Le Chateau (Sarah Ridout, Echo Publishing)
In Le Chateau, Charlotte de Chastenet awakens from a coma with no memory of her husband Henri, her daughter Ada, her overbearing mother-in-law The Madame, or her luscious life in the French countryside. She also has no memory of the accident that stole her past, or the looming darkness that is always present in the shadows of the Chateau. With this debut novel, Sarah Ridout deftly draws the reader into a world of confusion and delusion, of someone who is trying to remember a lost life. Some aspects feel slightly forced and not sufficiently fleshed out, causing the reader to question if they missed important plot points in this story of twists and turns, while the ending, although satisfying, does feel rushed. Ridout’s strength lies in her ability to make the Chateau a character of its own—a sinister, ever-present force with winding staircases, hidden rooms and creaking attics filled with forgotten memories. Le Chateau is a gothic, creeping and twisting mystery that will appeal to readers of Kate Morton.
Kate Frawley is the manager of the Sun Bookshop