Spring 1937: Teresa, a young Basque girl, is evacuated to London in the wake of the Guernica bombing. She thinks she has reached safety in the lofty halls of Rochester Place and the soothing arms of Mary Davidson, but trouble seeks her out wherever she goes…
Autumn 2020: Corrine, an emergency services operator, receives a call from a distressed woman called Mary. But when the ambulance arrives at Rochester Place – the address the woman gave them – she is nowhere to be found. No matter how hard she tries to forget, memories of Mary’s raw fear haunt Corinne and secrets, long-hidden in Corinne’s family tree, begin to surface.
Is Mary calling from beyond the grave? And what actually happened at Rochester Place all those years ago?
Set between the dusty halls of Rochester Place and the bustling streets of modern-day Tooting, this emotive, intricately layered mystery tells the spellbinding story of two people, separated by time, yet mysteriously connected through an enchanting Georgian house and the secrets within its walls. The perfect escapist read for fans of Kate Morton, Eve Chase and Lulu Taylor.
My thoughts: inspired by the author’s family, this is a moving and clever timeslip book, set between now and events in the Spanish Civil War and Second World War.
Sadly Spain’s horrific 1930s War is not taught much here, and what little I know I’ve learnt as an adult. But it was the precursor to the horrendous events of WW2, especially the massacre of Guernica. Which is where little Theresa is fleeing from.
Sent to safety in England by her elder sister, Theresa travels by sea with other refugee children. Offered a home by the kind and intriguing Mary, an Irish woman who speaks Basque and lives with her English husband in Rochester Place, she finds herself in a world unlike that she’s known. But Mary has secrets and a past too.
How these two are connected to Corinne, who works as an emergency services call handler, while her wife and sister-in-law run a family restaurant, selling the delicious food their mum used to make. After a strange phone call shakes her, Corinne and her historian uncle Robin look into Rochester Place and its occupants. Then she’s called to Ireland, where her grandmother is ill. And secrets are about to be revealed.
Moving and rather lovely, with several love stories mixed into the history, this is a heartwarming tale of found family, survival and love.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.