When news comes that Amy’s grandma is on her deathbed, the family she nannies for in France encourages her go home to Sheffield. After her grandmother passes away and Amy has found a new job, she receives a message from Julia, the woman she used to work for – her husband Alain has died, and her and her daughter Vivian have been forced to move back to Julia’s childhood home in England, Blackwater.
Grieving and destitute, Julia asks Amy for help. But when Amy arrives at an unloved and desolate house, she finds out that the ghost of Caroline, Julia’s older sister who died at the age of 17, haunts the whole village and Julia herself, so much so that no one will speak of her, and if they do it’s with hatred and disgust.
Soon though, Vivian says she talks to Caroline and strange things begin happening in the house. Is Caroline haunting Blackwater in more ways than one? Soon, it’s not just Caroline’s secrets that Amy is uncovering, but the whole of Blackwater’s…
DI Ray Mason gets a call from a man named Henry Forbes asking him to meet him at his lawyer’s private residence. He says he has information about Kitty Sinn, his former girlfriend who vanished without a trace from Thailand when the pair were travelling. Forbes claims that Kitty is dead and her body is the England, in fact he says its her remains that have just been unearthed in the grounds of Medmenham College.
Forbes refuses to say anything else until Ray can guarantee he will be protected – Kitty was killed by a ruthless group of people and they will come after Forbes once they know he’s started talking.
While on the phone to his boss, masked men enter the house and kill Forbes with Ray only just escaping with his life. As Ray and his colleagues begin to look into Forbes’ life, infamous former police officer turned PI Tina Boyd reveals that days before his death Forbes instructed Tina to find a woman called Charlotte Curtis, and she needed to find her fast.
Soon, both Ray and Tina are being sucked into a very dangerous world.
Beth takes her eight-year-old daughter Carmel to a storytelling fair, and when Carmel gets frustrated with her mother’s overprotective nature she convinces Beth to let her roam a book tent without holding her hand. In the flurry of people mother and daughter are separated, and when Carmel goes looking for her mother a man claiming to be her estranged grandfather tells Carmel that her mother has been knocked down by a car while looking for her.
After taking Carmel to live with him and his partner Dorothy, he delivers the grave news that her mother is dead and her father wants nothing to do with her. Soon Carmel is in America with her grandfather, Dorothy and Dorothy’s two daughters, and she’s been told her hands have special healing powers.
Meanwhile at home, Beth and Paul are growing frantic wondering if they will ever see their little girl again.
Kat is a single mum to son Leo and is struggling after losing her job.
Charlie is a high-flying food and drink reviewer in line for a promotion who has come to meet her new niece before returning to London.
Seraphine is a French girl hiding a secret who has come to tutor a young girl so she improve her English before looking for a teaching role
The place that links these three is the Seafront Tea Rooms, a quaint tea shop in Scarborough that soon becomes a haven, a hide away, and a place of friendship.
DCI Mark Lapslie is called to a bunker where a tramp has been found dead. There’s no evidence of foul play, but also inside the bunker are twelve coffins, and with each coffin is a doll. Nine of the dolls are damaged and have been placed inside their coffins, but the final three – a bride, a major and a teacher – are stood outside their coffins in immaculate condition.
Not long after they’re found, a bride is shot dead on her wedding day and when Lapslie is called back to the bunker, he finds the bride doll now inside her coffin and her dress covered in blood.
Sometimes you get a bit stuck in your ways when it comes to books – you find an author you like and away you go reading everything that has their name on – so it’s good when you pick up a book by someone you’ve never heard of.
Wanting to spend more time with his son Ethan and with his own father having recently suffered a minor heart attack, David Harwood returns to his childhood home, Promise Falls, only to be made redundant from his role as a journalist at the local paper days after moving because it’s shutting down. As if things couldn’t get any worse, his cousin Marla hasn’t been quite right after giving birth to a still-born daughter, and when he goes to check on her he finds her holding a baby boy she says was given to her by an angel. When David tries to return the baby home, he finds a bloody murder scene and the baby’s mother is dead… As a journalist, his Aunt and Marla’s mother Agnes implores him to try and find out the truth. Soon he’s discovering that many secrets are lurking around Promise Falls.
I don’t believe it’s unfair to say that for some people books take them on a journey. Usually it’s because a character or situation really speaks to them, but Renee Knight’s début novel took me on a journey for an entirely different reason.
After moving house, Catherine Ravenscroft finds a book she doesn’t recognise on her night stand. Not thinking anything of it, after all house moves are a bit stressful, she begins to read. But as she does she starts to recognise herself, and a realises someone has found out a secret she’s tried her hardest to keep hidden, and worst of all they’ve put it down in print for the world to see.