"an intriguing Gothic story"
Orphaned at an early age, Laura Morgan is brought up by
her Aunt Mary and Uncle Clive, who is the Rector. When
Madeline comes into the family, Laura's life changes.
Even at a young age, Madeline is beautiful and precocious
but with her love of life, also comes a subtle cruelty and
cold-heartedness. Plain Laura cannot hope to compete with
her, but loves her cousin regardless.
Determined to rise above her station, Madeline ensnares
the heart of the elderly Lord Braithfield and goes to live
at Silverthorn with him. Only Laura knows the truth --
that Madeline had many lovers before her marriage, and was
now pregnant to a gypsy. But she'd covered her tracks
well by marrying and producing a "premature" baby. Her
husband dies not long after.
All is not well, as the scarce letters first tell of
happiness with her new station, then fear that she is
going to be killed. Then the unbelievable happens --
Madeline is found dead at the foot of the Tower.
Determined to reveal the truth, Laura disguises herself as
Ann Woodville, and hires on as governess to Madeline's
orphaned daughter and her step-nephew's two children.
There is more going on at Silverthorn than Laura could
ever have guessed. Justin Braithfield, Madeline's step-
nephew, is the most obvious suspect. He inherited
Silverthorn when Madeline's husband, Lord Braithfield,
died. Then there is Vincent, Madeline's lover, and also
Justin's dead wife, Danielle's lover. And who can help
but suspect Brett Ashton, who bought all of Madeline's
auctioned goods and kept them as a shrine in his home?
What of the gypsy man found dead not far from Silverthorn?
Lillian is the wild card thrown in. A cousin to Justin,
she was widowed at an early age, with her baby born dead
two days after her husband died. It is whispered that she
inherited the Braithfield 'madness' and her actions give
proof to this.
Where can Laura turn, especially when the man she has
fallen in love with, Justin Braithfield himself, marries
the lovely Olivia, who in turn disappears? And it seems
the charming Vincent has been a lover of Olivia's, too.
It is obvious more is known, but the housekeeper, Mrs
Simmons, isn't breathing a word.
Set against the breathtaking backdrop of Silverthorn, this
book weaves an intriguing story of murder, love and
betrayal. If you want a good mystery, then this is the
book to read. I was unable to put it down until I reached
the end. Joanna Challis has truly mastered the art of
romantic suspense. If you enjoy Victoria Holt's novels,
you'll love Joanna Challis's "Silverthorn".
Reviewed for PNR Reviews by
Angela Verdenius, Author
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted June 6, 2003