I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour today for The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde, written by Eve Chase and published by Michael Joseph. Many thanks also to Gaby Young of Michael Joseph and Penguin Random House for arranging the blog tour.
From the present day . . .
Applecote Manor captivates Jessie with it promise of hazy summers in the Cotswolds. She believes it’s the perfect escape for her troubled family. But the house has an unsettling history, and strange rumours surround the estate.
To the fifties . . .
When teenage Margot and her three sisters arrive at Applecote during the heatwave of ’59, they find their aunt and uncle still reeling from the disappearance of their daughter, Audrey, five years before.
The sisters are drawn into the mystery of Audrey’s vanishing – until the stifling summer takes a shocking, deadly turn. Will one unthinkable choice bind them together, or tear them apart?
Step back in time for a richly evocative mystery, where the beauty of a Cotswolds summer is vividly contrasted with the violence which shatters it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Eve Chase always wanted to write about families – ones that go wrong but somehow survive – and big old houses, where secrets and untold stories seed in the crumbling stone walls. Growing up with three brothers, she particularly loved creating the four Wilde sisters in this novel, a spirited sisterhood that felt like her own.
Eve Chase is married with three children and lives in Oxford.
MY REVIEW: I would like to thank Eve Chase, Gaby Young, Michael Joesph and Penguin Random House for allowing me the opportunity to read an ARC of The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde prior to taking part and being a stop on the blog tour. I can confirm that I chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and are completely unbiased.
Let me start this review by saying The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde is a stunning, elegant, delicate and beautiful story and is a novel I don’t think I can ever EVER give enough justice to in any review I write. I have selected 5* wherever I’ve left a review and in my eyes it just isn’t enough.
They say the best books are the ones you a) cannot put down and b) the ones that remain with you forever. The way I am feeling right now as I close the final page, The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde is most certainly one of the best books I have ever read as it falls into both of these categories.
Alternating between the 1950s and the present day, I was presented with two separate families who share similarities due to sad and harrowing events that occur within their lives before, during and after living at Applecote Manor (a house I would love to live in, it sounds so perfect, despite its many secrets)! The present and past collide beautifully depicting the struggle when faced with the darker side to a family’s history.
This is the first novel by Eve Chase that I have read and all I can say is what a phenomenal author. Her writing is just stunningly exquisite and beautifully crafted, and through this, she used her talent to transport me to the 1950s and back again to the present day. Her writing is just so in depth, I was there … oh I was soooooo there, feeling every emotion and living the lives of each of her characters, which I felt were 100% true and genuine. I really believed every single one and sometimes, I actually believed that I was one of them.
Here’s a toast to The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde – a book I can officially say I am in love with!!
FEATURED AUTHOR Q&A:
I am very lucky to be interviewing Eve Chase today as part of my blog tour stop for The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde.
Today I am very lucky to be interviewing Eve Chase.
Hi Eve, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? My second Eve Chase novel comes out on July 13th – The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde. It’s a time-slip tale of sisters and secrets, reaching from the heatwave of 1959 to today. It’s been getting some great reviews – Kate Morton has called it ‘enthralling’; Lisa Jewell, ‘The most beautiful book you will read this year.’
What are your ambitions for your writing career? To be read by as many people as possible – like every other author! I also want to write brilliant books, obviously.
So, what have you written? Black Rabbit Hall, and my new novel, The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde.
What is your most recent novel? The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? My main character, Margot, is a teenager when we first meet her. She’s an unusual girl – known fondly as ‘Strange Margot’ by her three sisters – but loving, loyal and utterly determined to find out what happened to her beloved cousin, Audrey, who vanished five years before.
What genre are your books? That’s one for the publishers really. I don’t sweat over it – I just write the story. In the end, I think The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde is probably best summarised as book club fiction, literary but accessible.
What draws you to this genre? It’s wide! But I read across all genres – a cracking book is a cracking book, irrespective of its genre, or jacket.
When did you decide to become a writer? As soon as I could write. So very young. I still have the terrible early poems and short stories to prove it!
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? I try to sit down at my desk as soon as my three children have gone to school, and work before they riotously barrel home. In reality, deadlines and distractions dictate that I often have to go back to my laptop after the kids have gone to bed.
Do you aim for a set number of words/pages per day? When I’m in full flow writing a book, 1000 words is a minimum really. A good day is 2500. But I spend a ridiculous amount of time rewriting and cutting so sometimes it feels like I’m going backwards. I probably cut thirty thousand words from The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde. It hurt at the time but it’s a much better novel for it.
Where do your ideas come from? Sometimes they just pop up while I’m doing other things. Other times I have to work at it, trawling through newspaper cuttings I’ve saved, ideas lists and online bookmarks. The former ideas are usually the best.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you? I know how a book will start and end, and how its characters will behave. As my fiction is character led this means I’ve got something to hold on to but it’s still a bit of a bumpy ride. I’d love to be one of those writers who have everything plotted out beforehand but my brain doesn’t work like that. I get my best plot ideas while in the process of writing.
How long on average does it take you to write a book? Eighteen months.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? I’ve been writing fiction and journalism since I left university – I studied English Lit – so it’s part of me, and I can’t imagine life without writing. Annoyingly, this doesn’t mean I find it at all easy – just inevitable.
Do you read much and if so which writers inspire you? I read a lot, although less when I’m in the intense writing stages – I can only concentrate on plant catalogues then. I go through slightly obsessive literary crushes. My recent ones have been Elena Ferrante, Hilary Mantel and Kate Atkinson. I also hugely enjoyed Sarah Vaughan’s Anatomy of a Scandal (out next year, I got my hands on a proof) and Emma Flint’s Little Deaths.
What is your favourite book and why? I always struggle to answer this question. But the book that’s had the biggest effect on me – my life and my writing – would be Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl. I read it young, and I felt like she was whispering in my ear – it was the first time I’d experienced that sense of complete complicity between writer and reader. I couldn’t believe she wasn’t alive.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I’d love to have her ear for dialogue and that lemon-sharp wit. And I’d love to be her – just for a few weeks.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Write, write, write! There is no other way. Without the raw materials, you can’t get anywhere near the next stage. Literary dreams are built from words – and graft.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? Philip Pullman was my English teacher at middle school for a bit. Lucky me.
BLOG TOUR DETAILS:
If you would like to follow The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde Blog Tour, you can do so at the following dates:
Amazon UK: click here