Friday 5 May 2017

SUGAR HALL by Tiffany Murray

Amazon UK £4.79 £9.35
Amazon US $5.93 $12.70
Amazon CA $30.99

Ghost /  Fantasy
Welsh Marches

Easter 1955. As Lilia Sugar scrapes the ice from the inside of the windows and the rust from the locks in Sugar Hall, she knows there are pasts she cannot erase. On the very edge of the English/Welsh border, the red gardens of Sugar Hall hold a secret, and as Britain prepares for its last hanging, Lilia and her children must confront a history that has been buried but not forgotten.
Based on the stories of the slave boy that surround Littledean Hall in the Forest of Dean.”

This is a ghost story with some dark tones and some amazing psychological writing. When a boy reports he can see a different boy with a collar around his neck, his mother doesn't know how to respond other than to shrug it off as a childish notion.

Yet, as the story progresses, it isn't just her son who gets affected by the ghost's appearance.

Murray tells also the story of this mother, not an uninteresting one at that, namely that of a girl coming to Britain from Germany via the Kindertransports of 1938.

There is a stark contrast between the innocence and naivety of the young with the chilling darkness of the ghost story. I'm not usually one for books with such dark undertones but I found it very engaging, not least because of the historical component.

There are small snippets of newspaper articles and other short material separating the chapters that add to the richness and the layered texture of the novel. While not all of them made perfect sense to me, some stayed with me for a long time, regardless. Very engaging and gripping.

© Christoph Fischer

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