Fiercombe Manor

March 26, 2015 Fiction, Gothic, Historical Fiction, Review, Women's Fiction 7 ★★★★

Fiercombe ManorTitle: Fiercombe Manor
Author: Kate Riordan
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Summary: This well-executed dual narrative was beautifully atmospheric and kept my interest all the way through.

Although Lady Elizabeth Stanton of Fiercombe appears well at her first public appearance in years, she and her husband both still have secrets to hide, from the world and from each other. After the tragic events following the birth of her first child and several subsequent miscarriages, Lady Elizabeth is fearful that her current pregnancy will also end in tragedy or at least disappoint her husband, who longs for a boy.  Thirty years later, when Alice is sent to Fiercombe to hide the fact that she is pregnant and unmarried, she becomes obsessed with learning the what tragedy befell Lady Elizabeth. In the gloomy, confined atmosphere at Fiercombe, Alice fears that tragedy will find her as well.

From the very beginning, I loved the Gothic atmosphere in this book. This is one of those books where the author does such an incredible job with descriptions, that the location is almost a character itself. It wasn’t terribly scary and it wasn’t unbelievable or over the top, but it was beautifully haunting. I also thought the author did an impressive job keeping the parallels between to the two stories in this dual narrative believable. I really love dual narratives where the stories are connected, not only by characters or locations but by the themes they contain. However, if an author makes the stories too similar, they can feel redundant and the parallels can seem unlikely. Here, the author creates interesting thematic parallels, but she doesn’t make every detail the same or point out the similarities too often. I think her restraint in both the development of the setting and of these parallels made the book really fantastic.

The balance between the two stories was also very good. At the beginning, I was more interested in Lady Elizabeth’s story and toward the end I was more interested in Alice. Fortunately for me, the author did an impressive job keeping the focus on the more engaging story. Initially, even though the sections about Alice were longer, we learned about Lady Elizabeth along with her. Towards the end, Alice was clearly the star of the story and her investigations into Lady Elizabeth’s life slowed down. This made for a strong ending, since I was more curious about Alice then and also felt closer to her as the character “in the present”. Overall, this was a very enjoyable read and I’d highly recommend it to fans of atmospheric settings or dual narratives.

For some other perspectives, check out the other stops on the tour.

7 Responses to “Fiercombe Manor”

  1. Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy

    This sounds like a great read for me – haunting and Gothic. I’m glad the dual narratives worked well for you too, because they can annoy me sometimes. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for this book!

    • DoingDewey

      I’m rarely bothered by dual narratives, so I can’t promise this will work for you, but I did find both stories kept my attention and I thought the stories were connected enough to go together without being so identical it was silly. If you’re OK with a well done dual narrative, I think this could be a book you’d enjoy.

  2. Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours

    Dual narratives are a favorite of mine, especially when the author is able to get me invested in both stories. I’m glad you can recommend this one so highly! Thanks for being a part of the tour.

    • DoingDewey

      I don’t know why I like dual narratives so much, but they’re a favorite of mine too! I enjoyed this one a lot 🙂 Thanks for having me on the tour.

  3. Lianne @

    Great review! Glad to see you enjoyed this book; I added this book to my want-to-read pile some time ago as the premise sounded really interesting (I enjoy a good Gothic read every now and then) so I’ll have to keep a lookout for this book 😉

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