Published by Penguin Australia on 2013
Genres: Historical Fiction
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Every great house hides a great secret...
It is 1917 and Charlotte Blackshaw is only eight years old when her little sister Victoria vanishes from the magnificent country estate of Tyringham Park. The feverish search for Victoria soon uncovers jealousies and deceits that the inhabitants of the grand house have fought for years to keep hidden.
As the years pass and her sister's disappearance continues to cast a long shadow over the estate, Charlotte finds herself embroiled in the passions and secrets, lives and deaths, trysts and betrayals that affect the days of everyone connected to this once great house.
And though she tries to escape, she knows that Tyringham Park and its mysteries will never release their hold on her...
In 1917, twenty-two month old Victoria Blackshaw mysteriously disappears from her family’s country estate in Ireland. She leaves the residents and staff at Tyringham Park bewildered as they search the grounds and surrounding villages for any sign of her. Victoria is the pretty, favoured younger sister of sullen and awkward Charlotte.
Charlotte is the unfortunate product of an absent father; a cold and distant mother and an abusive and cruel nanny, Nurse Dixon. It is only through the kindness of a few servants that Charlotte makes it through her tormented childhood.
From the green hills of Ireland to the Australian Blue Mountains, Tyringham Park follows Charlotte as she tries to overcome her tortured childhood and find some semblance of happiness. All the while the mystery of Victoria’s disappearance looms in the background. Can Charlotte escape her vicious past and come out unscathed? And what became of the missing Victoria?
I have a fascination with the “lost” and “the vanished”, so the story appealed to me. While the plot is nothing new, it is still intriguing and does keep you guessing.
I found the character of Charlotte quite problematic and inconsistent. At the beginning of the book I really sympathised with her and hoped she would overcome her troubled childhood. However, without giving too much away, her actions in the middle of the book appalled me. She was like a different person completely. I found it difficult to forgive her selfishness.
Tyringham Park is a light easy read, though the writing was a bit awkward and patchy in places. At times Mcloughlin goes into great detail about arbitrary events or people, while seeming to skip others that should be important. I understand that she is currently working on a sequel, so perhaps these drawn out descriptions and silly exchanges will become clear then.
– A promising plot, but ultimately, a let down.