Release Date: 22nd October 2019
Publisher: Ruby Fiction
Should some secrets stay buried?
For as long as Cassie Hunt can remember her Aunt Aggie has spoken about the forgotten world that exists just below their feet, in the tunnels and catacombs of the Sand House. The story is what inspired Cassie to become an archaeologist.
But Aggie has a secret that she’s buried as deep as the tunnels and when excavation work begins on the site, Cassie is the only one who can help her keep it. With the assistance of her old university friend, Noah Flanagan, she puts into action a plan to honour Aggie’s wishes.
It seems the deeper Noah and Cassie dig, the more shocking the secrets uncovered – and danger is never far away, both above and below the ground …
22 October 2019 Format: Kindle Edition
A compelling read, a real page turner.
When Cassie receives an urgent phone call from her sister informing her that her beloved aunt is ill in hospital, she leaves her archaeological dig in sunny Italy and rushes home to rainy Doncaster. Once home she finds her aunt clinging onto life just long enough to tell Cassie a 50-year-old secret and making her promise to achieve what Aggie could never manage.
The secret is contained in the catacombs that run under her aunt’s home. Cassie uses her expertise as an archaeologist to join the excavation of the catacombs, but her promise means she has to crawl along long dangerous tunnels and enter the crumbling catacombs where there is another danger waiting for her.
Steeped in atmosphere, two unconnected mysteries and a romance make this an absorbing read.
5.0 out of 5 starsExcitement and tension, well-developed romance, and a slice of intriguing local history
22 October 2019 Format: Kindle Edition
I’m always drawn into a book by a well-written prologue – and this book most certainly has one, as you feel the fear of a shocking and life-changing childhood incident filled with menace, with family secrets uncovered and some very strong images that are revisited later in the book.
The book itself opens in Herculaneum, where Cassie is an archaeologist on a prestigious dig, engaged in uncovering some particularly poignant skeletal remains – sharing a flat with a friend, with a tomato plant and a visiting cat. But, as with all the author’s books, you know the first twist is never far away – a possible threat that becomes very real indeed, and an unexpected telephone call that takes her home to Doncaster. Aunt Aggie, who raised Cassie and her sister Lisa in the absence of their parents is seriously ill – and she has a long-held secret that needs Cassie’s intervention before it can reach resolution. Near the family home, there’s a dig in progress – the excavation of the tunnels of the Sand House, uncovering its magnificent statues, and Cassie needs to get involved while there’s still time.
This book is very strong in its portrayal of family relationships – both the close relationship between Cassie and her sister, and the great sadness of watching her beloved aunt losing her grip on life, treasuring every rare smile. And family ties drive the story too – the hidden personal stories of the past, uncovered alongside the treasures in the nearby tunnels.
There’s a real and convincing love story – one of those friends becoming lovers stories that I invariably enjoy, and I particularly liked the way it was developed. But there’s a wider cast too, and quite a number of individuals who could be a source of threat and danger – and the tension mounts inexorably as Cassie’s moment of discovery approaches, with an atmosphere of creeping menace and danger.
The story’s climax is particularly well handled – some really clever touches (no, I can’t tell you more – I’d ruin the book!) and plenty of twists and turns to throw you off the scent. The author certainly knows how to crank up the anticipation, and those closing scenes really do get the pages turning considerably more quickly.
The pacing of the story is just right, and the lighter moments in the developing relationship do balance those more disturbing moments. And if you’ve enjoyed the author’s earlier books, there’s plenty here that you’ll enjoy every bit as much – a compelling read that might just give you a few sleepless nights, a story full of excitement and tension, a well-developed romance, together with a large slice of intriguing local history.
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful love story, sadness and intrigue bound together by strong family ties and fab local history.
24 October 2019 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Another brilliant book by the author,with believable characters that I quickly developed empathy with. I thoroughly enjoyed the story which is fast paced and has lots of twists and turns. I was born in Doncaster and had never heard of the Sand House so I was fascinated by the historical aspect of the book. This history was handled very sympathetically and with excellent research on the subject. An exciting and thought provoking read with just the right amounts of love,romance and intrigue.