The Birdcage by Eve Chase
|The Birdcage by Eve Chase|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A good, engaging read which will keep you guessing until the end.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: April 2022|
|Publisher: Michael Joseph|
|External links: Author's website|
It's the 7th of January 2019 and we know that a body has been pulled out of the sea at Zennor in Cornwall. We don't know whose body it is. Four days earlier, Flora, Kat and Lauren had gathered at Rock point at the request of their father, Charlie Finch, a famous artist. The girls are actually half-sisters and their dates of birth are embarrassingly close. Finch was known for his fecundity, if not for his fidelity. It's been a long time since the girls have been at Rock Point together: just over twenty years ago, at the time of the total eclipse, something happened. Kat and Flora were obviously involved but Lauren was a victim and it's left her very wary of her sisters.
She's also very wary of birds and she really doesn't want to encounter Bertha, her father's African Grey Parrot who has an uncanny ability to mimic people's voices, usually at the most inopportune moments. Lauren did have one friend in the area: their cleaner's daughter, Gemma. They haven't seen each other since the traumatic time of the eclipse but Lauren writes regularly and it gives her great comfort.
Why has Charlie called them all to Rock Point? The girls have some fame as Finch painted them: the three sisters were pictured with Bertha's cage and it was probably Finch's best and certainly most famous painting. It means that Lauren is recognisable in the area despite not having been there for a long time and she quickly comes to realise that the family is being watched. There are people who would like them to leaave. There's another shock in store for the girls: Charlie announces that he's going to marry Angie, who worked for the family twenty years before: the girls called her 'Monster'.
What, you might wonder, can possibly go wrong? Well, Flora and her son Raff have only reluctantly been allowed to make the visit by Flora's husband, Scott. The relationship is controlling and coercive but it's not clear that Flora realises this. Kat's New-York-based business is in financial difficulty and she's largely trying to ignore what's happening – as she is with the fact that the man she loves is marrying someone else in six weeks. And Lauren? Well, Lauren's mother, Dixie, died just a few months ago and there's a suspicion that Dixie was the love of Finch's life which doesn't endear Lauren to her half-sisters, or to their mothers.
I first encountered Eve Chase when I read The Glass House. I don't usually read historical fiction but I was impressed. It was hard to put down and very satisfying so I was never in any doubt that I was going to read The Birdcage which is thriller rather than historical fiction. It was a hard act to follow but it was largely done successfully. It's difficult, in a story which features four girls/young women who are very similar in ages, to bring them out as individuals but Chase handles this well. It was a good read and I'd like to thank the publishers for allowing Bookbag to have a review copy.
If this book appeals then you might enjoy The Club by Ellery Lloyd.
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