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 grandmother’s funeral, Marta discovers that she is to be sent to be governess at Fyneshade, her charge the young daughter of the owner, Sir William Pritchard.
All is not well at Fyneshade. Sir William is mysteriously absent, and his son and heir Vaughan is forbidden to enter the house. Marta finds herself drawn to him, despite the warnings of the housekeeper that Vaughan 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. It will take more than a family riven by murderous secrets to stop her…
Hi and welcome to my review of Fyneshade!
Oh my giddy aunt, what a glorious GLORIOUS story! Seriously, I’m having a hard time convincing myself Fyneshade was not in fact written just for me, it’s just so up my street it’s pretty much on my doorstep with one foot already inside.
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier is my favourite classic, and when it comes to gothic literature, for me it’s the one to beat. In terms of atmosphere and vibe, Fyneshade is definitely its equal. I kid you not, Fyneshade is the Manderley of the 21st century. Trust me, I’ve read my way through a boatload of books in recent years, searching for exactly this type of gothic literature, and I felt let down on multiple occasions, but Kate Griffin 100% nailed it. Actually, though, it was another classic that inspired this magnificently brooding little tale, one I’ve been meaning to read for ages and have now put at the top of my list: The Turn of the Screw.
Besides the setting and the vibe, I also adored Marta, the protagonist and the type of morally grey character that you can’t help but simultaneously admire and loathe to a certain degree. Marta is tough as nails, self-assured and witchy in a wicked sort of way, which is just so much fun. She acts demurely in the presence of some and quite audaciously in the company of others. But she’s also manipulative and, frankly, a bit of a selfish cow, and I didn’t appreciate how she sometimes handles her charge, young Grace, who, I would assume, has Down Syndrome. Ah but don’t I just love it when characters keep me on my toes!
Fyneshade is absolute gothic perfection and I gobbled it up like a woman starving. I preordered the hardcover the second I finished reading the ARC. I can already see the hype coming, and while I feel some books are so overhyped they’re set up for failure, this one can’t be overhyped, as far as I’m concerned. I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys gothic historical fiction.
Fyneshade is out in hardcover, digital formats and audio on 18 May, with the paperback to follow next year.
Massive thanks to Viper Books and NetGalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own.