This impressive debut novel by broadcaster and journalist Judy Finnigan, is set in glorious Cornwall and is hauntingly dramatic.
The opening sentence “Yesterday I almost saw her”, was reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier’s classic novel “Rebecca”, in which du Maurier began her novel with “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”. Although this book is not as sophisticated as du Maurier’s work, both offer very powerful, compelling beginnings, which envelop you and capture your imagination from the start. Daphne du Maurier is referred to many times in the book, as her love of Cornwall had been the inspiration for many of her own books.
The novel is a supernatural thriller and takes you on a mysterious journey, beautifully located in the idyllic setting of the Cornish coast.
The plot centres around Cathy, a forty something wife and mother of three, who is continually being haunted by the spirit of her recently deceased friend, Eloise.
Eloise, who passed away from breast cancer, is desperately restless and needs to get an urgent message to Cathy. She regularly visits Cathy in her dreams and appears to her in various different guises.
Both Cathy and Juliana, Eloise’s mother, have their suspicions regarding how Eloise died. They both knew she was terminally ill, however, Juliana visited her daughter on the day that she passed away. Eloise was joyful, energetic and optimistic, a few hours later, she was dead. Had Eloise died from the cancer or was it something more sinister that brought Eloise to her untimely death?
Cathy has previously had a breakdown and has suffered from severe clinical depression in the past. So it is not surprising that after telling her husband, who is a Psychiatrist incidentally, that she is being visited by her best friend’s ghost, he automatically assumes Cathy, consumed by grieve, is suffering from depression once again as a result of her friend’s premature death. Undeterred, Cathy resolves to avenge her dead friend and goes on a perilous and treacherous journey to uncover the shocking truth.
Will Cathy be able to free Eloise’s spirit and enable her to rest in peace before it is too late?
The author transports you into Cathy’s mind as she tries to make sense of the strange imageries. Is Cathy on the fringe of another breakdown? Is she really seeing ghosts in her sleep? And can Cathy save the day before her husband sells their beloved Cornish home and takes her back to London forever?
Even though I thoroughly enjoyed reading this superb novel, I must admit, I found it ever so slightly predictable and was secretly hoping for further twists and revelations to shock and surprise me. However, saying that, this book will definitely keep you hooked and enthralled right to the end.
A stunningly, picturesque depiction of life in Cornwall, which will make you want to be part of the secrets and joys it holds within it.
I would give this successful debut novel a 7/10 and I can honestly say I am definitely intrigued and looking forward to Judy Finnigan’s future work.
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