From Publishers Weekly
Estranged sisters Ginny and Vivien Stone reunite after 50 years, releasing a flood of painful memories in Stone's eerie, accomplished debut. Ginny and her younger sister Vivien lead an idyllic childhood in West Dorset, England, until Vivien nearly dies in an accident (the aftermath of which takes decades to unravel) when Ginny is 11 and Vivien is eight. Later, after the pair is expelled from school, a 15-year-old Vivien moves to London, and Ginny stays behind, covering up her mother Maud's alcoholism while trying to assist her father, Clive, with his research on moths and butterflies. After Maud's death and Clive's subsequent dementia, Ginny lives alone in the massive house, a brilliant but increasingly reclusive scientist whose insular world is cracked open when Vivien announces her desire to return and live out her days with Ginny. Long-buried secrets float to the surface as Ginny narrates with scientific precision her life's slow disintegration. Though the lepidopterological jargon and asides can slow things down, Adams expertly captures Ginny's voice and the dynamics of a deeply troubled family as the book barrels toward its chilling conclusion. (June)
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This suspenseful first novel is set in a crumbling Dorset mansion and features two aging sisters, reunited after a separation of nearly fifty years. Virginia is the sensible older sister who stayed, carrying on the family tradition of lepidopterology, while the reckless and free-spirited Vivien left to lead a cosmopolitan life in London. The story, told from Virginias eerily limited perspective, involves their parents descent into sadistic and capricious behavior, an accident in Viviens youth that left her unable to have children, and a plan that she had for her husband to impregnate Virginia instead. Adams creates an engrossing atmosphere of gothic mystery, but many of the psychological dramas come to feel like set pieces rather than like genuine conflicts.
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