This novel by Sarah Bryant is best described as a Gothic romance/horror story, interleaved with the American South setting in Louisiana and piano music it is an unusual mixture which produces quite a page-turner. I admit to finding the two sisters Eve and Elizabeth confusing at times but that did not interfere with my enjoyment of the story.
By the end of the book I was still unsure which sister was which. The description of the two houses, Eden and the house on the hill, are luscious. My one quibble is that I found the characters oddly difficult to place in time. The prologue about the two sisters is dated 1905 which means the following story about Eleanor is set in the 1920s, but it seems more 19th century to me. Maybe that’s down to the old-fashioned Louisiana setting. I don’t think the cover of my edition helped that confusion, the style is oddly similar to Philippa Gregory. But don’t let my doubts put you off reading what is a rollicking Gothic mystery complete with faintings, dreams, symbolism, mysterious foreign men and beautiful piano music.
If you like this, try:-
‘Summertime’ by Vanessa Lafaye
‘Barkskins’ by Annie Proulx
‘Housekeeping’ by Marilynne Robinson
‘The Other Eden’ by Sarah Bryant [UK: Snowbooks]
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
THE OTHER EDEN by @Sarah_Bryant_C #books via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-px