At Black Rabbit Hall nothing much ever happens - time seems to move slower at this idyllic holiday home in Cornwall. Until the worst thing happens and for the Alton children time feels like it’s stopped altogether. As they run wild, lost in grief and confusion, an outsider, Caroline Shawcross, and her dark, angry son Lucian enter their lives, changing them forever.
In the present day, Lorna Smith is searching for her perfect wedding venue and is inexplicably drawn to the now crumbling Black Rabbit Hall, unaware that her own history is locked up in those derelict walls…
**Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free copy of Black Rabbit Hall in exchange for an honest review**
Black Rabbit Hall was an eloquently woven tale that takes place both in the past and the present. Chase creates was a wonderful setting within the gloomy depths of London, in the antique, charming walls of Black Rabbit Hall. I could picture the iron gates, the thick forestry, and the rustic interior as if I was there. The smallest things were described to each detail, which worked for this kind of story, for the most part
There were times, particularly during insignificant scenes or the description of a random character, where there was too much detail. The similes and the metaphors were truly gorgeous, but the overabundance of description became heavy.
And although I loved Chase’s writing style, I wish she didn’t divide the point-of-views into different styles. When telling Amber’s story in the past, during the 1960’s, it was written in a first-person POV. When turning to Lorna, a woman in the present, her perspective was written in a third-person POV.
To me, this resulted in making the book feel slightly disjointed. I really loved reading Amber’s story in the first-person POV, the way everything flowed with ease and spiked with intrigue. I would’ve been interested to see Chase carry over her first-person POV to Lorna, with, of course, the twist of the character’s natural voice. I did also enjoy the third-person POV, but I simply wish the style was consistent throughout the book.
Luckily, this didn’t dissolve the layers of the characters. Each character, especially the Alton’s in the past, held do many layers. As the story kept unraveling, their shells would start to peel away, revealing all of these new acts and emotions and thoughts, both lovely and dark. They all felt real with their actions, with their mysterious tendencies, especially Toby. I loved the dark underbelly of Toby, those creepy little quirks that enhanced over time. The character development was strong and impactful, very well.
Overall, this was a fantastic adult fiction/historical fiction with a lush setting and dark elements. If Lorna’s character had a little more development and depth, this would definitely be a four-star read for me. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a rich, historical tale.