Summary and book reviews of Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase

Black Rabbit Hall

by Eve Chase

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase X
Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2016, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2017, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl

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About this Book

Book Summary

For fans of Kate Morton and Sarah Waters, here's a magnetic debut novel of wrenching family secrets, forbidden love, and heartbreaking loss housed within the grand gothic manor of Black Rabbit Hall.

Ghosts are everywhere, not just the ghost of Momma in the woods, but ghosts of us too, what we used to be like in those long summers ...

Amber Alton knows that the hours pass differently at Black Rabbit Hall, her London family's country estate, where no two clocks read the same. Summers there are perfect, timeless. Not much ever happens. Until, of course, it does.

More than three decades later, Lorna is determined to be married within the grand, ivy-covered walls of Pencraw Hall, known as Black Rabbit Hall among the locals. But as she's drawn deeper into the overgrown grounds, half-buried memories of her mother begin to surface and Lorna soon finds herself ensnared within the manor's labyrinthine history, overcome with an insatiable need for answers about her own past and that of the once-happy family whose memory still haunts the estate.

Stunning and atmospheric, this debut novel is 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.

AMBER
Last day of the summer holidays, 1969, Cornwall

I feel safe on the cliff ledge, safer than in the  house, anyway. Afew feet  from  the  coast  path, it's a twenty-minute scramble  from  the edge of the estate, far enough  from  Black Rabbit Hall's watching win­ dows, a secret  place. I hover on the cliff above it for a moment or two, wind snapping my dress against my legs, soles of my feet tingling, then lower myself carefully,  gripping the clumps of grass, sea roaring in my ears.   (Best  not  to  look  down.) One small  heart-stop drop and  I'm perching right  on the edge of sky. Jump too wide, it's all over. I wouldn't do it. But it occurs to me that I like the fact I could. That I have some control over my destiny today. 

Pressed  against  the  cliff wall,  I finally catch  my breath. So much frantic searching: woods,  ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Lorna and Amber are two very different women at very different places in their lives, but both are forever changed by events that occur at Black Rabbit Hall. In what ways are these women similar? How are they different? Did you relate to one character more than the other?
  2. As children, Amber and Toby are almost inseparable, but after their mother's death they both change dramatically—Amber reflects that she "no longer feel[s] like a girl inside" (p. 93), and Toby becomes increasingly angry and wild. Why do you think the twins grow apart, instead of together? Do you think they would have stayed close if Momma had lived? Why or why not?
  3. During her first visit to Black Rabbit Hall, Lorna discovers a horse's skull displayed in the ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

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).

Full Review (454 words).

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Media Reviews

New York Post, “Required Reading”
A house, not a person, is the star of Chase’s debut novel—an ivy-covered country estate in Cornwall.

Richmond Times-Dispatch
Chase’s novel is lovely, dark and deep. But if you start it after sunset, you’ll likely have hours to go before you sleep. And when you awake, you might find that you have dreamed of Black Rabbit Hall again

The Huffington Post
A gorgeously written novel describing the love and affection that hold families together and the powerful forces that can tear them apart.

The Daily Mail (UK)
It's beautifully, poetically written and reminiscent of everything from I Capture The Castle to Hansel And Gretel. Eve Chase is a name to watch.

Publishers Weekly
Chase deserves high marks for her atmospheric setting and vivid prose, and fans of old-fashioned gothic stories will find this a winner.

Booklist
The highly atmospheric setting immerses the reader in rainy, muddy Cornwall as the narrative drifts between musty rooms and uncurls in front of the fireplace... Fans of Carla Buckley and Lucie Whitehouse will enjoy this thrilling story of crumbling walls, forbidden love, and family sacrifice

Kirkus Reviews
Compellingly readable and riddled with twists and turns worthy of Daphne du Maurier, Chase's tale will delight fans of romantic mysteries.

Library Journal
Starred Review. Chase's heart-wrenching first novel is equal parts romance, mystery, and historical fiction. For readers who are interested in complex period drama such as Daisy Goodwin's The American Heiress, or who enjoy a touch of the gothic such as in Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca or Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale

Author Blurb Alex Marwood, Edgar Award-winning author of The Wicked Girls
A deliciously intriguing novel whose rich sense of time and place bear more than a few echoes of du Maurier's best."

Author Blurb Michelle Gable, bestselling author of A Paris Apartment
Featuring a haunting, captivating storyline, an unforgettable Cornwall estate, and a cast of beguiling characters, Eve Chase has created a stunning page turner.

Author Blurb Wendy Webb, bestselling author of The Tale of Halcyon Crane
A deliciously addicting gothic in which dark secrets of the past scratch at the door of the present in a big, old, crumbing house on the wild Cornish coast. It's got it all, a lady of the house as crumbling as the bricks themselves, a mysterious maid, love, tragedy, evil and a strong heroine trying to make sense of it all.

Author Blurb Margaret Leroy, author of The Soldier's Wife
Black Rabbit Hall is an enthralling and deeply moving novel about family secrets, loss, and love. I was charmed by the beautifully-evoked Cornish setting, and the engaging children who are brought so vividly to life. Eve Chase is a wonderfully gifted storyteller.

Author Blurb Carla Buckley, author of The Things That Keep Us Here
Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase is the spellbinding, lusciously-written story of two families twined together across the span of time, trapped in limbo in a magical, sea-swept Cornwall house with secrets as deep as its Normandy roots.

Author Blurb Deborah Lawrenson, author of The Lantern and The Sea Garden
Eve Chase's deliciously intriguing descriptions will pull you in alongside her heroine Lorna in the red car that moves like a drop of blood down the drive to the house of secrets and dusty enchantments, as the outside world fades away.

Author Blurb Rowan Coleman, New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental Mother and The Day We Met
Expertly crafted, dark, beautiful and utterly enthralling.

Author Blurb Hester Young, author of The Gates of Evangeline
With rich and darkly evocative prose, Eve Chase's Black Rabbit Hall is a mesmerizing Gothic tale of tragedy and romance that will leave you feeling wind-swept and exhilarated.

Author Blurb Lisa Jewell, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Girls
Black Rabbit Hall completely swept me away, a glorious, beautifully written fairy tale for grownups. I absolutely loved it.

Reader Reviews

RobertaW

Good Gothic Read
I tend to love mysteries that involve old houses with some kind of secret history. Black Rabbit Hall is such a place. The story is woven between generations, the first being the Alton family in 1968 and present-day Lorna who is looking for a venue ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Gardens of Heligan

The Italian GardenThe grounds of Black Rabbit Hall (In Eve Chase's eponymously named novel) are depicted as lush and untamed, a state of wildness that could be the site of enchantment or of danger. Several times Chase mentions "giant rhubarb" growing wild in the woods around Black Rabbit Hall, a detail that immediately reminded me of a real Cornish garden that seems to share a number of qualities with the abundant foliage encircling Black Rabbit Hall – Heligan.

Mud MaidHeligan was once the home of the Tremayne family, near the Cornish town of Mevagissey. It was a beautiful home surrounded by elaborate, well-tended gardens developed over hundreds of years. But the outbreak of World War I, among other factors, meant that the garden quickly slid into neglect, ...

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