Three generations of women experience love, loss and conflict during times of war.
Set against the backdrop of three wars – the 1991 Gulf War, World War 2 and World War 1 – the novel follows the fortunes of three women who become involved with the Flint family, the owners of Echo Hall.
Phoebe Flint visits Echo Hall in 2014, where she follows in her mother’s footsteps to uncover the stories of a house ‘full of unhappy women, and bitter, angry men’.
Ruth Flint arrives at Echo Hall in 1990 – newlywed, pregnant, and uncertain of her relationship with her husband, Adam. Ghostly encounters, a locked door, and a set of photographs pique her curiosity. But Adam and his grandfather refuse to let her investigate. And her marriage is further strained, when Adam, a reservist, is called up to fight in the Gulf War.
In 1942, Elsie Flint is already living at Echo Hall with her children, the guest of her unsympathetic in-laws, whilst her husband Jack is away with the RAF. Her only friend is Jack’s cousin Daniel, but Daniel is hiding secrets, which when revealed could destroy their friendship for good.
Rachel and Leah Walters meet Jacob Flint at a dinner party in 1911. Whilst Leah is drawn to Jacob, Rachel rejects him leading to conflict with her sister that will reverberate through the generations.
As Ruth discovers the secrets of Echo Hall, she is able to finally bring peace to the Flint family, and in doing so, discover what she really needs and wants.
Echo Hall is a novel about the past, but it is very much a novel of the now. Does history always have to repeat itself, or can we find another way?
Echo Hall is a story that spans across generations and is centred around the lives of three women, Ruth, Elsie and rachel and their connection to Echo Hall.
With the back drop of three wars, WW1, WW2 and the Gulf war this is at times a real tearjerker of a story that has a bit of everything, love, tragedy, friendship, betrayal and even a touch of the paranormal.
Echo Hall has secrets, there maybe as many secrets as there are bedrooms it seems and when Ruth discovers some old diaries and journals in one of the locked rooms, rooms that her husband had told her were completely empty, she starts to uncover the history of the house and its previous occupants. Does history have to keep repeating itself for the Flint family or will unlocking the secrets of the past change destiny?
It is hard to believe that this is a debut novel, the weaving together of all the storylines is done masterfully and the settings are all detailed enough to be able to see the places and characters come to life across the pages. There is a distinct gothic feel to the book and I really loved the touch of the paranormal mixed with historical, it added another layer to an already multi layered tale. The whole plot is easy to follow and the switches of eras and women were seamless. Be prepared to shed a tear or two, I know I certainly did!
A great book that makes time travel a reality!
Echo Hall was published on 30 Nov 2017 so I am very late in discovering this book but I am glad that I did.
Thank you to the author Virginia Moffatt, publishers Unbound and NetGalley for my copy of this book in exchange for an honest and independent review.