#BookReview: Fyneshade by Kate Griffin @ViperBooks #Fyneshade #BookTwitter #damppebbles

Many would find much to fear in Fyneshade’s dark and crumbling corridors, its unseen master and silent servants. But not I. For they have far more to fear from me…

On the day of her beloved grandmother’s funeral, Marta discovers that she is to become governess to the young daughter of Sir William Pritchard. Separated from her lover and discarded by her family, Marta has no choice but to journey to Pritchard’s ancient and crumbling house, Fyneshade, in the wilds of Derbyshire.

All is not well at Fyneshade. Marta’s pupil, little Grace, can be taught nothing, and Marta takes no comfort from the silent servants who will not meet her eye. More intriguing is that Sir William is mysteriously absent, and his son and heir Vaughan is forbidden to enter the house. Marta finds herself drawn to Vaughan, despite the warnings of the housekeeper that he is a danger to all around him. But Marta is no innocent to be preyed upon. Guided by the dark gift taught to her by her grandmother, she has made her own plans. And it will take more than a family riven by murderous secrets to stop her…

Perfect for readers of Laura Purcell, Jessie Burton and Stacey Halls, Fyneshade is a dark and twisted gothic novel unlike any you’ve read before…”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of Fyneshade by Kate Griffin. Fyneshade is published by Viper Books today (that’s Thursday 18th May 2023) and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow next year. I chose to read a free ARC of Fyneshade but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Rosie at Viper Books for sending me a proof copy.

I do love a spot of gothic fiction, but in truth I don’t read anywhere near enough of it. There’s something about a creepy house with a cast of mysterious, untrustworthy characters that always appeals. Locked rooms and hidden passages with secrets galore waiting to be discovered! So when I first saw Fyneshade, with its striking cover and intriguing blurb, it grabbed my attention with two ancient, gnarled hands. Oh, and who can ignore that gorgeously unnerving tagline ‘In a place where many fear to tread, She is the greatest threat of all…’. There was no way I was going to let this book pass me by!

Marta and her beloved grandmother have always been close, with dear Grandmere teaching Marta many dark secrets before she left this life. On the day of Grandmere’s funeral, Marta discovers that she’s being sent north to Derbyshire and Fyneshade to act as Governess to Sir William Pritchard’s daughter. On arrival, Fyneshade and its residents are nothing like what Marta expected. Her charge, Grace, is uncommunicative and spends all of her time drawing. The servants are just as silent as Grace, hardly ever meeting Marta’s eye. And Sir William’s absence is impossible to ignore. When Vaughan Pritchard, son and heir returns to the manor, Marta is quickly informed that he is dangerous. Vaughan is forbidden to enter the house and she’s instructed to keep away from him at all times. Which makes him all the more interesting to someone like Marta! Using the dark gift her Grandmere taught her, Marta intends to discover the secrets the crumbling house keeps behind its locked doors and secret passageways. She knows exactly what she wants and she’ll do whatever it takes to get it…

Fyneshade is a work of art. Its imagery and intense sense of foreboding far surpasses any other gothic novel I have read in recent years. Marta is everything I was hoping for in a lead character. She’s intelligent, cunning, manipulative and will do whatever it takes to get what she wants. After all, her Grandmere taught her well. What Marta expects before her arrival in Derbyshire and what she actually gets are two very different things indeed. But that won’t stop her from rising to the top! Marta very much looks down on the other characters in the book and her sense of superiority will not appeal to some readers. But I believe that’s exactly what the author wants. You’re not supposed to like this deceitful, malevolent, self absorbed woman. She’s been plotting and planning since her arrival at Fyneshade, using everything within her power to succeed. So when things take an unexpected turn, like me, you may find yourself stifling a small smile as Marta gets her comeuppance. To be fair, there aren’t many characters to like within the pages of this book but they all play their parts beautifully and bring the story together to an unexpected conclusion.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. Fyneshade is a very well-written gothic novel which held my attention from the first word to the very last. The characters are sublime (if not the most likeable). The setting is eerie and vivid, allowing the reader to paint a clear and somewhat chilling picture of Fyneshade in their mind. And as Marta begins to discover the family secrets, the tension and the suspense build beautifully. The pace of the novel is perfect, slowly drawing the reader into this strange world and I couldn’t get enough! I thoroughly enjoyed the way the author twisted the story so that Marta was on the back foot. It was done so incredibly well that I couldn’t help but feel a smidge sorry for her. All in all, a credit to the author and the genre. Fascinating characters in a divine setting with a unsettling story to tell. Recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of Fyneshade. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Fyneshade by Kate Griffin was published in the UK by Viper Books on 18th May 2023 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesFoylesbookshop.orgGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shopdamppebbles amazon.co.uk shopdamppebbles amazon.com shop |

Kate Griffin was born within the sound of Bow bells, making her a true-born cockney. She has worked as an assistant to an antiques dealer, a journalist for local newspapers and now works for The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders, Kate’s first book, won the Stylist/Faber crime writing competition. Kate lives in St Albans.

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