The Telling Paperback
by Jo Baker
When Rachel sets off alone for her mother's isolated country house, she promises herself that the business of packing up and selling will only take a couple of weeks, and then she'll be home again, and back to normal.
But from the moment she steps through the front door, Rachel feels that the house contains more than she had expected: along with the memories of her mother, there is something else, a presence - not quite tangible - trying to make itself felt.
As Rachel struggles to put her mother's affairs in order, she grows ever more convinced that the house holds a message for her.
Can the ghosts of the past be nudging their way into the present, or is Rachel really beginning to lose her mind?
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 352 pages
- Publisher: Granta Books
- Publication Date: 04/05/2009
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781846271403
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Review by phoebesmum
Yet another tale of two timelines; it’s an excessively popular plot device these days. Sometimes it works pretty well. Others – here, for example – not so much.The two strands concern Rachel, a modern housewife, suffering from depression following her mother’s death but settling in to pack up her parents’ almost-unused country retreat for sale; and Lizzie, a maidservant from the mid-19th century, whose life is disrupted when her father takes in a lodger who proves to be that most dangerous thing, a Chartist. Full points to the author for getting Chartism into a romantic novel, but she doesn’t manage to make it very interesting, and the modern-day story is even less so. Nor is there anything very substantial to tie the two strands together. True confession: I read about half this book a couple of years ago, then put it down and didn’t pick it up again until the other day, when I decided to finish the thing just out of sheer bloody-mindedness. Another one for Oxfam, I fear.