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The Daughters of Foxcote Manor

Review

The Daughters of Foxcote Manor

England, 1970. Young Rita can hardly believe her good fortune when she lands her dream job as nanny for a family so highly placed as the Harringtons. It’s not long, though, before tragedy strikes. Jeannie loses her baby, and their London house goes up in flames. A distressed Walter sends his wife and two children to Foxcote Manor, their country home, to recuperate. He enlists Rita’s aid to watch over them, in more ways than one. Rita actually considers it spying but has little choice if she wants to keep her job.

Approaching Foxcote Manor, Rita is shocked by its untidy state. It appears uncared for, as though no one ever visits it. And it sits in a tangled wood, the sort of environment that Rita is unaccustomed to and finds highly unsettling. Strange things move about in the forest. The intrusive housekeeper does little to settle Rita’s fears when she warns her of other dangers lurking about, like a creepy wandering man called Fingers. All of this makes Rita hypervigilant, especially since Jeannie has retreated to her bed once again. Thirteen-year-old Hera seems happy with the arrangement, though. And Teddy, her younger brother, loves being a boy in the wild. Just as all is going okay, a visitor shows up, which turns the mood sour --- for everyone except Jeannie.

"This book is a pleasure and a thrill. The marvelous discoveries unfold right up to the last page, where the perfect ending resides."

One day, Hera makes a stunning discovery: a tiny baby lying on a stump. Who could have left her there? Hera takes her to Foxcote, and Rita’s mothering nature immediately kicks in. The child seems unharmed, but Rita believes they should call the authorities. An appalled Jeannie will have none of that. She wants the baby, at least for a bit longer. As the summer gets shorter, Rita grows more attached to Baby Forest, as they have come to call her. Maybe it all will work out fine. However, when a body is found in the woods, everything changes. Walter dismisses Rita as though it were her fault, whisks Jeannie and the children back to London, and forbids any contact between them. But that’s not the end.

Fast forward 40 years. Rita is taking a walk with her granddaughter, Annie, when she tumbles off the trail, injuring herself badly. She lapses into a coma. Her daughter, Sylvie, tries to figure out what happened while reassuring Annie that it wasn’t her fault. As they attempt to bring Rita back, by using familiar sounds and voices, they discover a connection to Foxcote Manor and open a Pandora’s box of secrets. Sylvie had no idea that her mother had ever been a nanny, let alone a nanny for the Harringtons. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. She has so much more to find out. And Annie has a surprise for her, too.

In THE DAUGHTERS OF FOXCOTE MANOR, Eve Chase brings readers a richly crafted set of characters, and then places them in a delightfully decrepit house sitting in an eerie forest with a dark atmosphere. The Harringtons are a sadly flawed couple with children who turn to their over-caring nanny, who always seems to get the short end of the stick. But sometimes good things come out of bad situations.

Told in chapters then and now, the past slowly creeps into the future, and the lives of the characters intertwine intricately, leaving readers with a sense of awe. This book is a pleasure and a thrill. The marvelous discoveries unfold right up to the last page, where the perfect ending resides.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on July 31, 2020

The Daughters of Foxcote Manor
by Eve Chase

  • Publication Date: July 21, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • ISBN-10: 0525542388
  • ISBN-13: 9780525542384