The Birdcage

The complex dynamics that fuel sisterly love but ignite rivalry set the emotional tone for British author Eve Chase's irresistibly suspenseful drama, The Birdcage. Featuring a rugged English coastal setting, Chase's fourth novel explores the corrosive effect of the long-ago secrets and betrayals of three half-sisters who share the same father, a prominent artist named Charlie Finch. Flora, Kat and Lauren grew up spending summers at Rock Point, the Finch family's Cornwall villa overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. But the horror of a deadly accident on the property during an August afternoon in 1999 ended that annual ritual, and they haven't been back since.

The Birdcage opens during a wintry January snowstorm 20 years later. The sisters are summoned to Cornwall by Charlie with the promise of an important announcement. As Flora, Kat and Lauren reluctantly return to their childhood summer home, each reliving her role in that decades-old accident, the ominous presence of a mysterious man with a black dog and the ramblings of their late grandmother's geriatric parrot, Bertha, deepen the mystery of the sisters' dark past.

Chase (The Wildling Sisters) navigates the relationships Flora, Kat and Lauren have with each other and with their father with masterful strokes, offering enticing, layered glimpses into their early years. At the same time, the rising tension in the present, inflamed by the shock of Charlie's announcement, boils over during the course of one particularly stormy night. The eerie, ethereal imagery in The Birdcage--named (in part) for the painting that critics consider Charlie Finch's "masterpiece"--will linger with readers long after they part ways with the Finch family. --Shahina Piyarali, reviewer

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