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When Serena begins a new life working for the Hartreve family at 36 Marguerite Avenue she falls in love, not just with its eccentric and alluring inhabitants and their world, but with the house itself. Number 36 is a beautiful Victorian London mansion that has remained in the family for generations. Serena feels that by being here she has escaped the ghosts of her own sad childhood and found a true home, but she soon discovers that behind its gleaming surfaces Marguerite Avenue is plagued by secrets and mystery. Why does such a beautiful tranquil street seem sometimes to shimmer with menace? Is everyone in the family quite who they appear to be? And just what is it that the family is trying to hide from her?
The Room Beyond is a thriller that delves beneath the romance and grandeur of a London house and finds a family haunted by the legacy of past wrongdoings. As the suspense grows and the fog thickens, will Serena be able to give up all that she has come to love? Will she ever escape?
I have to be honest right from the beginning and say that this story got right beneath my skin. When I wasn’t reading I was thinking about it and as with all stories that affect me in this way, I dreamt about it too.
Beginning with Serena as she is applying for the nanny job to 4 year old Beth, the atmosphere is perfect. Arabella, the wife of the Hartreve legacy, is described so that from her actions and expressions we get a real feel for her character. Actually, this is true for all the characters. As we get to know the family, it becomes clear that not is all as it seems. Serena is able to see things she shouldn’t and this casts an eerie quality to life in the house. During Christmas at the family estate, I enjoyed the whole time they stayed there. It was full of intrigue and finding out new things that tied the timelines together.
1892 – Miranda and Tristan’s marriage is shown to be exactly what it is and from the moment neighbour Lucinda Eden attends their dinner party, life changes for them all. Without giving any spoilers, the scenes witnessed during this timeline felt so real – delving into the ‘shadows’ so dark and deep. In the beginning, Miranda is shown as weak but not only do we find out why, later on she shows her strength. I loved the conversation she had with her sister in the park.
The plot is well paced and in each timeline, we know just enough to try to work out where the plot is taking us. I enjoyed Elmas’ writing style. She creates atmosphere with great effect so that I felt the darkness myself.
As I’ve said, the characters are fabulous in each timeline. The character who intrigued me the most is Victorian East End mystic/hypnotist Walter Balanchine. Walter has an effect on both timelines. At first I thought he was a sinister character but changed my mind when we see him with Miranda on the Hartreve estate. I notice that Elmas’ next novel centres around this enigmatic character and I can’t wait to read about his story!
Even though The Room Beyond is a ‘dark’ read – a horror story – there are moments of love … even if they are not what they seem. I loved the intrigue, the mystery, the history, the horror and the legacy. What an amazing read!
I would like to thank the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.