The story commences with Miss Matilda Gregory looking to hire a new maid. Ida Garfield, longing for a chance to escape her go nowhere life on the farm is offered the opportunity and grabs the one chance she may have to make a new life for herself.
She has not been hired for her skills as a maid, but for her well known curiosity. But before she can commence work Miss Gregory is found dead and it looks like she is out of a job.
Samuel Hackett, Miss Gregory’s fiancé, was also employed as the Secretary for Summersby House and upon Miss Gregory’s death assumes that he is the person inheriting the estate. His valet, Barker, a man of menace and an equally mysterious past, immediately raises Ida’s curiosity as he does not appear to take orders in the manner he should and it would seem he almost has some sort of control over Samuel Hackett.
Hackett decides to keep Ida on as a housemaid and friend, a move which will eventually cause many more issues as Ida’s curiosity knows no bounds.
As the days go by Ida discovers there is a deception in the past and it appears that there is a secret heiress, Matilda Gregory, but how can this be that there are two women, one dead, whose names are the same.
Surviving ‘Matilda’ has an irrevocably broken memory and had been sent to live in a home for disturbed persons from a young age. Hackett decides to bring ‘Matilda’, back to Somersby setting off a chain of events which will prove as mysterious as they are deadly.
But all is not as it would immediately seem, as the surviving ‘Matilda’ begins to behave in a strange and frustrating manner, appearing quite lucid at times and the opposite at others ,which begins to raise a few concerns as to what is really wrong with “Matilda’, and how Hackett and Ida will be able to manage the household.
Biddy comes onto the scene in 1903, creating a parallel story. Biddy is 16 years old, loves to tell outrageous stories, enjoys playing practical jokes on people and is in love with Tom. But who is Biddy and how is it, that some 17 years on from the apparent death of Matilda Gregory in 1886, she becomes involved in the events of Summersby House.
It all depends on which way you look at the story, who’s side you are one and how you view the is spine chilling plot, as to how you view the final, cataclysmic conclusion.
Once started you will find this totally engrossing, deftly woven, gothic tale set in Australia very, very hard to put down.
Be warned, though, you will need to keep a very close eye on the characters as all is definitely not as it would seem!
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster Australia|
|Distributor||Simon And Schuster Australia|