A Place To Lie by Rebecca Griffiths. Sphere. August 22nd 2019
In Summer 1990, Caroline and Joanna are sent to stay with their great aunt, Dora, to spend their holidays in a sunlit village near the Forest of Dean. The countryside is a welcome change from the trauma they know back home in the city; a chance to make the world a joyful playground again. But in the shadowy woods at the edge of the forest hide secrets that will bring their innocence to a distressing end and make this a summer they will never forget.
There was a dark, dark house
Years later, a shocking act of violence sends Joanna back to Witchwood. In her great aunt’s lonely and dilapidating cottage, she will attempt to unearth the secrets of that terrifying summer and come to terms with the haunting effects it has left on her life. But in her quest to find answers, who can she trust? And will she be able to survive the impending danger from those trying to bury the truth?
Griffiths didn’t hang around, no preamble, no easing the reader in gently as she launched straight into a devastating event. It was an event that set off a period of introspection, of coming to terms with present and past events.
Joanna, world renowned pianist, was a woman in shock, a woman who had it all, who you immediately liked, could connect with as she grappled with her predicament.
As she drove into the past we met her older sister, Carrie, damaged, psychologically flawed, a young teenager who didn’t know how to make sense of the world around her.
It was their shared past that Griffiths skilfully balanced with the present, as the tenuious threads welded together and their story unfolded.
Griffiths filled her novel with a wonderfully diverse cast of characters. The dotty aunt Dora, the creepy son of her neighbour, the vicar and his wife, Dean errant son of the pub landlady. All played their part, none above suspicion for the tragic events that unfurled.
For me the stand out character had to be the landscape, the village of Witchwood, the woods with their ability to conceal, to hide the actions of the characters. It was a place of freedom for children, but also a place of dark secrets, of lingering intent that gave the novel its wonderfully eerie atmosphere.
A Place To Live wasn’t your usual crime novel, it was far from superficial as Griffiths examined the impact words, observations and lies can have on people and the hurt and devastation it could cause not just in the present but also the future.
What seemed innocent to some, took on a life of its own and the examination of those consequences were brilliantly done by the author.
It was a novel I found compelling, and would recommend highly.
I would like to thank Sphere for a copy of A Place To Lie to read and review and to Anne Cater Of Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Rebecca Griffiths grew up in rural mid-Wales and went on to gain a first class honours degree in English Literature. After a successful business career in London, Dublin and Scotland, she returned to mid-Wales where she now lives with her husband, a prolific artist, their three vampiric cats as black as night, and pet sheep the size of sofas.