Phoebe Burns is broke and broken. After a failed marriage she needs to regain mental strength. And she needs money - fast. Failure would mean losing custody of her son. Return to teaching promises security. But Hillgate Hall School evokes her painful past and draws her into its own darkness.
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“I couldn’t put this book down. Phoebe’s battle to survive held me riveted. I enjoyed entering her world and her problems -lack of money, depression, an aggressive ex-husband and his wealthy girlfriend. It is set in the 1990s, but it is very much a novel of today - a #MeToo story. I mustn’t give too much away, but I loved its surprises. I also enjoyed the descriptions of the secondary characters and the landscape. Phoebe’s very much a North Country woman who, like her hero, Charlotte Bronte, longs for the moors of her childhood. She was someone I readily related to. I liked her wry observations of the people whose lives touched hers, especially those in the shady world antiques. Touching many issues, it is a book I’m recommending to my book club.”
Read the New In Books Interview with Nicholas Bundock here
Reviews from Amazon Readers
“From the start of Hillgate Hall I was intrigued by Phoebe, the main character. I felt drawn into her battle to survive financially in the face of her ex-husband and his ghastly (and wealthy) girlfriend. Her struggle to make money from antique dealing, then teaching, and to keep custody of her son kept me turning the pages. There is a strong sense of reality - even in the strange Hillgate Hall, the school where she finds a teaching post. I enjoyed the suspense, as Hillgate resurrects her own unhappy schooldays, and then makes her face a new demon. Landscape is important in this book. There’s a contrast between Phoebe’s peaceful rural world and the psychological turmoil in her mind. I loved the recollections of her Yorkshire childhood and her longing for the wildness of the moors - so different from the countryside where most of this tale is set. Like Nicholas Bundock’s first novel, The Mirror Shop, Hillgate Hall is a compelling story with its well-observed characters, dark humour and the many twists in the plot. I thoroughly recommend it.”
THE MIRROR SHOP
Luke, a mirror dealer, leads a safe existence in a market town surrounded by the English countryside. On the surface he and his long-term partner, Eva, a psychotherapist, seem happy. But when a younger woman enters his shop past history breaks through the tranquil surface of their lives, leading Luke to a world where murder is his only option.
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