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  • Location: Gloucestershire

The Girl in the Photograph

The Girl in the Photograph

Why a Booktrail?

1890s, 1930s: Even the title is mysterious – just who is the girl in the photo? We wanted to know straight away!

  • ISBN: 978-1405917421
  • Genre: Fiction, Historical

What you need to know before your trail

The Girl in the Photograph is a haunting and atmospheric novel that tells the tales of women in two different eras – the 1890’s and 1930’s – and how their lives seem to be entwined by fate.

In the summer of 1933, Alice Eveleigh has arrived at Fiercombe Manor in disgrace. The beautiful house becomes her sanctuary, a place to hide her shame from society in the care of the housekeeper, Mrs Jelphs. But the manor is also hiding secrets of its own. And Alice soon starts to realise that all is not what it seems.

Travel Guide

Fiercombe Manor in Gloucestershire where Alice arrives at in disgrace is a beautiful house but one which is to hide her shame from society and keep her within its walls. It’s a fictional place but there are many mentions of neighbouring towns and villages to help set the scene. Gloucestershire in all its glory and rather chilling landscape is brought to life –

Gloucestershire

Painswick – it’s here that Alice and her family have grown up and is where the photograph of the title is taken

Stonehouse  – is where Alice gets off the train on her way to her new ‘home’

The landscape, a major character in the novel is at once ‘ impassable’, ‘ dark’ and intimidating. Certainly for Alice who is sent away to start a new and difficult life. Banished to Gloucestershire and to the old and mysterious Fiercombe Manor.

The valley is described as being ‘crowded with ghosts’ and ‘saturated with the past’ and as the action flits between 1930s and 1890s, then the sepia tone is added and we see the change how the valley’s state reflects that of either Elizabeth or Alice.

Firecombe Manor

The mysterious Fiercombe manor is a creaky and intimidating place – whispers in the corridors and candles which refuse to go out. The inspiration for this was a real, stunning if not a bit spooky manor house called Owl Pen Manor in Gloucestershire. Is this a salvation for Alice or her downfall?

Fiercombe is a place of secrets. They fret among the uppermost branches of the beech trees and brood at the cold bottom of the stream that cleaves the valley in two. The past has seeped into the soil here like spilt blood. If you listen closely enough you can almost hear what has gone before, particularly on the stillest days. Sometimes the very air seems to hum with anticipation. At other times it’s as though a collective breath has been drawn in and held.

Booktrailer Review

Susan: @thebooktrailer

You will hear and feel every creak and whisper in the walls when you read this book. I immediately wanted to go to Owlpen manor but would be rather afraid to meet a Mrs Jelphs . She was the lady at the house who receives Alice and she has such a formidable presence that I was both intrigued and nervous around her. She provides many of the answers to Alice’s questions – about the past and the tragic Lady Elizabeth Stanton who lived there years ago.

The mix of past and present was neatly and artfully done rather like placing a sepia tone picture over the Valley only to remove it as Alice came onto the scene. It cleared as she discovered more and more about Elizabeth, and the fate of the two women, what they went through and how they coped with their pressures was heartbreaking to read about.

The place of women in society, hidden and secretive pregnancies, post natal depression are all subjects dealt with here and it makes you grateful that you weren’t born then. The constraints placed on them by society were shocking and as the full picture was revealed in the novel, I was held captive.

Booktrail Boarding Pass Information:

Twitter: @KateRiordanUK

Web: kateriordan.com

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