Miranda’s life and career has been a roller-coaster ride. Her successful rise to the top of the booming lifestyle industry as a social media influencer led to a humiliating fall after a controversial product she endorsed flopped. Desperate to get away from the hate-spewing trolls shaming her on the internet, she receives a mysterious letter from a young cousin in England that plunges her into a dark family mystery.
Miranda’s mother Tessa Summers, a famous author, died when Miranda was a child. The young woman’s only connection to the Summers family is through Tessa’s famous book The House of Brides—a chronicle of the generations of women who married into the infamous Summers family and made their home in the rambling Barnsley House, the family’s estate. From Gertrude Summers, a famed crime novelist, to Miranda’s grandmother Beatrice, who killed herself after setting fire to Barnsley while her children slept, each woman in The House of Brides is more notorious than the next. The house’s current “bride” is the beautiful, effervescent Daphne, her Uncle Max’s wife—a famed celebrity chef who saved Barnsley from ruin turning the estate into an exclusive culinary destination and hotel.
Curious about this legendary family she has never met, Miranda arrives at Barnsley posing as a prospective nanny answering an advertisement. She’s greeted by the compelling yet cold housekeeper Mrs. Mins, and meets the children and her Uncle Max—none of whom know her true identity. But Barnsley is not what Miranda expected. The luxury destination and award-winning restaurant is gone, and Daphne is nowhere to be found. Most disturbing, one of the children is in a wheelchair after a mysterious accident. What happened in this house? Where is Daphne? What darkness lies hidden in Barnsley?
I have to say I wasn’t really sure what to expect of this book. It was described as a modern Jane Eyre or Rebecca. Now shamefully I haven’t read Rebecca, but Jane Eyre is one of my favourite books. It was with this in mind that I requested this book.
I also somehow had thought this was a romance, and boy howdy was it not, which for me is a good thing. Not going to lie, it took me about a week to get past the first 70 pages. but once I did I could not put this book down. I loved how unreliable every single character in this is as a narrator.
It’s this that made it hard to get into because, in the beginning, Miranda is so damn unlikeable. She’s been caught lying and in a huge scandal that hurt many people and all we hear about is how hard it is on her. Then she lies to everyone around her more and more. But as things go on I did start to feel more for her.
It’s her genuine caring for her cousins and the people around her that make you warm up to her. The remorse she feels and how it seems like she wants to be a better person. Especially as everything she knows as the truth begins to unravel around her.
The red herrings and false leads that are thrown around like confetti were all really well done and honestly had me believing a very different plot at one point. My only real complaint was the ending felt extremely rushed for me. I would have liked to see more of the journey towards the epilogue. Jane Cockram shows such wonderful skill I can’t wait to read what she writes next.
I Give The House Of Brides 4 out of 5 stars.
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A Review Copy of this book was provided to me by Harlequin Australia in exchange for an honest review.