I'm not sure how I've managed to avoid reading Lulu Taylor all these years, as she seems to write my favourite kind of book! A dual timeline, a beautiful Jacobean manor, an old mystery surrounding a famous painting, a couple of deliciously bad villains - and lots of snow! - I absolutely loved this story!
Her Frozen Heart is the story of one house and two women - who have both experienced something so traumatic it has left them 'frozen'. In the present day we have Caitlyn, barely coping after a tragedy shatters her world, now left wondering who she can trust. In the 1940s Tommy (Thomasina), after struggling to keep the family home going during the war, is facing one of the coldest winters on record. Food and fuel are rationed, and the risk of freezing to death or starving is very real. Tommy has no support from her family. Her mother is openly hostile, saying she should behave more like a lady and leave the running of the estate to her (lovable but hopeless) brother. Then two strangers arrive and Tommy's life is changed irrevocably.
Caitlyn and Tommy's stories are told from their point of view in alternate chapters. In the 1940s I loved the descriptions of Kings Harcourt Manor and the relationships between the characters. I particularly loved Tommy and Gerry. I loved how Caitlyn and Tommy experienced the same problem, seventy years apart, and the mystery surrounding the house's famous Gainsborough painting. And I loved the horribly manipulative villains!
I read Her Frozen Heart in three days. I was completely gripped, reading faster and faster, desperate for it to turn out the way I wanted. Lulu Taylor racks up the tension, right up to the last few pages, and there were a couple of twists I didn't see coming (as they say). I've added it to my list of favourite reads this year - and the author's entire backlist to my wishlist!
If you love old mysteries, and authors such as Kate Morton and Eve Chase, then this is the book for you. Recommended!
Note: I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this book, which will be published on 30th November 2017.
Thank you to Lulu Taylor, Pan Macmillan, and Netgalley for my copy of this book, which I received in exchange for an honest review.