After starting to watch the new drama on ITV recently (Marchlands) and really enjoying it too, my mother in law said she had been reading a new book that seemed to follow the same sort of storyline, but was in her opinion much better, I was quite happy to take her word on it as she has yet to steer me wrong.
The book in question is - "Winter's children by Leah Fleming".
The synopsis starts on Christmas eve 2000 in Sutton Coldfield (the first good point as this is not far from me, I love locally themed books!), with Kay and her young daughter Evie (Geneva), finishing of decorating there tree and waiting for the man of the house to return from work, though when the police arrive on the doorstep there is of course trouble ahead........
Nik and his mother Nora Snowden have a real pig of a year. Being sixth generation farmers and living in the house that has been passed down through the family for generations, the farm has been brought to it's knee's with foot and mouth disease, with Wintergill being one of the unfortunate losers, having the entire stock of animals culled to combat this disease.
Nik and Nora have lived a lonely existence for many years, with a tragedy that happened many years before seeming to spoil their relationship, though this may not be entirely Nora's fault as she has always believed.
A recent development on the farm site of an old barn into rented accommodation for visitors seems to be the only thing to keep there heads above water, with the strange coincidence being that Kay and her young daughter feel the need to escape the past Christmas, and seem t be drawn to the farm, though for what reason?
This book had me hooked from the start, tough takes a little getting used to reading wise.
My mother in law had said the reason she said this book was so similar to the afore mentioned television drama was due to how the story jumps from present time, back to previous times and owners, though after you have got used to the format you can tell when a jump is about to happen.
There are many layers to this story with the obvious torment of Nora, losing a child of her own, though the circumstances are kept very quite about until the revealing point at the end of the book, this is how it is with many of the mysteries within this book, and not one's you feel you would be able to second guess either.
There are many other deaths within the book too, though these range from the suicide of Nik's friend due to losing his fortune due to the foot and mouth crises (though he was not an integral character in the book, so have no problem revealing that about said character), through to near misses throughout the history of the house itself, and all happening in mysterious circumstances, an all end up coming back to the so called "lady in white" that Nik has been seeing since his childhood, and surprisingly so now can Evie, and she really feels drawn to this lady, not a good thing!
This book really does have everything you could want in a good drama book, mystery, murder and plenty of ghostly apparitions, what more could you want!
The book is told from the third person perspective, this is a given as each chapter doesn't contains any of the characters featured in the previous chapter, flipping from the 1600 through to 2001, with the time of Cromwell being the pivotal point, and due to the time period (Christmas time), the story takes on a sinister feeling when it is sanctioned that Cromwell believes Christmas should not be celebrated, with any who indulge in such frivolities being suitably punished, even high up in the secluded Yorkshire dales, as they are.
Christmas is obviously the pivotal time for this story, though doesn't at anytime make this feel an unseasonable read as some books might, this is truly a fantastic read, that interspersed with recipes of old fashioned foods and paragraphs of the resident "ghosts" and the original owner of the house "lady Hepzibah", makes this is a really interesting and at times heart stopping read, recommended!
Price wise this is available from - www.amazon.co.uk for the of £6.99.
Thanks for reading x