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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Margot and her sisters Flora, Pam and Dot used to spend their summers with their uncle and aunt at Applecote Manor. Margot loved spending time with her older cousin Audrey. They looked like sisters and were close friends. Margot always looked up to Audrey. However, one day Audrey disappeared and that also ended the visits of the sisters to the manor. Five years later they finally go back. Margot is fifteen years old at that time and looks more like Audrey than ever. She's still fascinated by her cousin's disappearance, but her sisters advise her to let it go. Boys, memories of the past and age differences are making it difficult for the sisters to remain united. The truth tends to come out though and when it does they will need their sisterly bond more than ever.

More than fifty years after Audrey's disappearance Jessie and her family are moving into Applecote Manor. They need a chance of scenery, because Jessie's stepdaughter Bella is acting out. That's why Jessie and Will have decided to move to the countryside, a fresh start for all of them. Jessie hopes the move will improve her marriage. Will is a widower and Jessie always feels like she has to compete with his deceased wife, but can never win. Bella is openly hostile and Jessie doesn't know how to handle her. She has her little girl Romy to protect and doesn't trust Bella with her sister. Bella feels at home in Audrey's room, is fascinated with the past and wants to dig up old secrets. Will the new home bring Jessie and her family peace and quiet or will secrets of the past influence their idea of a happier future? What happened at Applecote Manor that still haunts the home?

The Wildling Sisters is an amazing gripping story. I was captivated by Margot and her family history from the start. I love reading about old houses and am a big fan of mysteries, so the vanishing of Audrey is something that kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved how Eve Chase sets her story both in the past and the present, which makes the impact of Audrey's story as huge as possible. Each main character is interesting and I loved their versatile personalities. Margot is a sweet and perceptive girl. She can't let her cousin go and while her sisters seem to be able to move on, she's somehow stuck in the past. Bella is fascinated by this same story many years later. Her connection to Audrey is her room and therefore she's just as strongly involved, but in a completely different way. I loved how Eve Chase connects the two stories and was blown away by both of them.

Eve Chase knows how to build tension and that makes her story suspenseful and thrilling. She kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. The Wildling Sisters is a story to read in one sitting because it's too good to put down. I love books about sisters and this is definitely a great one. There are plenty of surprising twists and turns and the complex relationships are intriguing and well thought through. Eve Chase combines this with a beautiful setting that can be both creepy and inviting at the same time. I really enjoyed reading The Wildling Sisters, it's a fantastic thrilling story that I highly recommend.

Advice

If you love stories about siblings, old houses and secrets you should definitely read The Wildling Sisters.

About Eve Chase


I write from a shed/studio in my garden in Oxford, accompanied by bits of wildlife that creep over the threshold to investigate my biscuit crumbs. A small space, it's perfect for cooking up bigger ones: sprawling, richly dysfunctional families, stories that seed into the cracked mortar of old houses. I love to read about such things, and write about them. I also love a cracking narrative pace. Words that dance on the tongue. Characters you want to scoop up and put in your pocket for safe keeping.

I'm married with three children.

I dream of Black Rabbit Hall's boot room.

Links

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Amazon

Interview

1) Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

In no particular order: I only started driving in my forties; I was phobic of dogs until I got one last year; I can whittle away hours looking at garden plants online; I love ferns, Johnny Cash and dark chocolate; I’m totally addicted to The Crown on Netflix.

2) You write about family secrets, what was the inspiration behind Audrey’s mysterious disappearance?

A child disappearing is a primal thing. We’ve all had that moment, in a supermarket or a parking lot, when we look around and can’t see our child. The heart stops. Life stops - until we catch sight of them again. I wanted to write about that.

3) Applecote Manor is a house with a history, is it based on a real place, where/how did you get the idea to write about it?

There’s no real life Applecote Manor, although I’m sure a trawl through Oxfordshire’s real estate could cast a house for the movie version. (If only!) One of the inspirations for the house is Kelmscott Manor, the Cotswolds retreat of the arts and crafts movement and William Morris. It’s a wonderful house, beautifully preserved and open to visitors. Morris called it, ‘the loveliest haunt of ancient peace.’ And I agree. https://www.sal.org.uk/kelmscott-manor/

4) You explore family relationships, how do you come up with the different connections and is it difficult to describe the emotional side of them? How do you prepare for the deep issues?

I have the characters’ basic family tree ordered before I start but the emotions develop as I write: I pull some forward, others back, to speed up the plot and keep the story cohesive. I would love to be one of those novelists who have everything pre-planned but it doesn’t happen like that for me - I think as I write.

5) Your writing space sounds great, can you tell a bit more about it?

It’s a little wooden studio at the bottom of the garden, where I procrastinate by looking at the flower bed and birds. I love gardening and seeing the seasons change outside my window brings both joy and deadline panic. I have a dog - a very hairy golden retriever called Harry - who likes to lie by my feet and has lent the place a bit of a doggy pong. My three children think it’s really funny to turn the lights out in the studio from inside the house. My husband runs a business from the studio next door. We iChat each other, wondering if it’s time for lunch. It usually is.

6) Buildings play an important part in your stories, what’s your favourite kind of fictional place and what kind of buildings are inspirational for you?

Houses are important because they’re usually the hub of the family, the private space where dramas get played out. The building doesn’t have to be beautiful or grand to be interesting but it does need character, a soul. And if it doesn’t have it - say, we’re talking about a very bland apartment, with no personal touches - then that in itself is important and curious since it says a huge amount about the character who lives there. Dwellings reveal their inhabitants.

7. How did your passion for stories start?

I was that little girl with the diary, endless notebooks and the well-used library card. I’ve written since I can remember. I was also very lucky to have very well read, loving grandparents - both died in their late nineties - who hugely encouraged me. I’d go and see them for tea and their first question was always, ‘So, what are you reading?’ They believed books mattered.

8) You also work as a journalist, how is it to combine writing articles with writing stories?

I do less journalism now - fiction takes up most of my time - but so much of my earlier journalism has fed into my novels, the characters, the travel, the houses…I think it’d be really hard to write books without having lived a full life first.

9) You write about big families and are also part of one. What does family mean to you?

Not much in my life would make sense without my children. They inspire me to get up in the morning and keep going. And they’re expensive! I need to earn. I’m not sure the perfect family exists though. Most of the time, we’re all just trying to muddle through, and do our best for those we love, and that’s okay. All families have secrets.

10) What are your plans for the future?

I’d like to clone myself, or learn to write books quicker! I’m working on it. 

Giveaway

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a hardcover copy of The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

27 comments:

  1. The Wildling Sisters sounds both suspenseful and thrilling with a cleverly nuanced storyline as well as compelling and complex characters.

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  2. I'm already captivated by Suze's great review which pretty much makes this a must read - thanks for introducing me to this new to me author!

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  3. the covers are awesome and distinctive, would definitely pick them up in waterstones to check them out! Thanks for the interview, it gives insight and makes a book easier to read when you understand the author xx

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  4. Wow, I'm really interested in this! Sounds fascinating with the 50-year-old mystery - I love history, especially when it is brought to life, and also I loooove manor houses (we love visiting National Trust properties!!). :D So glad to meet you and learn about you and your books! Take care and have a lovely 2018! :)) xx

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  5. This sounds like a wonderful novel from the great review that I read. I love novels with plenty of surprising twists and turns and this certainly seems to have them.

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  6. love the sound of the suspense this would bring
    jan

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  7. I am curious as to why one edition appears to call the characters "Wilde" and one edition appears to call the characters "Wildling."

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  8. This sounds like a brilliant read and I am loving the cover!

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  9. Oooh, suspense!! Love the covers!

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  10. I love to read mysteries and I love suspense novels too...this sounds like a great combination of both! :)

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  11. I love reading about big families - I wish I could have had even more siblings!

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  12. I would like to read these books, sisters make interesting stories.

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  13. Such a fun interview! That clonning comment :) I would love to read this book, they sound wondeful.

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  14. This sounds like a great read - and love the cover

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  15. It's great that you can add your experiences as a journalist into your stories.

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  16. Love a great mystery. Great interview.

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  17. I think I'd like to read these , I do like a good mystery , as long as it doesn't get too complicated and make my brain hurt lol

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  18. Books with family secrets are always intriguing.

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  19. This sounds mysterious and very intriguing. Love a good mystery.

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  20. Thanks for the great prize and competition. Good luck everyone!

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  21. Sounds like a wonderful story.
    Theresa N
    weceno(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  22. This sounds like a great story with Jessie and Will and the sister!! Wow!

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