‘I see it all again: the silver moon swimming beneath the water and the golden gown billowing out about her…’
1765: Lady Isabella Gerard asks her maid to take her new golden gown and destroy it. Its shimmering beauty has been tainted by the actions of her husband the night before.
Three months later: Lord Eustace Gerard stands beside the lake looking down at the woman in the golden gown. As the body slowly rolls over to reveal her face, it’s clear this is not his intended victim…
1996: Fenella Brightwell steals a stunning gown from a stately home. Twenty years later and reeling from the end of an abusive marriage, she wonders if it has cursed her all this time. Now she’s determined to discover the history behind the beautiful golden dress…
I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Domestic abuse is the dark theme of this timeslip novel. Another central element is the mystical influence of a golden gown, the reader finds characters linked over time, both victims of abusive partners.
The historical detail and setting for the eighteenth century part of the novel are atmospheric and absorbing. Lady Isabella is perhaps the easiest of the characters to empathise, as she suffers her husband’s mental and physical abuse.
Fenella suffers a similar fate in the present day, and its effects force her into the role of an unreliable protagonist. You are not sure of her true motives and whether she really sees what she says she does.
The characters are complex and well written. The story has a supernatural element, which could be explained away as the psychological impact of the women’s abuse but there is always an element of doubt that keeps the reader guessing.
Well-paced with a layered plot, the book keeps you enthralled until the end.