Title: The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde
Author: Eve Chase
Publisher: Penguin UK – Michael Joseph
Four sisters. One summer. A lifetime of secrets.
When fifteen-year-old Margot and her three sisters arrive at Applecote Manor in June 1959, they expect a quiet English country summer. Instead, they find their aunt and uncle still reeling from the disappearance of their daughter, Audrey, five years before. As the sisters become divided by new tensions when two handsome neighbors drop by, Margot finds herself drawn into the life Audrey left behind. When the summer takes a deadly turn, the girls must unite behind an unthinkable choice or find themselves torn apart forever.
Fifty years later, Jesse is desperate to move her family out of their London home, where signs of her widower husband’s previous wife are around every corner. Gorgeous Applecote Manor, nestled in the English countryside, seems the perfect solution. But Jesse finds herself increasingly isolated in their new sprawling home, at odds with her fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, and haunted by the strange rumors that surround the manor.
The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde is an absorbing, beautifully written story. It combines twists and mystery with an interesting storyline which never seems too sensationalist, even with the drama and intrigue that lies within its pages.
The novel focuses on both the summer of 1959 and the present day which meant I knew I’d find this novel at least interesting, if nothing else, as I love plots with dual narratives.
The characters in this novel are all very convincing and likable; though some have their faults, and Audrey herself can be a little annoying and silly at times, you can’t help but really feel their loss at Audrey’s disappearance, particularly poor Margot who I really felt for. Her sisters (Pam, Flora, and Dot) often overshadow her in various ways, but Margot seems really kind and I definitely liked her as a character. I felt like they could all be a real family – people you might meet in the street, despite their flighty mum who was just a law onto herself (but doesn’t feature hugely in the story anyway).
Moving forward to the present day story, I warmed immediately to Jessie, feeling sorry for her in her predicament with teenage step-daughter Bella and baby daughter Romy. There’s a lot going on, but the tension and drama from 50+ years ago seeps through into their present-day life. I loved the atmospheric sense of time and place constructed in The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde, and – though I often enjoy stories in this style anyway – I felt this was particularly well-crafted by Eve Chase.
Many thanks to Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.
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