“We know more about the air we breathe, the seas we travel, than about the nature and meaning of motherhood” –Adrienne Rich, 1976, Of Woman Born
The Isle of Arran—one of my favorite places in Scotland—is the home of three generations of mothers and daughters in Linda Huber’s new psychological thriller, The Attic Room. The first time I visited Arran (with my own daughter), I thought it was pure magic. So I’m thrilled to welcome Linda to my blog and my review of The Attic Room follows below.
The Attic Room by Linda Huber
A father’s secret. A mother’s lie. A family mystery
An unexpected phone call – and Nina’s life takes a disturbing twist. Who is John Moore? And how does he know her name? Nina travels south to see the house she inherited, but sinister letters arrive and she finds herself in the middle of a police investigation. With her identity called into question, Nina uncovers a shocking crime. But what, exactly, happened in the attic room, all those years ago? The answer could lie close to home. The arrival of her ten-year-old daughter compounds Nina’s problems, but her tormentor strikes before she can react. Searching for the truth about the Moore family puts both Nina and her child into grave danger. A fast-moving, chilling suspense novel by the author of The Cold Cold Sea and The Paradise Trees.
For Nina Moore, Arran means home and family and sanctuary. None of those things, however, includes a father. Three generations of Moore women—Nina, her mother Claire, and her daughter Naomi—have been living peacefully on Arran, a tight-knit circle of love and protection. All that is shattered when Claire is killed in a tragic accident.
Told in alternating chapters from Claire’s point of view and Nina’s first puzzling and then horrifying discoveries, we slowly learn that there are secrets in Nina’s past, both the secrets that Claire knew and the ones that Nina doesn’t realize she herself holds. When Nina receives a legacy from an unknown relative, she feels betrayed by the beloved mother who hid her secrets. But she’s also thrilled that her world might include more family members just as she feels most alone. As she attempts to unravel the puzzles surrounding her inheritance of an old house and especially its mysteriously familiar attic room, Nina begins to realize that the past her mother never told her about might threaten everything she loves. She tries to cope by being “supermum”, providing everything for daughter Naomi. But with little else to spare, she is determined to reject her growing attraction for Sam Harrison, the attorney handling the legacy.
In The Attic Room, author Linda Huber continues her exploration of the bonds between mother and daughter, as well as the tragic results when parent-child relationships fail. Through the flashbacks from Claire’s point of view, and the present-day developments in Nina’s life, we see the strength that comes from the unwavering love between mother and daughter. But as strong and as vibrant as that bond is, there is still something missing. There are no fathers. Nina’s father, she believes, died when she was a baby in London while her daughter’s father has a new family in South Africa—both places a world away from Arran. The affection and support offered by Sam are unsettling, mysterious, and ultimately unwelcome. “Help. She would have to be careful; there was no space in her head for a lovesick lawyer, even if he was ‘nice’.”
The Attic Room is both a thriller with a romantic thread, and a dark exploration of horrific themes. Linda Huber builds tension brilliantly, with a steady pace that moves ever-faster even as the topic grows darker. As a parent myself, that ultimate betrayal of the parent/child bond is incredibly difficult to face. But the backstory provided by Claire’s memories, interspersed with the growing threat to Nina and Naomi, were perfectly paced to keep me on the edge of my seat, and definitely turning those pages. The Attic Room is a confidently written, beautifully paced psychological thriller that satisfies as a story even as it challenges the reader with difficult themes. I wouldn’t hesitate to give it five stars out of five.
Mark your calendars! On Sunday, 20 September, Author Linda Huber joins me for coffee and conversation about mothers and daughters. Bring your favorite beverage and join us.
*I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*
- Book Title: The Attic Room
- Author: Linda Huber
- Genre: Psychological thriller
- Publisher: Amazon Media Eu (22 July 2015)
- Length: 310 pages
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