I've been a fan of Patricia Elliott's since her Pimpernelles series, with second, and concluding, volume The Traitor's Smile being a quickly-paced adventure with a heroine to cheer on and a pair of splendidly rage-inducing villains. Prior to this series, she'd written a number of standalones, including debut the Ice Boy, nominated for several awards, and Murkmere and companion novel Ambergate, all of which are on my 'wants' list.
I think Murkmere and Ambergate look absolutely fascinating - the first book is described as 'a haunting Gothic novel about loyalty, betrayal and age-old fears', and has a cover quote saying it's 'memorable and wonderfully written' from the superb Jan Mark; an impressive recommendation.
However I'll be leaving it a while before reading because I've just finished The Devil in the Corner by Elliott, and I'm sufficiently chilled not to want to go near any more Gothic-type stories for a few weeks! This dark thriller follows Maud, who suffered terrible hardship and abuse when working as a governess, only to be taken in by cousin-by-marriage Juliana, and the young artist John working for Juliana to restore a painting in the church. A dual narrative, although with Maud telling more of the story, the two leads are intriguing characters and Elliott builds a creepy, oppressive atmosphere brilliantly even before people start dying. There's always the feeling that something is 'off' here, without being able to place what this is, and the characters who populate the village of Marsham, especially malevolent butcher's boy Jonas Dorley and the demanding Juliana, add to the spookiness. I'd normally have qualms about the speed at which John and Maud fall for each other but it seems realistic for their characters and it's a troubled, tense relationship.
Both The Devil in the Corner and the Pimpernelles series are well worth reading!
Check out Patricia's website and catch her on Twitter.
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