The Secrets of Hartwood Hall
A gripping and atmospheric debut that is at once a chilling gothic mystery and a love letter to Victorian fiction.
Nobody ever goes to Hartwood Hall. Folks say it’s cursed…
It’s 1852 and Margaret Lennox, a young widow, attempts to escape the shadows of her past by taking a position as governess to an only child, Louis, at an isolated country house in the west of England.
But Margaret soon starts to feel that something isn’t quite right. There are strange figures in the dark, tensions between servants, and an abandoned east wing. Even stranger is the local gossip surrounding Mrs. Eversham, Louis’s widowed mother, who is deeply distrusted in the village.
Lonely and unsure whom to trust, Margaret finds distraction in a forbidden relationship with the gardener, Paul. But as Margaret’s history threatens to catch up with her, it isn’t long before she learns the truth behind the secrets of Hartwood Hall.
In 1852, Margaret Lennox, the 29-year-old narrator of British author Lumsden's captivating debut, is left destitute when her clergyman husband dies after three years of marriage. Soon afterward, Mrs. Lennox leaves London for isolated Hartwood Hall in the west of England to assume the position of governess to 10-year-old Louis, the son of widowed Mrs. Eversham. Mrs. Eversham, who warns Mrs. Lennox never to go into the abandoned east wing or to let Louis out of her sight, has something to hide; she mysteriously disappears for days at a time and is distrusted by the local villagers. Meanwhile, Mrs. Lennox, who has a secret that makes her a potential blackmail target, thinks she hears or sees elusive figures at night in the hallway. She dares to enter the forbidden wing, where she makes a surprising discovery about the Evershams. The death of a servant and the arrival of an unexpected visitor force various secrets into the open with dire consequences. Assured prose propels this well-crafted tale of family, friendship, and the cost of personal freedom. Fans of the great Victorian novels, in particular Jane Eyre, will have fun. Agent: Karolina Sutton, Curtis Brown (U.K.).