Having discovered the joys of reading at a very early age, Melanie Gifford always knew that when she was grown up she would be a writer. However, unable to wait that long, she completed her first novel in her early teens, Careers in journalism and publishing, as well as travels through Europe, Africa and America, only fuelled her passion for fiction and she continued to write copiously in her spare time. The award of a writerâ€™s bursary allowed her to concentrate on becoming a full-time author. After spending much of her life in the south of England, she currently lives in Scotland with her partner and two cats.
An 18th century rural backdrop with an inspiring middle-class family bent on acquiring wealth by the marriage of a beautiful daughter results in sibling jealousy, not unusual in an historical novel. But then the tale turns into a very dark love story until it turns again into a twisted tale of mistaken identity. The reader is repeatedly surprised by the many twists throughout this exceptional novel. As soon as you realise where it is all going, it veers off somewhere else. As a novel it doesnâ€™t obey patterns and as an historical novel, it is amazing. Very highly recommended.Similar this month: None but try Christie Dickason.Comparison: Sarah Waters, Emma Donoghue, James Morrow .