‘You can’t ignore the Muse. When she comes at whatever time of day or night, you must welcome her in and allow her to lead you wherever she will.’
The Testament of Vida Tremayne is a novel by Sarah Vincent. Published in 2014 by Three Hares Publishing, I received my copy earlier in the Summer from the author. The cover of this book is so eye catching and as I was going away on holidays it seemed like the perfect read for the beach. I hope you enjoy my review.
‘A lonely novelist,
A devoted fan,
A journal that speaks of unspeakable things…
Author Vida Tremayne lies silent in a hospital bed. The forces which brought about her terrifying decline are shrouded in mystery. Meanwhile, her estranged daughter Dory is forced to abandon her fast paced city life to be by her mother’s bedside.
Dory is resentful. She hates the country and she and her mother were never exactly close. Luckily Vida already has a carer, the enigmatic Rhiannon Townsend. A long-standing fan of Vida’s, Rhiannon is happy to take care of the bedside vigil. Dory is free to resume her life. Or is she?
Then she discovers her mother’s journal. Vida’s chilling testament reveals the trigger for her spiralling into madness. It also reveals the danger that still lurks close by. A danger that will call on Dory’s every reserve of courage if she’s to free her mother, and maybe in doing so, to free herself.’
The Testament of Vida Tremayne. What a striking name for a novel!!
I was really curious to read this book. It has an amazing cover, a most unusual title and even the paper the novel is printed on draws you in asking you to read it.
Vida Tremayne is a writer with one major literary prize to her name. Her husband has left her. Her daughter, Dory, lives in London and rarely visits. She is alone, living a rural life, that is her choosing.
Vida has been unable to recreate the success of her previous novel, The Gingerbread House, and has reached that stage known to many writers…writers block.
While happy with the success of her fellow acquaintances /writers, the friendships have dried up over the years. Her agent/publisher have all but given up on her and Vida is feeling lonely.
Unexpectedly, Dory comes back to find Vida ‘in the kitchen on her hands and knees, with the quarry tiles littered in mud and blood and feathers’
Vida is hospitalized and so begins a journey of discovery by Dory of what happened to her mother. Vida is unable to communicate, obviously traumatized by an event or events that had occurred in Dory’s absence.
The Testament to Vida Tremayne introduces us to a very sinister character, Rhiannon Townsend. Rhiannon comes into Vida’s life as a fan who would do anything to help Vida regain her writing mojo. Dory is surprised to find Rhiannon in her mother’s house. She appears to be very comfortable living there and initially, Dory is happy with this arrangement.
Dory lives a very fast life in London. She lives a life intertwined with social media. Personal relationships have moved out of her reach, as her dependence on her followers on twitter seems to have become a compulsion.
She has grown up with issues with her mother. Dory felt unloved as a child. She felt she was always in her mother’s way and as a result she harbours resentment all her life with Vida. This resentment clouds Dory’s initial judgement with Rhiannon and Dory is quite happy to let Rhiannon lead with Vida’s recovery.
In the novel, we are introduced to Vida’s journal where the truth is gradually revealed. Mixed with Dory’s narrative, we gain an insight into a very strange story.
Alfred Hitchcock comes to mind when reading this book.
Sarah Vincent takes us on a journey fraught with suspense. Psychotic behaviour, obsessiveness, adoration and loneliness are all brought together in this chilling story. Vida Tremayne is a victim and as Dory discovers, her mother was not all she thought.
Can Dory save her mother? Is it too late for Vida?
Without giving away anymore of this intriguing plotline, it is now up to you the reader, to find out what happened to one woman and her struggle to remain sane.
A twisted, quirky, compulsive read from Sarah Vincent. I hope you enjoy!!
Meet the Author:
Sarah Vincent has two grown up children and lives in the South Shropshire countryside with her husband and her Jack Russell terrier, Beryl. She writes in a converted coal shed at the back of the house.
In the early days she juggled writing with various jobs as a care assistant, school dinner lady and museum guide.
For the past twelve years she has worked as an editor for two leading Literary Consultancies. She also teaches Creative Writing online, and gets a buzz out of helping new writers achieve their goals.
She loves world music, and visiting art galleries when she’s in town. Her greatest thrill though is going off-grid for a few days, and camping in remote places in her tiny caravan.