The four Alton children spend every blissful summer at their family’s Cornish home, a house nicknamed Black Rabbit Hall, playing on its sun-baked lawns, building dens in its woods. Endless days without an adult in sight. Amber, the eldest daughter, cannot imagine anything ever changing.
But no one foresees the storm that will bring it all to a tragic end, turning Black Rabbit Hall into a twisted, unforgiving place that will steal their childhood innocence. A home that not all of the Altons will be strong enough to survive.
Decades later, as Lorna winds her way through the countryside in search of a wedding venue, she discovers a disturbing message from one of the Alton children carved into a tree.
Will the truth of that dark summer finally creep into the light? Or should some secrets be buried for ever?
Eve Chase Biography
Eve Chase always wanted to write about families – ones that go wrong but somehow survive – and big old houses, where family secrets and untold stories seed in the crumbling stone walls.
Black Rabbit Hall is such a story.
Eve is married with three children and lives in Oxfordshire where she is working on her second book which will be available in Spring 2017.
Eve Chase on the Inspiration Behind Black Rabbit Hall
Writing on holiday is tricky. Beaches call. Children don’t understand why you haven’t finished yet. You always find sand in your characters’ shoes, the sea trickling into the plot. But story ideas rarely pop up between nine and five on a working weekday, as requested, preferring to be the uninvited guest. So Black Rabbit Hall began its ant-like march across my laptop screen one afternoon on holiday, not so many summers ago, as I gazed out at choppy waves on the Roseland Peninsula, my favourite part of Cornwall, remote and wild, a land of secret coves, wooded valleys and patchy mobile reception. I’m very glad Black Rabbit Hall started life there – it would end in a caffeinated blizzard in my stuffy writing shed in landlocked Oxford – because it couldn’t be set anywhere else.
If you relocated Black Rabbit Hall to Wales, say, or Suffolk, the story would suck back violently like a spring tide, leaving hard bare sand. The novel owes much to Cornwall’s mythic savage beauty, and its isolation. Like Black Rabbit Hall itself – the crumbling old family house at the heart of the story – Cornwall is a crucible for action, hard to escape, perilous, which is why novelists have always been drawn to it. Much of Black Rabbit Hall – a time-slip novel – is set in the 1960s, an era when Cornwall was not so much remote as teetering on the very edge of the world. It can be an unforgiving place if things go wrong, as they do, catastrophically, one stormy afternoon, for the four siblings at Black Rabbit Hall. Cut adrift, left to fend for themselves, they learn that there is magic in the harsh wildness too, once you know where to look, a possibility of refuge. (Sadness feels different by the sea. It is smaller. And so are you.) Those siblings must escape to survive. Not all manage it. And the survivors, wherever they go, are forever left with a bit of that Cornish house buried inside of them, like something glinting at the bottom of a deep tin mine. Writing the book that summer, it occurred to me that all I wanted was for one reader to turn its last page and feel the same.