twisty | unpredictable | well-paced
what it says on the cover …
When Serena Green accepted the role of housekeeper for wealthy widower Hayden Ramsay, she never imagined her new home would be Ramsay Hall, an ancient, sprawling mansion in Northern England.
Serena quickly becomes an integral part of the household, making friends with Hayden’s younger son Hugh, despite Jack, his older brother’s, coldness towards her and Lana.
But the hall’s beautiful exterior hides many ugly secrets. Though Serena and Jack begin to grow closer, she’s confused by his behaviour around Lana. What is he guilty of? And is there more to their mother’s death than the Ramsay men will admit, even to themselves?
As the harrowing past of Ramsay Hall unravels, Serena fresh start becomes a fresh horror. She fears for her and Lana’s safety, but what are the bleak secrets in Serena’s own past?
This house is built on a lifetime of lies… and the truth might just bring the walls crashing down.
PUBLISHED: 26th August 2021
SHELF: Mystery | Suspense
AUTHOR: C.E. Rose
PUBLISHER: Hera Books
FORMATS: Paperback | Kindle
Thank you to @CazEngland for sending me a signed paperback copy of #TheHouseOfHiddenSecrets (published by @HeraBooks)
my review …
The House of Hidden Secrets is a book written to capture the imaginations of readers who enjoy novels that touch on more than one genre. In the main, this is a suspense-mystery novel, but with some significant romances, and a whisper of something a little bit ghostly. An ambitious breadth of scope for the author, written with good pace and plenty of enjoyably unpredictable twists.
Whilst the two main families in this book come from wildly different backgrounds, they all share some common ground … secrets, lies and murky pasts abound in this novel, and the deeper I progressed into the story the more they all seemed to have to hide.
Serena is seeking anonymous sanctuary for herself and her young daughter, Lana, and whilst they initially seem to have found it at the sprawling Ramsay Hall, their arrival progressively forces more than one long-buried mystery to the surface. Ghosts, both ‘real’ and imagined flit through the story, confronting brothers, Jack and Hugh Ramsey with some painful truths about their dysfunctional childhood with their mercurial father, Hayden, and the enduring impact it’s had on their adult lives.
Although the chapters are narrated by Serena, Jack and Hayden, I found it hard to really settle with any of them. Their voices were colloquial and distinctive to each individual, but they were all extremely evasive in nature, and I really struggled to build an affinity with any of them. Yes, this is a suspense-mystery novel so it wouldn’t do for the characters to give too much away too quickly, but – for me – I felt this was detrimental to a more deep-seated chilling intrigue.
The author writes very descriptively, creating vivid locations and enticing settings. It was clear to me that whilst she was writing, the characters and scenes were unfolding very clearly in her mind’s eye. Likewise, I couldn’t help but admire the scope of introducing two significant romances into the heart of this domestic suspense novel, without losing sight of the plot’s many unpredictable twists and secrets. And that’s before the goosebump-inducing ghostly moments run their icy fingers over the back of your neck … they were an inspired touch, I found myself craving more of these particular highlights.
The House of Hidden Secrets is a well-paced mystery, bursting with the glorious Cheshire country scenery and filled with a richly imagined cast of characters. There are themes of domestic abuse and control, although these events are all off-the-page having taken place in the characters’ pasts, but they form the crux of the events that unfold in this page-turner, and drive the plot and characters towards the book’s seminal conclusion.
Born in Sheffield, Caroline studied Law at the University of Manchester and stayed over the border. Caroline was a divorce and professional indemnity lawyer. She turned to writing when she deserted the law to bring up her three lovely daughters. Caroline has had short stories and poems published in a variety of literary publications and anthologies.
Caroline also writes under two other pen names. As Caro Land she has written a legal suspense series, and as CE Rose she writes gothic-tinged psychological thrillers.