by Nicola Thorne
Not long ago I read my first book by this gifted author; click here for my review of Coppitts Green. Much of what I said there is also true for Hammersleigh.
The story is set in Yorkshire, in a fictitious dale with everything you'd expect: a small village with some lone houses and farms dotted at its outskirts, and a big house complete with the ruins of a priory in its grounds. The time is the 1970s - so, no internet where the characters could do reserach, and no smartphones that would make it easier to stay in touch and exchange news!
Same as Coppitts Green, the book is well written with characters and places portrayed in a manner that allows the reader to picture it all clearly. The story has a paranormal element to it but does not necessarily boil down to that; for me, it is more a coming of age story, about people finding their place in life.
Karen, recently widowed and not yet 30, returns to the village where she was born. She enjoys getting re-acquainted with the place and the people, and after an extended and comfortable stay at the inn, she even moves back into her childhood home, renting it from its new owner.
Also, she takes up painting again, a talent that was left dormant during the busy years travelling the world with her airforce pilot husband.
But then, strange things begin to happen: Karen discovers things in her paintings she can not remember having painted, or even known about before. Also, the arrival of the big hall's owner with his new wife creates quite a stir in the village, and in Karen's tranquil life. And what role does her mostly absent landlord play in all this?
I really loved this book and am certainly going to look for more by Nicola Thorne, whose website is here. I wouldn't mind clinking glasses with her - check out her picture on the website to see what I mean :-)