From the present day . . .
Applecote Manor captivates Jessie with its promise of hazy summers in the Cotswolds. She believes it’s the perfect escape for her troubled family. But the house has an unsettling history, and strange rumours surround the estate.
To the fifties . . .
When teenage Margot and her three sisters arrive at Applecote in the heatwave of ’59, they find their aunt and uncle still reeling from the disappearance of their daughter Audrey five years before.
The sisters are drawn into the mystery of Audrey’s vanishing – until the stifling summer takes a shocking, deadly turn. Will one unthinkable choice bind them together, or tear them apart?
If I had to describe this book in three words, they would be: captivating, haunting and relatable. Maybe unusual words for a novel set in the countryside during the 50s, but The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde had me hooked until the very end.
I wasn’t sure whether this would be the novel for me. When I read the first few chapters, I felt like I was reading something akin to Atonement, albeit set a little later in the 20th century. But, as I continued to read, I was dazzled by every aspect of the story.
The novel actually has two narratives, one from the perspective of Margot Wilde, and the other from present day, Jessie who has just moved into Applecote Manor. I always love stories like this because reading one plot can be a little boring sometimes. Every time I started a chapter from Margot, I was desperate to carry on reading to get to Jessie’s next chapter and vice versa.
What began as a slow plot centred around the Wilde sisters, became a thrilling mystery with so many twists and turns. What I loved most about the novel were the descriptive passages where I could feel the hot, hazy nights and those childhood summers you still remember with such nostalgia.
All in all, the novel was a lovely Summer read with an incredibly captivating mystery at the heart of it.
A must-read for fans of Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories series!