Boring. Elizabeth Can Hardly Accept That Her Brother James Committed Suicide, So When Her Sister Kitty Dies Too, It Is Than She Can Comprehend As She Wanders The Large Family Mansion Of Her Childhood A Haunting Place Of Mystery, Wonder And Opulence The Memories Of An Apparently Idyllic But Secretly Threatening Past Will Not Let Her Go Story about children in the big house It s nice and playful and gives typical atmospheres from childhood Subtly it also addresses issues the aristocracy was dealing with, like losing their estate dur to stamp duty etc. Her debut novel I think A good read but nothing startling. This first person narrative revolves around the childhood reminiscences of Elizabeth who loses both a brother and sister in the span of a few months It s like the story begins in the middle. This is a short, slight book, with not a lot going on It basically describes a time and a place There is a book ending device, which lets us know what happens in their 20s to the 3 central child characters we read about in between, and to the house which is the setting of the book, but that adds less than it could have done I could have done without that, and with a bit joined up plot in the middle.It s apparently an autobiographical novel, and at times it reads like a memoir of anecdotes There is a lack of cohesion which would have added depth.What is brilliantly done, is the depiction of the inner life of an imaginative six year old Her upbringing is unusual in life, less so in literature She s the child of a large aristocratic Catholic family in a Scotland manor house in the 1970s There are nature, wildness, servants, chapel, nursery teas, shootin fishin , corporal punishment, a cold mother, an alcoholic father, and glamorous adult social events viewed through the banisters So exactly what you d expect There are the hints of ghosts, too, but no details There s an accident with an air rifle which any responsible adult could have seen coming a mile off All in all, Helena McEwen does a good job at describing a childhood I could have imagined for myself, which would have done better being the setting background to an actual story, rather than the entire contents of a novel all on its own. I honestly think there was no point to this book It took me forever to get into, the beginning was hard to follow and didn t provide enough context I understand it was MEANT to draw in the reader but it was just confusing By the time I figured out what was going on, I was bored, as nothing really had happened The rest of the book was ok Mildly interesting plot if at all, and unremarkable, and pointless, like I said Blah.