“A strange encounter
Neve comes across a troubled woman called Isabelle on Waterloo Bridge late one night. Isabelle forces a parcel into Neve’s hands and jumps to her death in the icy Thames below.
An unexpected gift
Two weeks later, as Neve’s wreck of a life in London collapses, an unexpected lifeline falls into her lap – a charming cottage in Cornwall left to her by Isabelle, the woman on the bridge. The solution to all her problems.
A twisted secret
But when Neve arrives, alone in the dark woods late one night, she finds a sinister-looking bungalow with bars across its windows. And her dream home quickly becomes her worst nightmare – a house hiding a twisted secret that will change her life forever…”
Been rather busy of late with numerous things in the real world so not had much time to spend writing in the virtual one. Reading time has been a little limited too, which is why it took me so long to read “In A Cottage In A Wood” – the second adult novel by author and journalist Cass Green. The quote of the front cover reads that the book is “…a genuine page-turner…” and despite the length of time I took over it I wouldn’t disagree with that assessment at all.
The start of the story introduces us to central character Neve Carey – a young woman struggling with life, having to live with her sister and family after a relationship breakdown, spending too much time intoxicated and trying to make ends meet financially. After one particular awkward encounter she is making her way across London when she meets Isabelle Shawcross on Waterloo Bridge. The pair have a brief conversation before Isabelle gives Neve an envelope before promptly throwing herself off the bridge to her death.
Weeks later Neve – who’d dropped the envelope when calling the emergency services on the bridge – as stunned to discover that the woman she met so fleetingly that fateful night has left her cottage to Neve. With money fast running out and her job about to do the same Neve makes the impulsive decision to head off to Cornwall to check out her inheritance.
What she finds is a million miles away from the romantic image she had in her head, the cottage is in a mess and boasts not just four locks on the front door but also bars on the windows. Just what has she let herself in for? Unable to return to London, having practically burned all of her bridges, she tries to make the best of things but quickly becomes increasingly unnerved by mysterious happenings and finds that she has to dig into Isabelle’s story to try to unlock the secrets of her life and those of the cottage.
The story did feel like it dragged a little in places, and for a while I really couldn’t see where the narrative was going or, to be honest, quite what the point of Neve’s investigations were. Once the very cleverly hidden twist came about, however, it all made perfect sense! The final twist involving the neighbouring family seemed a bit like an afterthought initially but does fit in with the whole story, even if the ending isn’t quite as strong as the rest of the book.