Told in a first-person narrative — my favourite not only because of its immediacy but because I know the narrator lives to tell the tale (so I can relax) — it is the story of a country doctor who becomes involved in the lives of a land-owning family in postwar England, and the mansion that is falling down around them in spite of their struggles to maintain it. There is a ghost, a nasty one ... or is there? You'll be wondering, as I was, right till the end.
When I read the last sentence late last night, turned off the lamp in the living room, and made my way in the shadowy glare of the yardlight shining through the front window and then down the hallway to our bed, it was with a little shiver and a gladness that I wasn't alone in the house. Had I been, I wouldn't have dared read this book.
It's the kind that is so beautifully, masterfully written that it stays with you even after you've turned the last page. You lie in bed and think about it, or I did anyway. I bet it's one I'll never forget.
Here's a review in The Telegraph should you be interested in plot and themes.
Me, I'll be on the lookout for other books by this writer.
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Lorna: I make six loaves, slice off a hot crust as soon as it's out of the oven and slather it with butter, and freeze the remaining five. Here's the recipe for the kind I make regularly: SUNFLOWER BREAD.