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The Wildling Sisters
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The Wildling Sisters
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"An enthralling story of secrets, sisters, and an unsolved mystery." —Kate MortonAn evocative novel in the vein of Kate Morton and Daphne Du Maurier, in which the thrill of first love...
"An enthralling story of secrets, sisters, and an unsolved mystery." —Kate MortonAn evocative novel in the vein of Kate Morton and Daphne Du Maurier, in which the thrill of first love...
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  • "An enthralling story of secrets, sisters, and an unsolved mystery." —Kate Morton

    An evocative novel in the vein of Kate Morton and Daphne Du Maurier, in which the thrill of first love clashes with the bonds of sisterhood, and all will be tested by the dark secret at the heart of Applecote Manor.


    Four sisters. One summer. A lifetime of secrets.
     
    When fifteen-year-old Margot and her three sisters arrive at Applecote Manor in June 1959, they expect a quiet English country summer. Instead, they find their aunt and uncle still reeling from the disappearance of their daughter, Audrey, five years before. As the sisters become divided by new tensions when two handsome neighbors drop by, Margot finds herself drawn into the life Audrey left behind. When the summer takes a deadly turn, the girls must unite behind an unthinkable choice or find themselves torn apart forever.

    Fifty years later, Jesse is desperate to move her family out of their London home, where signs of her widower husband’s previous wife are around every corner. Gorgeous Applecote Manor, nestled in the English countryside, seems the perfect solution. But Jesse finds herself increasingly isolated in their new sprawling home, at odds with her fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, and haunted by the strange rumors that surround the manor.

    Rich with the heat and angst of love both young and old, The Wildling Sisters is a gorgeous and breathtaking journey into the bonds that unite a family and the darkest secrets of the human heart.

Excerpts-

  • From the cover ***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof***

    Copyright © 2017 Eve Chase

    PROLOGUE

    Applecote Manor, The Cotswolds, England

    The last weekend of August, 1959

    None of us can bear to touch his belt, so horrifyingly intimate. But as we drag him across the lawn it ploughs into the soil. He’s heavier than he looks too, unwieldy. Every few steps we stop and catch our breath, startling at each other’s faces in the dawn light, daring each other to look down at the unbelievable fleshy fact of him, the childlike abandon of his outstretched arms.

    Daisies are stuck to him now, their pink-white petals opening to the sun that is rising at a worrying speed behind the orchard. There's something very wrong about these daisies, stars in the dark sticky of his hair. Dot leans forward as if to pluck them out, sit down and thread them into a chain over the hammock of her gingham skirt. If she did it would not make anything stranger.

    Another few stumbling steps, Dot’s spectacles fall off. She starts to scrabble for them. We tell her to stop. There is no time. The birds are starting to sing, all at once, an explosion of noise, a wild loop of fear.

    I try to talk myself down from blind panic: we are the same girls we were at the beginning of this long hot summer. Applecote Manor still stands behind us, gazing sleepily over the valley. And in the meadow beyond the garden gate, our beloved circle of prehistoric stones, unchanged, unchanging. We need to get him much closer to those stones, away from the house and fast – the orangery’s glass roof is glinting dangerously in the first rays of sun, even closer than we thought.

    A whoosh of nausea folds me in half. I cough, hands on my knees. Flora slips her arm over my shoulders. Feeling her tremble, I look up, try to reassure her, but can’t.

    Eyes full of fear and light, Flora blinks repeatedly, as if adjusting to something in my face she hasn’t seen before.  

    Pam, jaw clenched, starts tugging at his shirtsleeve. But the fabric is no match for the dead weight of his arm and it rips, the noise horrible, deafening. Dot smothers a sob with her hand.    

    ‘It’s all right, Dot…’ I start to say then stop short, noticing a splatter of blood across her fingers.

    I lower my gaze to check my own hands. Flora’s. Pam’s. My stomach rolls again. Our summer dresses are butcher’s aprons. We all look like we killed him now, not just one of us. Sisters. Bonded by blood.


    ONE

    Over fifty years later

     

    Crime. Crowds. The way a big city forces girls to grow up too fast, strips them of their innocence. It’s time for the family to leave London, move somewhere gentler, more benign. They’ve viewed a number of houses in the last three months – the estate agents’ brief, rural, roomy, a fixer-upper – but not one that Jessie felt could be called home. Until this moment: standing in Applecote Manor on a late January afternoon, feeling like she’s being filled up with sunlight.

    It is in a right state, of course. They couldn’t hope of affording a house like this otherwise. Evergreens are packed hard against the orangery’s windows, threatening to break them, scatter the wooden window seat with poisonous berries like beads. The stone flags on the floor undulate, rising in the centre of the room as if a creature might be pushing up from the earth. But Jessie is already imagining oranges dangling, blood-warm and heavy in the hand, the glass doors flung back to the euphoria of summer, the peal of...

About the Author-

  • Eve Chase is the author of Black Rabbit HallThe Wildling Sisters, and The Daughters of Foxcote Manor. She lives in Oxford, England with her husband and three children.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator Clare Corbett portrays the Wilde sisters, whose cousin Audrey's disappearance hangs over their visit to their aunt and uncle's country manor in 1959. Corbett delineates each sister: ethereal Flora, obstreperous Pam, earnest Dot, and inhibited Margot, the sister who was closest to Audrey. Emilia Fox brings us forward in time; the manor is now home to Jessie and Will Tucker; their toddler, Romy; and Jessie's alienated stepdaughter, Bella. Insecure Jessie had hoped a move from London would shorten the shadow cast by Bella's late mother. Fox renders compelling scenes between Jessie, who vacillates between suspicion of and compassion for Bella, and Bella herself, who is antagonistic and vaguely threatening. Alternating between past and present, Corbett's and Fox's performances escalate the tensions in this story of characters haunted not by presences but by absences. K.W. � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine

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