BookBrowse Reviews Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Black Rabbit Hall

by Eve Chase

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase X
Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2016, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2017, 400 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A thrilling spiral into the hearts of two women separated by decades but inescapably linked by the dark and tangled secrets of Black Rabbit Hall.

Lorna has finally found the love of her life. Her relationship with Jon has always been easy and exciting at the same time, and she can imagine spending the rest of her life with him. But, like many engaged couples, the very process of planning a wedding may prove to be the biggest test their relationship has yet faced. Lorna, who recently and unexpectedly lost her mother, finds herself inexplicably (and, in Jon's mind, irrationally) drawn to a crumbling old mansion on the Cornish coast called Pencraw Hall on the wedding website, but known to all the locals as Black Rabbit Hall. Lorna is convinced that this is the same mansion she and her mother visited together when Lorna was a child, and despite Jon pointing out the house's many leaks, crumbling plaster, and overgrown gardens, Lorna is enchanted by its romantic ambience, its beauty, and, most importantly, the fact that she feels a mysterious emotional connection to the place.

Lorna's contemporary story, during which she grows increasingly entangled with the house's elderly owner and its skittish caretaker, alternates with an account of tragedy and betrayal that unfolded at Black Rabbit Hall more than thirty years earlier. Fifteen-year-old Amber Alton has always been as close as can be to her twin brother Toby. The two of them adore their much younger siblings, as well as their vivacious American mother. Their mother, in turn, adores Black Rabbit Hall, the family's wild country retreat from their more staid London existence. But during the Easter holidays in 1969, tragedy strikes the family and sets into motion a series of events that will leave all the members of the family deeply changed – and that may result in a cascade of additional misfortunes.

At first, the connection between the two stories – separated by several decades and connected only by this ramshackle old mansion – is unclear. And while it's likely that few readers will be entirely blindsided by the revelations that eventually disclose the threads tying the Alton family's harrowing past together with Lorna's more optimistic present, few will anticipate all the thorny turns that the narrative will take before its surprisingly upbeat conclusion.

Black Rabbit Hall is drawing a number of comparisons with the beloved novels of Daphne Du Maurier, not least because of their shared setting in Cornwall, but also because of a more generalized exploration of the links between a specific, evocative place and (often devastating) family history. Chase's novel rarely shifts setting from the confines of Black Rabbit Hall and its environs; when it does, the change is both jarring and a bit liberating, as if the reader can finally take a deep breath, away from the stifling and yet spellbinding atmosphere of this place.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in April 2016, and has been updated for the August 2017 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Gardens of Heligan

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Forest of Vanishing Stars
    The Forest of Vanishing Stars
    by Kristin Harmel
    Kristin Harmel's historical novel The Forest of Vanishing Stars was very well-received by our First ...
  • Book Jacket: African Europeans
    African Europeans
    by Olivette Otele
    The nexus of Africans and Europeans is not a recent historical development. Rather, the peoples of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Killing Hills
    The Killing Hills
    by Chris Offutt
    The personified hills of the novel's title foreshadow the mood of this brooding and ominous tale. ...
  • Book Jacket: The Vixen
    The Vixen
    by Francine Prose
    Recent Harvard graduate Simon Putnam has been rejected from grad school and has thus returned to his...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
All the Little Hopes
by Leah Weiss
A Southern story of friendship forged by books and bees, in the murky shadows of World War II.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Forest of Vanishing Stars
    by Kristin Harmel

    An evocative coming-of-age World War II story from the author of The Book of Lost Names.

  • Book Jacket

    The Temple House Vanishing
    by Rachel Donohue

    A modern gothic page-turner set in a Victorian mansion in Ireland.

Win This Book!
Win Gordo

Gordo by Jaime Cortez

"Dark and hilarious ... singular and soaring ... Hands down, top debut of 2021."—Literary Hub

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

N Say N

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.