The Wildling Sisters

In Eve Chase's suspenseful second novel, secrets threaten the bonds among four sisters. As she did in her debut, Black Rabbit Hall, Chase cleverly alternates between the present and the past, and at the heart of The Wildling Sisters is Applecote Manor, an eerie British country estate.

In the summer of 1959, Flora, Margot, Pam and Dot are sisters living in London with their widowed mother. The girls grow up spending summers at the manor, their father's family estate occupied by their uncle, aunt and cousin Audrey. But Audrey has gone missing, her disappearance is unresolved and her parents are distraught. Despite her absence, the cousin remains a haunting presence throughout the story, tying together the past and present, "the house's magnetic north." The four sisters meet two young men and suddenly their monotonous but peaceful summer turns into one of excitement and adventure, as well as jealousy, competition, secrecy and revenge.

As time passes and its inhabitants come and go, stately Applecote Manor is the one constant in the novel, described by Margot as "creamy and solid, like a block of vanilla ice cream," its vast gardens filled with "clouds of lavender, drowsy bees... fat baby-pink roses." Applecote's new owners discover a house suspended in time, filled with the absence of Audrey and plagued by the past. Their first winter at the house brings a catastrophic snowstorm and a final resolution to the mystery of Audrey's disappearance. Chase's skillful buildup of suspense is thoroughly engaging, keeping readers speculating right up to the dramatic end. --Shahina Piyarali, writer and reviewer

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