Very atmospheric from the word go, Rose and Dylan with their little son are returning home from tumultuous Somalia after a long exile away from home.
Home is Dylan's ancestral pile in the quiet village of Hurtford. The house is eerie, sitting on a hill and the Kynaston name alone is spoken about with derision, scorn and disdain. Rose is unaware of the tension surrounding her husband's family until she actually arrives in the home to find Gwendoline - Dylan's mother herself eccentric, displaying all the characteristics of dementia but is not acknowledged by her son to actually be a danger to anyone.
To the outsider Rose, there are lots of things very wrong both with Gwendoline and the house but Dylan persists in being blind to all this. The scandal attached to Dylan's father persists despite there being no proof at all (case dismissed) but it is not a happy situation at all. Rose is fighting blind an enemy that she does not know or even can perceive, and when human remains are discovered the entire old scandal is reopened like a festering wound and it is upto Rose to protect herself and her son even against her husband who is now a prime suspect in a murder investigation.
The whole village of Hurtford itself added to the suspense of the story as it seemed as if small time villages have very long memories and thirty years is a mere few days in people's memory. It does not fade with time nor is it allowed to do so and it is kept very much alive - the animosity and hatred particularly.
This was a good read with a lot to ponder over - how family ties, loyalty to a clan to a village can sometimes be too much of a good thing!
Sent by Lake Union Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.