This country used to be heavily wooded and forested. Much of our history and many of our legends are rooted in, well, roots – dense tracts of ancient trees that stretched for mile upon mile and contained deeply hidden, ancient, and unknowable secrets. It’s only relatively recently that the forests were cleared, and fields and villages and towns took their place. But something of the mystery of the woods lingers, even today.
Eve Chase plugs directly into this timeless heritage and her description of the woods surrounding the Harrington family’s remote manor house is genuinely creepy and full of mystery. I loved its atmospheric quality. The events that take place out in the trees are inexplicable, too – a baby girl is found abandoned; soon afterwards, a body is discovered. This is a great, compulsively readable story. We loved it.
The Harrington family have retreated in shock and grief to their remote woodland hideaway as they struggle to come to terms with a dreadful tragedy. So, when a gorgeous, gurgling baby is discovered in the forest that surrounds their manor house, buried deep in the trees, they are uplifted and see it as a sign of hope and absolution from their pain.
But the Harrington’s are pragmatic. They know the authorities will claim the child. So, they keep her hidden; their special secret in a special summer. Somehow the long, sunlit days dappled under the leafy branches confer a kid of dreamlike state where conventions and rules and normal behaviour simply don’t apply.
But then a body is discovered out there in the grounds. And everything changes.