Originally published: 28 April 2022
Author: Eve Chase
Published by: Michael Joseph
Length: 400 pages
Reading dates: 7-11 May 2022
Lauren, Kat and Flora are half-sisters who share a famous artist father – and a terrible secret.
After years of drifting apart, they are unexpectedly summoned to Rock Point, the cliff house where they once sat for their father’s most celebrated painting, Girls and Birdcage.
Rock Point is a beautiful, windswept place, thick with secrets and electrically charged with the catastrophic events of a summer twenty years before. The day of the total solar eclipse.
It’s the first time they’ve dared return.
In December 2019, we meet half sisters, Lauren, Kat and Flora as they are summoned to their father’s home, Rock Point on the Cornish coast. We quite quickly get a sense of the women’s personalities – Kat is a high powered and efficient business woman, Flora is a mum who loves her young son dearly but isn’t happy and Lauren is the fragile one, having recently lost her mother.
We quickly learn that something bad happened back in 1999, the year of the solar eclipse – something that is never spoken of. We only hear about the past from Lauren and we hear how she never felt like she fitted in with her slightly older and glamorous sisters, having only been introduced to the family a couple of years earlier. She does however adore her enigmatic and creative father and it is in 1999, he paints his most celebrated painting of his three daughters together.
Although I actually guessed the mystery (at least partly) quite early one, this didn’t spoil the reading experience at all. I found the descriptions of the summer of 1999 nostalgic and I could well imagine what an amazing time the girls would have staying with their dad and grandparents in a grand old house in Cornwall, with the freedom to swim in the sea and explore the countryside, but I completely felt Lauren’s insecurities as well.
When the women return to the house in 2019 it is winter and the house, which has mostly sat empty in recent years has a much more gothic feel with dark corners and squeaky floorboards.
The pacing of the story worked well – it took a long time for us to find out what happened that summer but I was still completely engrossed in the mystery and was quite happy with all the strands of the story which kept me wanting to keep reading about these three women.
I enjoyed The Glass House back in 2020 so was keen to read The Birdcage and it didn’t disappoint. A well crafted character driven mystery, looking at the often complicated relationships between families, with suspense throughout.
Thank you to Kallie and Michael Joseph for inviting me on the tour sending me a finished copy of the books. Take a look at the other great bloggers talking about this book below.
About the author:
Eve Chase writes rich, page-turning mysteries set in beautiful places, thick with secrets. The Glass House was a Sunday Times bestseller, Richard and Judy Book Club pick and word-of-mouth lockdown hit. Longlisted for the HWA Gold Crown award 2018, The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde went on to become an Amazon bestseller. In 2019, Black Rabbit Hall won the Saint-Maur en Poche prize in Paris for Best Foreign Fiction and also went on to be an Amazon bestseller. Before writing novels, Eve worked as a journalist in magazines and newspapers. Married with three children, she lives in Oxford, alongside a very hairy golden retriever called Harry.