Kirkus Star


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Briggs (Violet, 2015, etc.) offers a haunting, gothic mystery set in Northern England.

Felicity “Lissa” Godwin was a rising star in the classical music world until a series of tragic deaths and professional disappointments caused the gifted harpist to abandon her promising career. The young American woman journeys to the frozen, windswept Yorkshire Dales in search of healing and peace. There, the dignified beauty of an old country estate serves as the perfect setting for Briggs’ sublime cast of characters and arresting narrative. Lissa’s destination, Denham House, is more than just a country retreat; it was also once the home of her recently deceased aunt, acclaimed harpist Ciara Rossi. Lissa falls in love with Yorkshire and discovers not only familial affection, but an unexpected reignition of her musical passion. She’s further caught off guard by the handsome, mysterious, and extraordinarily talented Dr. Richard D’Annunzio. A series of accidents, unexplained occurrences, and whispered rumors hint at dark secrets lurking within the house’s staid walls and behind the inhabitants’ courtly manners. Briggs deftly lays the groundwork for a gripping mystery, suggesting that Ciara’s short-lived marriage to her husband, John, may not have been the fairy tale that it appeared to be. Briggs is a lyrical writer who composes her narrative with a skillful hand. Her evocative prose draws on elements of literature and music to describe such things as Lissa’s stunning concert dress, which conjures images of “Isolde dreaming of Tristan, watching the restless heaving of a cold Cornish sea.” She also expertly imbues her characters’ musical performances with a tension and emotion that’s truly breathtaking; Briggs draws upon her own experiences as a harpist when describing a transition from an intermezzo to a finale, which Lissa feels as “an ironic, disillusioned snarl that cut into my heart.”

A memorable tale of suspense and passion.

Pub Date: Jan. 29th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-5333-7465-3
Page count: 342pp
Publisher: Self
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2017


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