It’s August, 1985 in the south of France and young Ruby Ashby is not enjoying the summer at her beloved chateau. Following a music camp, several of her parents’ friends arrive (some with other children) and the whole feel of the place Ruby usually loves best is off.

The parents are caught up in their own dramas and behaviour, leaving the youngsters to their own devices in general, although the abuse (physical, emotional and sexual) of the young girls is very hard to read.

As time goes on, tension builds between the families as past events and the present collide resulting in a shocking event.

Part of the story takes place twenty years later when one of the youngsters from that summer, despite her memories of that shocking time, returns to consider buying the chateau, now abandoned and for sale. But there’s someone else from the past there as well who may challenge her purchase plans. 

I found this story started slowly and I almost quit reading it, but once the author had the groundwork in place, the pace picked up, the tension increased, and my need to know what would happen next kept pace with it. This is not a light read, but the author builds the psychological tension well and makes you want to know how it will all end.

3 stars