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Avalon Castle
Rosemary Craddock

Robert Hale
28 August 2015 / ISBN 9780719817403

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


Rachel Garland lives with her delicate half sister Lucy in a seaside town in Kent. Every day they see the darkly handsome figure of Nicholas Blackwood, and not long after their first meeting Rachel is being invited to spend Christmas with him and his new bride. Avalon Castle was built by an ancestor of the Blackwoods who was obsessed with the mediaeval dreamworld of King Arthur, a passion shared by Nicholas' older brother Ambrose. The reality includes a feuding family, unwanted child, ghost and more. Rachel finds herself drawn to their neighbor William Norton; can he discover if somebody is really trying to kill her?

Set in 1867, this is a real gothic tale with all the trappings. Dysfunctional family, hauntings, accidents, sinister characters, spooky old house-it has got the lot. Perhaps it doesn't have anything to add to the recipe but it does it all very well which, in my book at least, is just as good. The book hits the ground running and doesn't let up, delivering the sort of story that just needs a dark evening, hot drink and cozy chair for full enjoyment. Rachel and William make for sensible and likeable characters, offsetting some hissable villains and a few surprises. If you enjoy this type of story this is a good example of it and comes highly recommended.

Reviewed 2015