When she hears that her mother spent time there as a war evacuee, Edie Burchill becomes intrigued by the gloomy Middlehurst Castle and the elderly sisters who still live there. She learns that their father was the famous author of “The True History of the Mud Man” and that although they are talented writers themselves, the three women have never broken free of the decaying old house. As Edie uncovers the castle’s secrets, she also discovers her mother’s role in the events of the past, and starts to understand the emotional distance between them. With this book Morton brings all the ingredients of a classic gothic novel into the present.
What the Armchair Critics Thought:
Mixed reviews for this book. Many found it overly long and bloated. The sub-plots involving Edie’s family and work as an editor tended to weigh down the pace of the book. The solution to the central mystery also seemed too contrived. Others enjoyed the modern take on the gothic novel (with a fun reference to the “Mysteries of Udolpho”!) complete with atmospheric setting, mysterious deaths, family skeletons and secret romance.