“Hannah Brown never thought she’d have a best friend like Ellen Brecht. Ellen is everything she isn’t – beautiful, daring, glamorous and fierce. Growing up together in rural Cornwall, life seems perfect. But their idyllic childhood is shattered by obsession, betrayal and, ultimately tragedy.
Hannah has tried for twenty years to forget what happened during that terrible summer. Then, one ordinary morning at work, she glimpses a woman who is identical to Ellen. Can it really be her? And has Ellen returned to forgive her – or to punish her?”
I picked this up at my local charity shop, and had no idea what it was going to be like. The book it written in the present day when Hannah is an adult suffering from anxiety and possible hallucinations. When she sees her childhood friend at the museum where she works she completely freaks out – Ellen has been dead for 20 years! The book switches between present day Hannah and Hanna’s story as a child, so that as the story progresses in the future, your knowledge of her past is filled in.
I love the childhood story line, and how it revolves completely around the girl’s friendship and how Hannah’s life and other relationships with her parents and friend Jago are effected by it. To begin with, the friendship is happy and carefree, but everything goes downhill when Ellen’s mother dies and her father is left heartbroken and slightly mad. I also think it’s great how this intertwines with the adult story line as it shows the effects of past events on the grown Hannah’s life. The writing style was elegant but not over-complicated and the story was very well presented.
I only realized about halfway through that this book could be compared against Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre as the house the Brecht’s live in is called Thornfield. I’ve been playing around with the characters in my mind to try and make links between them and as far as I can tell there are several links (in particular Mr Brecht’s different personalities can be linked with Bertha Mason but also Mr Rochester). If you read this, I’d love to know what you think about this!
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes, well, reading as I’m not really sure how to class this as a genre. There was a bit of romance, some scary and exciting bits, and an element of adventure too.