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Fiercombe Manor: A Novel
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HarperCollins 2015
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Description

Kate Riordan’s Firecombe Manor is a dual-narrative tale about two women from different eras united by the secrets hidden within an English mansion.
 
In 1933, naive twenty-two-year-old Alice—pregnant and unmarried—is in disgrace. Her mother banishes her from London to secluded Fiercombe Manor in rural Gloucestershire, where she can hide under the watchful eye of her mother’s old friend, the housekeeper Mrs. Jelphs. The manor’s owners, the Stantons, live abroad, and with her cover story of a recently-deceased husband, Alice can have her baby there before giving it up for adoption and returning home. But as she endures the long, hot summer at Fiercombe awaiting the baby’s birth, Alice senses that something is amiss with the house and its absentee owners.
 
Thirty years earlier, pregnant Lady Elizabeth Stanton desperately hopes for the heir her husband desires. Tormented by the memory of what happened after the birth of her first child, a daughter, she grows increasingly terrified that history will repeat itself, with devastating consequences.
 
After meeting Tom, the young scion of the Stanton family, Alice becomes determined to uncover the clan’s tragic past and exorcise the ghosts of this idyllic, isolated house. But nothing can prepare Alice for what she uncovers. Soon it is her turn to fear: can she escape the tragic fate of the other women who have lived in the Fiercombe valley . . .
 
“Borrowing from gothic literature staples Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Riordan creates a visceral and lively narrative that seizes the reader’s attention.” —Library Journal (Starred Review)

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
02/17/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062332967
ASIN:
B00L19WOMQ
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Kate Riordan. (2015). Fiercombe Manor: A Novel. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Kate Riordan. 2015. Fiercombe Manor: A Novel. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Kate Riordan, Fiercombe Manor: A Novel. HarperCollins, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Kate Riordan. Fiercombe Manor: A Novel. HarperCollins, 2015.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Updated:
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        Kate Riordan is a British writer and journalist who worked for the Guardian and Time Out London. She is also the author of Birdcage Walk and is already at work on her third novel. Born in London, she now lives in the Gloucestershire countryside.

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Kate Riordan’s Firecombe Manor is a dual-narrative tale about two women from different eras united by the secrets hidden within an English mansion.
 
In 1933, naive twenty-two-year-old Alice—pregnant and unmarried—is in disgrace. Her mother banishes her from London to secluded Fiercombe Manor in rural Gloucestershire, where she can hide under the watchful eye of her mother’s old friend, the housekeeper Mrs. Jelphs. The manor’s owners, the Stantons, live abroad, and with her cover story of a recently-deceased husband, Alice can have her baby there before giving it up for adoption and returning home. But as she endures the long, hot summer at Fiercombe awaiting the baby’s birth, Alice senses that something is amiss with the house and its absentee owners.
 
Thirty years earlier, pregnant Lady Elizabeth Stanton desperately hopes for the heir her husband desires. Tormented by the memory of what happened after the birth of her first child, a daughter, she grows increasingly terrified that history will repeat itself, with devastating consequences.
 
After meeting Tom, the young scion of the Stanton family, Alice becomes determined to uncover the clan’s tragic past and exorcise the ghosts of this idyllic, isolated house. But nothing can prepare Alice for what she uncovers. Soon it is her turn to fear: can she escape the tragic fate of the other women who have lived in the Fiercombe valley . . .
 
“Borrowing from gothic literature staples Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Riordan creates a visceral and lively narrative that seizes the reader’s attention.” —Library Journal (Starred Review)

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content:

        "Riordan's bewitching blend of tainted aristocrats, secretive domestics, and manipulative quacks amid a crumbling English country home is atmospheric and entertaining." — Publishers Weekly

        "Mrs. Jelphs has a touch of Mrs. Danvers about her, and the old driver, Ruck, is truly creepy. This is a good match with fans of...Diane Setterfield and Kate Morton." — Booklist

        "A prickly story full of tension." — Sunday Express (London)

        "A well executed, brooding, creepy atmosphere." — Sunday Mirror (London)

        "Full of slow-burning tension." — Essentials

        "Borrowing from gothic literature staples Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca and Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, Riordan creates a visceral and lively narrative that seizes the reader's attention. Readers...will applaud and welcome this addition." — Library Journal (starred review)

        "A sweeping saga of secrets and ghosts." — Good Housekeeping, UK

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        December 15, 2014
        Tragic events, buried secrets, and a mysterious manor tether the lives of two English women, separated by 30 years, in Riordan’s (Birdcage Walk) Gothic-style dual narrative. Beginning in 1932, narrator Alice Eveleigh, a naive 22-year-old in London, becomes romantically involved with a married man. When she becomes pregnant, Alice’s shamed parents concoct a story about a dead husband and whisk her out of the city to an old friend, a buttoned-up housekeeper at the Stanton family’s Fiercombe Manor in the Cotswolds. The novel then backs up to 1898, with the other narrator, Lady Elizabeth Stanton, expecting a second child; she hopes it is a healthy boy, an heir for her demanding husband. In 1932, Alice spends her own pregnancy exploring Fiercombe, reading Elizabeth’s hidden diary, discovering haunting old photos and discarded toys, and experiencing strange phenomena—screeching owls and “murmuring” wind. She befriends the estate’s heir, Tom Stanton, and discovers that she and Elizabeth share a bond: “My life apparently turning into a morbid echo of Elizabeth’s.” When a shocking secret is revealed, Alice fears for herself and her baby. Riordan’s bewitching blend of tainted aristocrats, secretive domestics, and manipulative quacks amid a crumbling English country home is atmospheric and entertaining.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        December 1, 2014

        In her pregnant and unmarried state, Alice is considered a disgrace and burden on her family, so she leaves bustling London for the lonely, quiet estate of Fiercombe Manor. It is 1933, and on her own, Alice is left to perform light housework and walk through the wild and (mostly) abandoned gardens. However, there is an undercurrent within the house, an echo of the past that Alice can feel pressing on her, begging to be revealed. She finds diaries from the former lady of the house, Elizabeth Stanton, which skirt around tragedies from 30 years ago and reveal that Elizabeth was also pregnant. Alice feels a kinship despite the foreboding that history may try to repeat itself. VERDICT Heavily borrowing from gothic literature staples Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca and Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Riordan (Birdcage Walk) creates a visceral and lively narrative that seizes the reader's attention. Readers of the Victorian/gothic genre who have also enjoyed Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale and other contemporary gothics will applaud and welcome this addition.--Jennifer Funk, McKendree Univ. Lib., Lebanon, IL

        Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        January 15, 2015
        A Gothic English manor in a remote valley provides the backdrop to this tale of two pregnant women living 40 years apart.Alice Eveleigh-a well-educated but romantically naive office worker in 1933 London-has found herself pregnant by a married man. Her mother worries only about what the neighbors will think, so she shuttles Alice off to Fiercombe Manor, the ancient seat of the noble Stanton family, where her mother's childhood friend, Mrs. Jelphs, is the housekeeper. There, Alice can have her baby, and give it up for adoption, without bothering anyone-or so her mother thinks. Installed at Fiercombe for the duration of an unusually hot summer, Alice grows increasingly curious about the former residents of the house, especially Elizabeth, the beautiful one-time Lady Stanton, and her last pregnancy. What happened to Elizabeth, her daughter, Isabel, and the child she carried, and why was Stanton House, the monstrous modern mansion built to replace Fiercombe, torn down after standing only 10 years? Why does Tom Stanton, the current heir to the estate, feel responsible for his brother's death 20 years before, and will his guilt affect his budding romance with Alice? "The real ghosts are the ones that take up residence in your mind," Tom says, which means that everyone at Fiercombe is haunted by something. The stern Mrs. Jelphs can't keep her secrets forever, though, and little by little, Alice uncovers the fate of Elizabeth and her daughter, a fate that Alice worries she and her own child may share. Despite reaching toward tales like Rebecca and the novels of Sarah Waters, Riordan offers a leaden version of an old story burdened by awkward flashbacks, flat characters, exposition-heavy dialogue, and a drawn-out, uninspired mystery at its heart.For true gothic thrills and chills, look elsewhere.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        January 1, 2015
        It's 1933, and Alice Everleigh is pregnant. She's not married, but her lover is, so her mother ships her off to Fiercombe Manor in rural Gloucestershire, where a childhood friend works. Mrs. Jelphs has been in service since the turn of the century, when Edward Stanton shunned the ramshackle manor and built a modern estate for his beautiful wife, Elizabeth, and the sons she was sure to bear him. Instead, their marriage was plagued by miscarriages and postpartum depression, which cut Elizabeth off from her husband and left her afraid to even confide in her diary. By the time Alice arrives, there is no trace left of Stanton Manor, Elizabeth, or her daughter. Alice's summer is peppered by visits from Thomas Stanton, the rakish heir, but more frequently by increasingly dangerous supernatural events. Alice takes refuge in Elizabeth's diary, but its writer's unknown fate has Alice questioning her own safety. Mrs. Jelphs has a touch of Mrs. Danvers about her, and the old driver, Ruck, is truly creepy. This is a good match with fans of new gothics by Diane Setterfield and Kate Morton.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription

Kate Riordan’s Firecombe Manor is a dual-narrative tale about two women from different eras united by the secrets hidden within an English mansion.
 
In 1933, naive twenty-two-year-old Alice—pregnant and unmarried—is in disgrace. Her mother banishes her from London to secluded Fiercombe Manor in rural Gloucestershire, where she can hide under the watchful eye of her mother’s old friend, the housekeeper Mrs. Jelphs. The manor’s owners, the Stantons, live abroad, and with her cover story of a recently-deceased husband, Alice can have her baby there before giving it up for adoption and returning home. But as she endures the long, hot summer at Fiercombe awaiting the baby’s birth, Alice senses that something is amiss with the house and its absentee owners.
 
Thirty years earlier, pregnant Lady Elizabeth Stanton desperately hopes for the heir her husband desires. Tormented by the memory of what...

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