Kate Ryder returns to the blog with her debut novel, a lovely time slip story that spans nearly a half-century and finds a new direction for the heroine in
Secrets of the Mist
I’ve read a couple of titles from this author – but this is Kate Ryder’s debut novel, and is now released. With a mystery from the past that has encroached on and influences the present, all centered around two items found in the ‘bread oven’ in a small run-down cottage, the story gives a sense of destiny, past lives and second chances, all while providing us with a few moments of unnecessary drama, plenty of atmosphere, and an electric connection that will warm your heart. Maddie has a successful career working in media – as an assistant director and writer, she’s been involved in several historical pieces, has an on again-off again friendship that’s more with Dan, a life in London and plenty to do. But something is different: although she grew up in Dublin, she and her sisters couldn’t be more different, and she’s wondering if there’s not a new direction for her.
Finding The Olde Smithy during a shoot, there’s something about it that speaks to her – and she must find the answers. Quitting her job, relocating to the Dorset countryside and discovering the secrets contained in the house is an adventure, and one her family and friends are unsure of. The house needs lots of work, the gardens are overgrown, but she feels it speaks to her….
From meeting a long-term resident of the cottage at her part-time job in the pub, to hearing ‘tales’ about the ‘strangeness’ of the space, all the way to feeling (and seeing )a presence in her house that both intrigues and unsettles her – there’s a ton for her to discover – and plenty more to come. Finding the box containing a ring and pendant leave more questions than answers, questions and concerns she can’t speak with Dan about as he’s got a controlling and manipulative new girlfriend who seems to have isolated him from everyone. With the entrance of Nick and their instant connection, although he also has a relationship that is full of tumult, there’s plenty of ‘current drama’ to add to the mystery of why every moment seems to mean Maddie is Meant to Be There.
When the story of who Maddie keeps seeing in her house unfolds, we see it all related to the English Civil War in the mid-seventeenth century, and the connection that Nick has to the old cottage, the activity around Maddie becomes more frequent and strident. A nice mix of past and present, with a bit of unneeded ‘girl drama’ that never really showed as sorted (and was far too immature for the characters) through the descriptions of the setting, the story as it unfolds and Maddie’s discoveries all add up to make this a gripping read, engaging and solidly presented.
Title: Secrets of the Mist
Author: Kate Ryder
Genre: British, Contemporary Fantasy Romance, Friendship, Historic Elements, Mystery Elements, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Setting: Britain
Published by: Aria
Published on: 19 September, 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google
Maddie is restless in London. She has friends, a job and a sort-of boyfriend, but something in her life is missing. Then she visits the ancient village of Walditch, deep in the Dorset countryside. Something stirs in her, and on a whim she buys a centuries-old cottage and moves there three months later. Her friends think she's crazy, but for Maddie it feels like coming home.
Late at night in the cottage, Maddie hears strange noises and sees mist gathering indoors and out. When she starts investigating the cottage's history, she becomes drawn into the tragic story of a family who lived here 400 years ago. Meanwhile, Maddie starts to fall in love with a local carpenter – but he has a relationship already...
Can Maddie solve the riddle of the past? What is her connection with the family that lived there so many years ago? And can she and her true love ever be together?
Previously published as The Forgotten Promise.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.