Today folks I’m delighted to bring you my review on the Bookouture blog tour for The Lost Girls of Foxfield Hall by Jessica Thorne!
September, 1939. The moon shines silver on the looming yew trees. Thinking of her fiancé, fighting for his life and country in the war, breaks Eleanor’s heart, but also gives her courage. She takes a deep breath, picks up her camera, and follows the dancing lights into the maze.
Present day. With her little brother Missing in Action, gardener Megan Taylor runs from her grief to take a job at Foxfield Hall – a centuries-old place full of myths and folklore – restoring the wild maze in the overgrown gardens. Throwing herself into shaping the tangled ivy, Megan soon becomes drawn into the mystery of Lady Eleanor Fairfax, the Hall’s most famous resident… the villagers say she disappeared without trace at the Harvest Festival in 1939, leaving behind a grieving father and a heartbroken fiancé.
Leafing through delicate old newspaper cuttings and gazing at an ornately framed portrait of the missing woman, Megan is full of questions. Although no body was ever found, could Eleanor have been murdered? Did she run away, unwilling to marry the man who loved her? Or, with her father working at the War Office, did Eleanor stumble upon a secret she shouldn’t have?
Then, one night under a full moon, a mesmerising light inexplicably draws her to the entrance of the maze. Megan is filled with a strange certainty that, if she follows it into the shadows, it will lead to the truth about Eleanor… but could Megan herself be the next occupant of Foxfield Hall to be lost forever?
I’m someone who loves a good mystery. I love when a book has me thinking about how vital something said in passing in might be and try to figure it out. I especially love when a mystery totally manages to blind side me, surprise me totally and take my heart with it. That is exactly what this book is and it’s absolutely fantastic.
This book has so much packed into it that I wouldn’t not be able to recommend this to anyone. Do you like historical fiction? Here you are. A historical fiction with a scifi element? Here you go. A mystery with some supernatural leanings? Have it. Sapphic love story? Got it. Small locale with pagan leanings? HERE. A group of witches, ghosts and nature magic? All here. Arthurian retelling? YUP. I think this is where the authors strengths really shine through, seamlessly switching between genres without any disruption to the story. It’s very impressive and really works in the books favour.
The characters are also written exceptionally well with very distinct parallels drawn between the two main characters, Ellie and Megan. There is a fantastic structure to each of their chapters, particularly early on in the book, where the tail end of a chapter from one perspective is cycled back to in the next chapter and lending further context to moments. My favourite being the first time Ellie meets Megan and she describes her as a boy, having never really seen a woman with short hair. Then when the next chapter kicks off with Megan landing at Ellie’s feet, it is clarified what Ellie sees. I really enjoyed how the two women have distinct similarities but are so different. I really like as well how Ellie being from the 1930’s wasn’t shook to her core at discovering Megan was gay, I know it’s small but she does have a point when she reminds Megan she went to an all women’s college.
However what I really loved the most about the story is the folklore surrounding Foxfield Hall and how local stories link the area to King Arthur. I think it’s always hard to approach a story as classic as King Arthur, particularly when it comes to trying to give the women of the tale a spotlight. The way Jessica Thorne weaves the story of the Green Lady, the ghost who is meant to be Guinivere and how her ties to Morgause and Morgana le Fey ties directly to Megan and Ellie just had me in awe. I would happily read a book about that alone or more about them.
Overall, this is a book that can very easily be read by anybody. I have this idea that it would make an excellent show or movie that you would watch on a Sunday on BBC and become totally engrossed in. Thank you to Bookouture and Noelle for sending me an advance copy of this book for review and for having me on this blog tour.
The Lost Girls of Foxfield Hall is out now!