Bored with cataloguing boxes of fossils in the museum where she works, Gemma’s curiosity is piqued when she finds, in one of he boxes, a pair of ruby-encrusted duelling pistols. Realising that there must be an interesting history behind the artefact, research takes her back to the year 1838, when two sisters were found shot in the cellar of Red Hill Hall. A tale of intrigue follows and soon Gemma finds that history is repeating itself as the relationship between herself and her best friend, Nat, falls into disrepair. Will Gemma end up like one of the daughters of Red Hill Hall?

This is actually a story within a story as we find out about Gemma’s life alongside the lives of Rebecca and Sarah, the daughters referred to in the title of the book. There are many parallels in their respective stories, not least the idea that there is a perceived inequality felt by two of the characters: Sarah has always felt that Rebecca is the favoured daughter, while Nat appears to harbour an intense jealousy of Gemma due to her stable upbringing. The way both sets of relationships break down dramatically with fateful consequences is a key part of the book, well-written by the author.

The Daughters of Red Hill Hall was an easy read, mainly because it was so enjoyable. This is the first of Kathleen McGurl’s books that I have read but it certainly won’t be the last – the preview chapters from her next book that were included at the end have already whetted my appetite for ‘The Pearl Locket’.

This book was received from Net Galley and Carina in return for an honest review.

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