Thank you to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to participate in the blog tour for the Missing Girls of Alardyce House by Heather Atkinson.
What is the book about?
The Missing Girls of Alardyce House
Edinburgh 1880. When Amy Osbourne’s parents are lost at sea, she is forced to leave her London home and is sent to live with her aunt and uncle at the opposite end of the country.
Alardyce House is depressing and dreary, her aunt haughty and cruel. Amy strikes up a friendship with her cousin Edward but his older brother Henry is just as conceited as his mother, and a mutual loathing develops between him and Amy.
As her weeks of mourning pass, the realisation begins to dawn on Amy that her aunt has designs on her inheritance and the candidate she favours to be her neice’s husband fills Amy with horror. Struggling in this strange, unwelcoming environment, Amy begins to suspect that something isn’t right at Alardyce House.
There are rumours below stairs of a monster on the loose, local women are being brutally attacked and her cousin Henry is the prime suspect. Alardyce House is full of dark secrets and Amy isn’t sure who she can trust…
The Missing Girls of Alardyce House is quite an unusual book, very difficult to classify- it is set in the Victorian Edinburgh, so it has certain historical elements, but at the heart of it is a twisty mystery/thriller with gothic vibes.
If you are familiar with Heather Atkinson’s crime fiction, in particular her latest series of gangland thrillers Blood Brothers, you know that she has a very simple and engaging writing style in whatever subject she chooses to delve into. The Missing Girls of Alardyce House is no exception. Once you start the book (provided this is the genre and the kind of story you like), you will probably fly through it in no time, compelled to read on to find out who was responsible for the mysterious happenings and how Amy’s story played out.
I must admit I didn’t warm to the main character Amy, despite my sympathy towards the harsh limitations the society put on women at that time. We meet 17year old Amy as she is moving into her Uncle Alfred and her (witchy) Aunt Lenora Alardyce House after her parents perished at sea. Amy immediately makes friends with one of her cousins Edward, while she is put on guard against the other one- haughty and reserved Henry. Amy is a bit on ‘a wild side’ according to her Aunt and is to be married off as soon as possible. Not that Amy helps her case by getting involved with a handsome footman. Then a housemaid is found beaten and badly hurt in the middle of night and Amy begins to fear for what kind of monster the house harbours and protects. As she is being forced into a marriage that would surely put her life in danger, Amy flees…and the story continues into the next decade. There are suspects and twists that you might or might not see coming and a shocker of a cliffhanger ending that opens up the possibility of a follow-up book.
The story is dark and atmospheric and I would be remiss not to mention the violence, but I think the Victorian setting made it even more sinister and mysterious. You have to suspend your disbelief quite a lot -in fact, do it straightaway when Amy starts telling Edward the story of how her reputation got ruined within minutes of meeting her cousin.
Having said that, if you’re looking for compelling and addictive rather than realistic, or, if you’re already a fan of Heather’s writing and are happy that she switched to a new genre, then dive in. The story is definitely addictive and the twists will keep you entertained!
Thankyou to NetGalley, Boldwood Books and the author for the review copy, provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
Author Bio –
Heather Atkinson is the author of over fifty books – predominantly in the crime fiction genre. Although Lancashire born and bred she now lives with her family, including twin teenage daughters, on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. Her gangland series for Boldwood, set on the fictional Gallowburn estate in Glasgow begins with the title Blood Brothers.
Social Media Links –
Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/HeatherAtkinsonNews
Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/heather-atkinson
Thank you for reading the post! If you would like to know more about Heather’s book or would like to read what other bloggers thought of the Missing Girls of Alardyce House, here is the full blog schedule: