*I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to the author, Penguin UK – Michael Joseph and NetGalley. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Outside a remote manor house in an idyllic wood, a baby girl is found.
The Harrington family takes her in and disbelief quickly turns to joy. They’re grieving a terrible tragedy of their own and the beautiful baby fills them with hope, lighting up the house’s dark, dusty corners.
Desperate not to lose her to the authorities, they keep her secret, suspended in a blissful summer world where normal rules of behaviour – and the law – don’t seem to apply.
But within days a body will lie dead in the grounds.
And their dreams of a perfect family will shatter like glass.
Years later, the truth will need to be put back together again, piece by piece . . .
From the author of Black Rabbit Hall, The Glass House is an emotional, thrilling book about family secrets and belonging – and how we find ourselves when we are most lost.
The Glass House is a decades-spanning story about women’s secrets and complicity; about motherhood and mothering, and the distinction between the two.
The story is told mainly in two threads: Rita, nanny to a troubled family in 1971, and Sylvie, dealing with her marriage breakup and the subsequent estrangement from her daughter in the present day (with some brief glimpses into other character’s perspectives, such as teenage Hera in 1971).
It is clear from the outset that the two disparate threads will converge at some point, but how and when is a complete mystery. Which mirrors the many other mysteries in the story, such as what happened to Jeannie’s baby; why Hera and Teddy are so unsettled; why Rita avoids romantic entanglements; and where did the baby in the woods come from. And, of course, whose is the dead body that appeared days later, and who killed them?
The story starts a little slowly, but the reader is soon drawn in to the rich inner world of the characters – that heavy summer oppression of secrets and lies – and the plot twists and turns, with clever foreshadowing and fateful coincidences, until finally the story comes together in a satisfyingly dramatic, and yet hopeful finale. But the real focus here is the characters. Party to their intimate thoughts and feelings, I found myself totally immersed in what really happened at Foxcote Manor, and whether Rita, Jeannie, Hera, Teddy, Robbie, Sylvie and Annie can all find some form of happiness from the tangled mess woven around them.
This is a story of family and secrets, the lengths we would be willing to go to for those we love and what it means to be a mother. And how those last two might be inextricably linked.
A glass conservatory shrunk to finger-doll size, Rita’s terrarium is the only possession she cares about. The only thing she owns that has no practical purpose. On the night of the fire, after tugging Jeannie and the children down the smoky stairs in the dark, she’d tried to return for it, but the blazing heat beat her back. She rescued it the day she went to get the baby’s things. It was like reuniting with an old friend, a dear silent companion. Housing the most perfect mossy rock and among other plants, a maidenhair fern she’s named Ethel and another she’s grown from a tiny black spore (Dot), the terrarium is the one constant between her unlikely nanny’s life, and Life Before.
– Eve Chase, The Glass House
The Glass House is available on Amazon right now!