Thursday 21 October 2021

The Hiding Place by Amanda Mason BLOG TOUR #TheHidingPlace @amandajanemason @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #BookReview


Nell Galilee, her husband and twelve year old step-daughter Maude rent a holiday cottage by the sea, needing time and space away from home. Nell grew up in this small, wind-blown town and has mixed feelings about returning, and it isn't long before she is recognised by a neighbour, seemingly desperate to befriend her. The cottage has been empty for some time, and from the start Nell feels uncomfortable there. Something isn't quite right about this place . . .

Maude, furious about being brought here against her will, soon finds herself beguiled by the house's strange atmosphere. There are peculiar marks in the roof beams above her bedroom, and in another room, a hiding place, concealing a strange, unnerving object.

As the house gradually reveals its secrets, Nell becomes increasingly uneasy - and Maude spellbound. But these women - and the women that surround them - are harbouring their own secrets too, and soon events will come to a terrible head . . .

The Hiding Place by Amanda Mason was published on 14 October 2021 by Zaffre. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review, for this Blog Tour organised by Tracy from Compulsive Readers. 

I'm not usually a seasonal reader but have found myself consuming quite a few ghostly tales this October. Amanda Mason has set The Hiding Place in that ultimate of gothic seaside towns; Whitby, on the North Yorkshire coast. I adore Whitby and have spent some wonderful breaks there, it has that eerie feeling about it with the Abbey overlooking everyone and everything. 

Nell Galilee was brought up in Whitby but hasn't been back since her father died around seven years ago. She and her husband Chris are having problems with his twelve-year-old daughter Maude who lives with them. Nell and Maude used to get on well, but lately, and especially since Maude's mother produced a new baby, their relationship has gone downhill.  When the invitation to a family party in Whitby arrived, they decided to use the opportunity to have a family break, despite Nell's feelings about her hometown. The family have booked Elder House; an imposing holiday let that sits in Bishops Yard, nestled against the cliff beneath Whitby Abbey. 

There's something about Elder House that spooks Nell straight away. There's that smell, the dim lighting, the overpowering cliff edge that blocks out the view. Strange noises and a feeling that they are not alone in the house. Gradually, Nell's unease begins to affect Chris and Maude too and what was supposed to be a healing family break becomes a battle of wills, and a constant stream of mysterious events. 

The author cleverly and meticulously ties in local legend and folk lore, giving this contemporary story a historic feel. There's talk of witches and spells and curses, the discovery of old shoes and broken mirrors that leave a chill down the spine. 

However, this is not just a ghostly story, it's also one of long held grudges and hidden secrets. There are truths to be discovered about all of the characters and the author has skilfully created a cast who are realistic and lifelike. 

Dark and brooding, atmospheric and chilling, The Hiding Place is the perfect autumn read. Close the curtains though and make sure you are not alone in the house when you read this one!

Amanda Mason was born and brought up in Whitby, North Yorkshire. 

She studied Theatre at Dartington College of Arts, where she began writing by devising and directing plays. 

Her short stories have been published in several anthologies. 

Her debut novel, The Wayward Girls, a dark and captivating story of sisterhood and family secrets, was published in 2019, and her second, The Hiding Place, was published in October 2021, both from Bonnier Zaffre.

Twitter @amandajanemason

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