this book on Amazon and at the time of publishing this review it is only 99p so if you fancy reading this hurry and download it now. The paperback is due for publication on 8 August 2019.
With thanks to Ebury Publishing via Netgalley for an ARC of this book.