This I think is not what you normally expect from Mary Stewart, there is not much of the ‘other worldly’ element to it, nor is it anyway a runaway suspenseful mystery. It is simply a story of Rose Cottage and it’s inhabitants as well as the estate where it is located and the village where it all happens.
Kate, returns to Rose Cottage at her grandmother’s behest to retrieve family papers and small treasures before the cottage is renovated and reused as part of the estate’s future. Kate remembers living their with her mother and grandmother and it being a happy home, despite not knowing her father.
When Kate’s Great Aunt Betsy moves in the place changes and it is not as rosy as life could be for a small child. Even more so, when her mother runs off with a gipsy and never returns. The only news that she has died in a bus accident some years later.
Back at her childhood cottage with her childhood friends around her, Kate begins the task she set out to do, retrieve the papers but it seems that someone has got there before her.
Despite the cottage being emptied since Kate’s grandmother left, it appears to have been occupied somehow. There have been lights seen. The garden has been dug in places. And a mysterious figure or two has been spotted.
It all seems rather strange and ghostly, but this does not stop Kate facing these ghosts and staying at Rose Cottage to see her task through to the end. Kate finds out a lot about her family through the secrets that Rose Cottage seems to be holding and along with the premonitions from the local witch, and some interfering village gossips, it seems that perhaps it is not all that mysterious and very straightforward.
This was a nice gentle novel. It reflected the lies that are told within families, to either protect them from the past or even the future. Mary Stewart creates an atmosphere with her novels but describing the landscape in detail as well as the life of a little village, where despite a war and a marriage Kate seems to be still known to many. Especially a local lad who she grew up with, but has never ventured very far from his home.
An ideal novel, for a cosy afternoon and if in a cottage then even better.
I read this as I was joining in the with Gudrun’s Tights Mary Stewart Reading Week which she ran for the second year September just gone. I was all set, to finish the book and review it. Then I fell ill to a nasty stomach bug. The book was finished but the inclination to do much else was lost and is still taking a while to materialise, if truth be known.
So I am a little late to this party but better than never having turned up at all!
It is thanks to last year’s reading week that I even started reading Mary Stewart, she was an author who I had come across on blogs but never actually read. Which is why I am also joining in Fleur Fisher’s Margaret Kennedy Reading Week as this is an author I have not read before.