Black Rabbit Hall caught my eye when I was struggling to find my next book to read. I go through phases like this – nothing seems to suit, and I will aimlessly meander a bookstore or the pages of Amazon until I find something that catches my eye. I hate being without a book, so I can usually find SOMETHING, but this past month I’ve been more listless than usual. I blame the pregnancy hormones!
Still, in my aimless wanderings I came across this book and it seemed to be a kind of throwback to the kinds of books I loved as a girl. I thought it would do just the trick. It took me a while to settle into it though. I think this time it was because it is a book that straddles two time frames – the late sixties, in England, Cornwall specifically, and present day in the same locations. Its a psychological thrilled, but the thriller aspect doesn’t get more than hinted at for a good 100 pages in. Still, I think this book is worth reading for any reader who like a house as a character. Black Rabbit Hall is our setting, and it is a hulking, dark, impressive animal of a character. In many ways, this grand old house is the main character.
The book is told from the perspective of Amber, a young girl in the late 60’s who loses her mother in a horrible accident, and whose father all too quickly remarries. It sounds typical, perhaps even archetypal, but there are a few twists.
Lorna, our present day narrator, wants to get married at Black Rabbit Hall despite the fact that it is all but falling down. She feels drawn to the place, and agrees to spend a night there with its current inhabitants who aim to convince her to have her wedding there. Add to this that Lorna has also recently lost her mother, and the parallels between the time periods begin. Some people have argued in reviews that the characters are a bit too pat, but I am mostly ok with this. You do have to be willing to dig in for a hundred pages or so before the story really gets moving, but once it does, it does, and I enjoyed the read. I would recommend it for fans of haunted houses, psychological dramas, and tales that unfold over generations.