Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother Danny were born in the middle of summer at their family’s estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.
Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is beautifully dressed, smiling serenely, and holding just one baby.
Who is the child and what really happened that day?
One person knows the truth, if only Seraphine can find her.
The first I had heard of this one was last summer and it was being compared to V. C. Andrews, and that was enough for me to add this to my must read pile. Andrews was one of the first authors I followed closely, I spent at least a couple of years in middle school reading her various series and was totally captivated by her brand of domestic drama and over the top crazy plot lines. Surely my tastes have matured since then, but even so I do still love a family drama with gothic undertones and despite a few minor issues with this one, I can see why the comparison holds weight.
This is told in two timelines, Seraphine in 2017 after she finds an old family picture that raises more than a few questions and then it flips back to Laura when she begins a job as an au pair for Seraphine’s family. Rous is a good writer, there was definitely a dark, moody edge to her style that worked for me, but along with that melancholy vibe came a pretty slow pace. It did pick up some in the end, but this does require some patience for most of the book.
This does require the reader to suspend some disbelief in the end, I did kind of shake my head at a few reveals, but if that doesn’t bother you, this will be perfect. There were shocking revelations for sure, just don’t look too deep and ask too many questions and you’ll enjoy the ride!