Title: The Girl in the Picture
Author: Kerry Barrett
Publisher: 20 September 2017 by HQ Digital
Pages: 384 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: historical fiction, mystery
My Rating: 4.5 cups
Two women. One house. Centuries of secrets
East Sussex Coast, 1855
Violet Hargreaves is the lonely daughter of a widowed industrialist, and an aspiring Pre-Raphaelite painter. One day, the naïve eighteen-year-old meets Edwin; a mysterious and handsome man on the beach, who promises her a world beyond the small coastal village she’s trapped in. But after ignoring warning about Edwin, a chain of terrible events begins to unfold for Violet…
East Sussex Coast, 2016
For thriller-writer Ella Daniels, the house on the cliff is the perfect place to overcome writer’s block, where she decides to move with her small family. But there’s a strange atmosphere that settles once they move in – and rumours of historical murders next door begin to emerge. One night, Ella uncovers a portrait of a beautiful young girl named Violet Hargreaves, who went missing at the same time as the horrific crimes, and Ella becomes determined to find out what happened there 160 years ago. And in trying to lay Violet’s ghost to rest, Ella must face ghosts of her own...
This haunting timeslip tale is perfect for fans of Kate Riordan, Tracy Rees, Kate Morton and Lucinda Riley.
When a book is put in the same league as Kate Morton, it has quite a bit to live up too! ‘The Girl in the Picture’, is quite impressive in delivering the necessary plot twists and I would safely recommend it to all fans of this genre. This is the first Kerry Barrett book I have read and it will not be my last. Always a literary challenge to write a dual timeline narrative, Kerry masterfully alternates between Ella in the present, to Violet in 1885 in a seamless, easy to follow and intriguing tale.
Set on the coast of East Sussex and centring around the occurrences in the one house of these two women, separated only by the passage of time. What secrets does this house contain in relation to the murders and disappearance so many years ago? Kerry does a wonderful job of engaging the reader, providing little pieces of the puzzle to present day Ella, as she attempts to investigate what occurred back in 1885 to Violet. The intrigue heightens the further into the story you get, but it’s not until the end that you will confidently put all the pieces of this engaging puzzle together.
I enjoyed many aspects of this book - everything from: the well executed, dual timeline, the slow unfolding suspense and mystery combined with the substantial character development in both timelines. The story may start out a little slow for some and the modern day story lack that bit of lustre, but don’t let this deter you from a well written tale. The manipulation and violence may prove a little too close to home for some, but it certainly adds to the realism.
As Ella seeks to uncover the local mystery surrounding her newly purchased residence, the notorious tale of a murder mystery from 150 years ago will engross you. The balance between Ella’s present day discoveries coinciding with real time events for Violet is well done. This tale will prove a real treat for lovers of historical fiction with the added element of a well executed mystery.
This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release