The Winter Folly, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


The Winter Folly is a gripping mystery of family secrets and past sins by Lulu Taylor, author of The Snow Angel. In this house there are many secrets . . . It is 1965 and young Alexandra Crewe obediently marries the man her father has selected for her.

But very soon both she and her husband Laurence realize that their marriage is a disaster.

When real love finds Alexandra, plucking her out of her unhappy existence, she is powerless to resist.

Her home becomes Fort Stirling, a beautiful Dorset castle, but Alexandra fears that there will be a price to pay for this wonderful new life.

When tragedy strikes, it seems that her punishment has come, and there is only one way she can atone for her sins . . . In the present day, Delilah Young is the second wife of John Stirling and the new chatelaine of Fort Stirling.

The house seems to be a sad one and Delilah hopes to fill it with life and happiness.

But when she attempts to heal the heartbreak in John's life, it seems that the forces of the past might be too strong for her.

Why does John have such a hatred for the old folly on the hill, and what happened to his mother when she vanished from his life?

As Delilah searches for the truth, she realizes that perhaps some secrets are better left buried . . .


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A magazine recommendation to start the new reading year. Lulu Taylor's novel initially reminded me of <i>Rebecca</i>, as written by a chick lit author instead of Daphne Du Maurier. Lots of similarities abound - two whirlwind courtships, both wives overwhelmed by new hubby's gothic pile (or the crumbling folly in the grounds), deep, dark secrets, an ally in the form of the groundsman, and even a faithful dog - but the writing in this doesn't really capture the atmosphere of Du Maurier's classic. Fort Stirling is no Manderley, which was almost a character in its own right.Comparisons aside, once the deluge of adjectives and awkward dialogue of the first few chapters settled down, I did get quite caught up in the dark, twisted plot. Delilah and John, and his parents Nicky and Alexandra, are the type of upper middle class 'dahlings' that I always struggle to connect with, but the flashbacks to the past, alongside Delilah's new life at Fort Stirling, are for the most part stronger than the melodramatic cast. The narrative is an uneven blend of convincing emotion and motivation, alongside unlikely coincidences and Victorian plot devices. Taylor definitely does darker scenes better than romance - I had to skim through the nauseating final chapters, after everything is neatly wrapped up!Recommended, but borrow don't buy - or read <i>Rebecca</i> instead!

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