Publishing year: 2014
I’m already hooked on this book that keeps a mystery.
The novel alternates from different points in time. In 1939 we are introduced to Benny, a Jewish boy coming from Germany, who is taken in alongside other Jewish boys by Lord and Lady Dorner, and they live in a big house called Fairfleet. Benny, who is eleven, wants to leave the past behind and intends to become a new person, a real English boy.
The other point in time is seventy years later. Here we get to know Rosamond. At this time Benny, who is an old man, is dying of cancer and is the owner of Fairfleet. Rosamond is a nurse who he hires in his last moments in life. Rosamond has a secret; I’ve gathered she is the granddaughter of Lady Dorner. Somehow the house represents something terrible in her past; thirty years ago something happened to her in the house, and both her brother and lover have tried to convince her not to take the job, but she eventually rebels and goes to the house. I have no idea what could have happened to a child to predispose her so against a house. Somehow it has something to do with her mother, and whatever happened has had a permanent effect on her. I think there must have been some kind of scandal because Rosamond is keen on keeping anonymity. As a young girl, she was called Rose Madison, but now she uses Rosamond and her married name ‘Hunter’.
Books with secrets and mysteries usually are my favourites, especially when those mysteries have to do with the past. I wonder what happened to Rosamond all those years ago, and why she wants to keep her identity a secret from those in the house.