‘A missing girl.
A house of secrets.’
The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde is a novel published on 13th July by Michael Joseph (an imprint of Penguin Books). Written by Eve Chase, this is a blog tour I was ecstatically happy and honoured to be included in. From the first page I knew this was a book that would captivate me completely and it didn’t disappoint.
I have a wonderful guest post from Eve Chase about her inspiration for writing The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde and I am also sharing my thoughts with you all so please do settle in and enjoy!!
Why I wrote The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde
by Eve Chase
Sometimes an idea for a story comes along and tugs at your arm like an annoying child. You try to turn away and ignore it – you’d like to know the beginning, middle and end before writing, thanks – but it still keeps pestering, demanding to be written.
So it was with The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde.
Initially, I was seduced by the idea of four sisters in filmy white dresses. I’ve always wanted to write about sisters, not having any of my own. Meadows too. The kind of ancient meadow with long, sun-baked grass that crunches when you lie back on it, a hat over your head. That would play a key role.
A vanishing girl.
A lifeless body on a lawn.
The heatwave of 1959.
I decided that was probably enough plot – it wasn’t – and I started.
Inevitably, I wrote myself into blind alleys. I rewrote endlessly, cutting upwards of thirty thousand words from the final draft, taking the damn manuscript on holiday with me, working weekends, pursued by it until it was done. I’ve never worked harder on anything. I hated it at times.
Black Rabbit Hall, my first Eve Chase novel, was at the tips of my fingers as I typed, ready formed in my mind. The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde had to be extracted from deep inside of me, word by word, drip by drip, like juice from an unripe lemon. (I wouldn’t recommend it as a writing technique.)
Of course, now it’s about to be published, I forgive it everything. And I can still see that meadow, golden, glorious, sprawled across the story, beneath a huge summer sky.
Applecote Manor, a place that nestles among the trees in the Cotswolds. For Jessie it is the perfect house to raise her family, a place that she can envision evenings in front of a roaring fire, as the elements batter the walls of the house. A place where she can reconnect with her step-daughter Bella after the exhaustion of the constant clash of personalities.
Will, her husband, is hesitant about the move. His life, his business, his memories of his first wife Mandy are all in London where he has always called home.
But Jessie can be very persuasive and after much discussion the family decide on a fresh start, a new life, a country life. Romy, their youngest daughter is delighted with the move but Bella is not. From the very beginning she expresses her negative feelings about Applecote Manor, convinced that the house has many secrets hidden in it’s walls and crevices. Jessie is insistent that this will be a new beginning for them all, a fresh start.
But is Bella right? What history is Applecote Manor hiding?
1959, the year a sweltering and prolonged heatwave swept across parts of the UK. Margot Wilde and her three sisters, Flora, Pam and Dot are packed off to stay with their relatives in the country while their mother travels abroad for a year. After the death of their father, the four sisters have a very close bond and have always been there for one another. Their mother has struggled to support them, either emotionally or financially, and she readily accepts a position of work in Marrakesh, leaving the girls to the care of her brother-in-law, Perry and his wife, Sybil who live in Applecote Manor.
Margot and her sisters are aware of the tragedy that took place at Applecote Manor, that their cousin Audrey vanished one day, never to return home again. Sybil and Perry, are happy to accept the Wilde girls into their home, but now it is a house filled with sorrow, with the memory of Audrey ever present.
Eve Chase has written a compelling dual-time story, linking two families together across generations and with many buried secrets. The story of Margot and her sisters, although tainted by tragedy and sadness, is a coming-of-age story, vividly portrayed with the most beautiful imagery of an era long past.
I was captivated from the opening pages, with every description imprinted so clearly in my mind. The story of Jessie and her family is expertly interwoven with the past. There is great fluidity to Eve Chase’s writing, drawing the reader into the story with such a beautiful narrative throughout.
The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde is a charming and absorbing novel, abundant with nostalgic imagery and an ethereal appeal.
Purchase Link ~ The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde
Book Info ~ The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde
From the present day . . .
Applecote Manor captivates Jessie with it promise of hazy summers in the Cotswolds, the perfect place to bring up her children. But the house has an unsettling history, and strange rumours surround the estate.
to the fifties . . .
When teenage Margot and her three sisters arrive at Applecote during the heatwave of ’59, they find their aunt and uncle still reeling from the disappearance of their daughter Audrey five years before.
Drawn into the life Audrey left behind and the mystery of her vanishing,the stifling summer takes a shocking, deadly turn.
The bonds of sisterhood will be tested and an unthinkable choice will have a decades-long legacy.
Step back in time for a mystery of breathtaking suspense – perfect for fans of Kate Morton
About The Author:
I write from a shed/studio in my garden in Oxford, accompanied by bits of wildlife that creep over the threshold to investigate my biscuit crumbs. A small space, it’s perfect for cooking up bigger ones: sprawling, richly dysfunctional families, stories that seed into the cracked mortar of old houses.
I love to read about such things, and write about them. I also love a cracking narrative pace. Words that dance on the tongue. Characters you want to scoop up and put in your pocket for safe keeping.
I’m married with three children.
Website ~ http://www.evechase.com/
Twitter ~ @evepchase