The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton by Elizabeth Speller
|The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton by Elizabeth Speller|
|Category: Historical Fiction|
|Reviewer: Louise Laurie|
|Summary: A young girl, Kitty Easton, has disappeared from a small, Wiltshire village. It has a catastrophic effect on the family but also for the local community - but is she dead or still alive? Elizabeth Speller was kind enough to talk to Bookbag.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 416||Date: May 2011|
|External links: Author's website|
I reviewed and thoroughly enjoyed Speller's The Return Of Captain John Emmett so I was really keen to get stuck into the follow-up. The main character, officer Laurence Bartram is also an important character in the previous book, but both are stand-alone novels in their own right. The front cover is evocative and is also as pretty as a picture - literally. With its intriguing title which had me asking all sorts of questions before I'd even opened the book, it was a good start.
We meet the world war one, battle-scarred Laurence as he leaves the bustle of London for the tranquility of an English village. He's both a gentle man and a gentleman, if you get my drift. His character traits and personality slowly, bit by bit creep up on you until you feel as if you've got the measure of him. His passion for church architecture and history gets him an open-ended invite to stay with the Easton family. He may very well live to regret it. Chatty Eleanor is happy to give Laurence the low-down on the family members as she collects him from the local railway station. And straight away I was struck by 'poor' Lydia living some sort of miserable half-existence since her daughter, Kitty vanished. But how can a five year old girl just vanish from the comfort of her bed and from the security of her home without anyone knowing about it?
By degrees Laurence learns of the details of 'that night' around ten years ago. He finds that, to his surprise, he becomes involved in the whole sorry saga. It's not like him. He's got enough on his plate. A tragic past and the aftermath of the war. Various members of the family are introduced. I did feel it rather Agatha Christie-like (and funnily enough she gets a mention in the novel). And I really liked Speller's style. She gives descriptions where they matter, but she doesn't feel the need to waffle on needlessly. Her characters are all credible and believable and they all earn their place in the story. Laurence, for example, kind man that he is, upon being introduced to Lydia for the first time had obviously been expecting a woman somewhat different:She didn't look like a woman who was shut away with horrors. Nevertheless, the reader sees that Lydia is frail and has some sort of inner turmoil.
And as Laurence starts to chat and speak with the local community as well as the family members at Easton Hall, he's able to build up a picture of events past - and present. But there are many gaps in stories told and there are also individuals who are shifty, to say the least. The plot thickens nicely. Intrigue upon intrigue.
Speller brings in the element of local, rural poverty with the farm workers and the like with the contrast of the comfortable lifestyle of those at the Hall. There's also an element of upstairs/downstairs and it all works very well indeed. I enjoyed this book even more than the first, simply because the subject matter appealed to me personally. Both books have Speller's elegant and intelligent style stamped all over them. An absolute treat of a book. Highly recommended.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
If this book appeals then you might also enjoy The Return Of Captain John Emmett also by Elizabeth Speller.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton by Elizabeth Speller at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton by Elizabeth Speller at Amazon.com.
Elizabeth Speller was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
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