A psychological thriller about an isolated young woman and her murderous mother from the New York Times–bestselling author of The Girl Next Door.
Far from London, the isolated estate called Shrove House looms over the English countryside. Inside, two women hide from the world. For sixteen years, Eve has protected her daughter, Liza, from the corrupting influence of modern life, never letting her outside, hiding her from those who visit, and killing to keep her safe. Raised in her mother’s shadow, Liza has never questioned that this is the way things must be—until the night the police come to call, and Liza flees into the darkness.
Alone in the world for the first time, terrified that her mother’s murderous past may catch up with her, Liza does what she can to survive. Taking shelter with the groundskeeper, Liza delves into her own past, telling the story of her traumatic childhood as a way of finding a place for herself in this strange, terrifying new world. But she will soon find herself wondering how much like her mother she really is . . .
Joyce Carol Oates called Ruth Rendell “one of the finest practitioners of her craft in the English-speaking world.” In New York Times Notable Book The Crocodile Bird, this three-time Edgar Award winner shows the talent that made her one of the best.
Like a modern-day Scheherazade, young Liza Beck tells her story over a span of nights and in the process finds salvation. After the police question her mother, Eve, about the death of Jonathan Tobias, the owner of Shrove House, 16-year-old Liza runs away with Sean, the young garden hand at the remote English manor. It is to him, over the course of 101 nights, that Liza gradually reveals her strange upbringing, living alone with Eve in the gatehouse of the Tobias estate. Rigorously schooled by her mother, isolated from all society except, on occasion, the mailman or groundskeeper and the few men, including Tobias, whom Eve admits into their world, Liza learns early that others may have something to fear from Eve, but that she does not. Credibility never flags as Edgar Award-winning Rendell ( Kissing the Gunner's Daughter ) reveals the specifics of Liza's increasing contact with the world, creating suspense in the gradually meted out details of Eve's intense attachment to Shrove House and her determination to protect Liza from civilization. Although unpredictable, the payoff seems a little weak and the careful pace somewhat slow; nevertheless, there are no holes in this psychological puzzler that has a strong afterlife. Author tour.
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The Crocodile Bird, Ruth Rendell
Excellent! Suspenseful! Surprising!