Each Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first part of a book that she is reading or thinking about reading. This week I'm sharing the first few paragraphs of Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase. This will be another entry into my Gothic Fiction Challenge. I actually ordered this one last year from the UK after reading about it on another blog - can't remember which one. And I like the US cover better, so that's the one I'm showing. See what you think:
Amber, last day of the summer holiday, 1969, Cornwall
I feel safe on the cliff ledge, safer than in the house anyway. A few feet from the coast path, it's a twenty-minute scramble from the edge of the estate, far enough from Black Rabbit Hall's watching windows, a secret place. I hover on the cliff above it for a moment or two, wind snapping my dress against my legs, soles of my feet tingling, then lower myself carefully, gripping the clumps of grass, sea roaring in my ears. (Best not to look down.) One small heart-stop drop and I'm perching right on the edge of sky.
Jump too wide, it's all over. I wouldn't do it. But it occurs to me that I like the fact I could. That I have some control over my destiny today.
Pressed against the cliff wall, I finally catch my breath. So much frantic searching: woods, rooms, endless stairs. Heels rubbed raw in too-small plimsolls. And I still haven't found them. Where are they? Shading my eyes from the sky dazzle with my hand, I scan the bottle-green cliff tops on the other side of the cove. Deserted. Only cattle in the fields.
Ghosts are everywhere, not just the ghost of Momma in the woods, but ghosts of us too, what we used to be like in those long summers . . .
Amber Alton knows that the hours pass differently at Black Rabbit Hall, her London family’s country estate, where no two clocks read the same. Summers there are perfect, timeless. Not much ever happens. Until, of course, it does.
More than three decades later, Lorna is determined to be married within the grand, ivy-covered walls of Pencraw Hall, known as Black Rabbit Hall among the locals. But as she’s drawn deeper into the overgrown grounds, half-buried memories of her mother begin to surface and Lorna soon finds herself ensnared within the manor’s labyrinthine history, overcome with an insatiable need for answers about her own past and that of the once-happy family whose memory still haunts the estate.
First of all, I'd never be able to perch myself on any kind of cliff. I get vertigo in glass elevators. However, I was intrigued by what Amber did. I want to know who she is searching for. This reminds me of the one book I've read so far by Kate Morton. Hoping for a good gothic here.