I am delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde. The second novel from Eve Chase is another page turning gothic thriller that you won't be able to put down. There are shades of Daphne du Maurier in the themes explored here and I gobbled it up in a couple of sittings. This is a dual time novel focusing on contemporary protagonist Jessie who is desperate to leave London behind and give her family a new start. She sets her sights on Applecote Manor a beautiful house in need of love and attention in rural Wiltshire. Jessie is mum to toddler Romy, wife to Will and step-mum to teenager Bella, but she feels overshadowed by the ghost of Will's first wife Mandy and Bella seems determined to remind her of her loss everyday. Jessie hopes that escaping London can bring her closer to her prickly step-daughter. But there are shadows and secrets at Applecote too, the locals are reluctant to talk about it but there are rumours of the tragic disappearance of a child. The other strand of the story is that of the Wilde sisters in the 1950s. When their mum takes a job abroad they too leave London for Applecote. They are to spend the summer with their aunt and uncle who have become virtual recluses since the disappearance of their daughter Audrey. As the summer unfolds for Margot Wilde and the winter draws in for Jessie each of them begins to explore the story of the vanishing girl. This is a wonderful story, gothic, dark and yet full of hope and light. Beautiful storytelling, perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Katherine Webb.
The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde is published by Michael Joseph, in the UK and Ireland 13th July. Thanks so much to Gaby Young for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.
I asked the author to tell me about some of her favourite gothic novels and here's what she told me.
Gothic fiction – Eve Chase
The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde is published by Michael Joseph, 13 July.
The Monkey’s Paw by WW Jacobs was the first gothic story I remember reading, or quite possibly hearing – it’s embedded in that bit of childhood where books and stories spoken aloud are interchangeable, as vividly alive as an imaginary friend. (Children are naturally gothic creatures!) It’s about being granted three wishes and, of course, each wish having a terrible consequence. I was chilled and delighted by it: fear feels damn good when you experience it vicariously, tucked up safely in bed. I still think about that short story’s premise; the ultimate be careful what you wish for. Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray is another creepy story that’s stayed with me all these years. Not only because I’m a huge fan of the dazzling Wilde and will happily read anything he’s written, or because it works on many different levels – satire, gothic tale, a dilemma of deviance – but mostly because it’s an unbelievably cracking story. It is still modern. It still speaks to us. After all, who wouldn’t be tempted to sell at least some of their soul for everlasting youth and beauty? You wouldn’t? Really? Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca is also powerfully universal – the story of a second wife, haunted by the presence of the first - despite its Cornish setting and Maurier’s unique narrative voice. It’s inspired many other novels and writers, myself included, but has never been bettered. While we’re on the subject of mysterious terrible others, creaking houses and forbidden erotic thrills, I’ll confide that my teenage self (still alive and kicking, although my face, unlike Dorian’s, is now inhabiting a more distant decade) also has a soft dark spot for the novels of Virginia Andrews. The best one is Flowers In the Attic, a thrilling yarn of wicked mothers, grand estates and – oh joy! – incest. I tried to read it again recently but couldn’t – it felt like reading a diary of my own teenage years, something private, cringe-worthy and infinitely precious. Great gothic stories knit their narratives into your own life. And they make very reliable imaginary friends.
Copyright Eve Chase 2017
The blog tour continues for the rest of the week, details below.