Published by Michael Joseph, Penguin UK on April 28, 2022
Genres: Historical, Thriller
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Some secrets need to be set free . . .
Twenty years after their last visit, half-sisters Lauren, Kat and Flore are summoned to Rock Point: the beautiful and windswept cliff house where they sat for their father's most famous painting, Girls and Birdcage.
But what should be a joyous return is darkened by memories of the catastrophic events of a summer twenty years before.
Because when the sisters arrive, it is clear that someone is determined not to let the past lie.
Someone who is watching their every move.
Who remembers the girls in the painting, and what they did . . .
Set on the rugged Cornish coast, The Birdcage is a twisty, spellbinding novel with unforgettable characters who must piece together their family's darkest secrets.
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Today is my stop on the tour for The Birdcage by Eve Chase, released on 28th April. I read The Glass House last year and I absolutely loved it so I was really excited when Michael Joseph invited me to be a part of this tour.
Eve Chase’s writing is absolutely beautiful, the way she weaves her story so that two separate timelines converge perfectly is just stunning.
We know from the start that something happened in the Summer of 1999, something that changed the lives of the three sisters Flora, Kat and Lauren forever. We know that although all half sisters, Flora and Kat were close but they were detached from Lauren, who only appeared in their lives when she was nine. Lauren isn’t on her own though, the housekeepers daughter Gemma, is a similar age to her and they get along well. Flora and Kat know what happened at the time of the solar eclipse, they were responsible, Lauren was a victim, but of what we are still to learn.
The tag line for this novel is “some stories need to be set free”, each of the girls is weighed down by secrets. For Kat and Flora it is secrets about what actually happened back in 1999. Today, all of the girls have secrets about what is going on in their lives. Why is Flora not answering the calls from her husband, why are a legal team constantly calling Kat, why is Lauren hiding the letters that she is writing to her friend?
Truth relies on perspective. It’s relative. If you live a life of pure, sheer truth, it’d be blinding, untenable, and every family would kill one another over Sunday lunch.
At the centre of all of this is Rock Point, the family home, the other characters that live there and the landscape itself. This novel honestly couldn’t be set anywhere other than Cornwall for it to have the same windswept impact. The house itself is imposing and gothic, although slightly neglected it is still grand.
And Flora can hear a slow drumbeat, which isn’t the waves, or her heart, but seems to be coming from the house itself, as if it were a sentient being.
Rock Point is home to the girls eccentric painter father, Charlie, and his parents in 1999, although they are no longer present in 2019. His father doesn’t play a major role in the novel but his mother, grandmother to the girls is ever present, as his her parrot, who is able to mimic people at the most inopportune moments. The parrot actually has a surprisingly central role in the novel, seeming to know exactly what is happening and what to say to cause the most disruption. The girls are desperate for their fathers love and affection, his attention. But he lives life on his own terms, not really paying any heed to the consequences of his actions. Hiding his own lies from all of them throughout the novel.
But Charlie Finch is not most people. He’s a Finch. He’s an artist. He has an ability to detach from his subjects, to see human beings as arrangements of form and flesh in space, volume and light a technical challenge to be solved.
While the girls are at Rock Point their father has asked them to sit for a painting, his most important, his daughters with a bird cage. His artwork, and particularly this painting are so important to the now, providing symbology of Charlie’s life. A birdcage is often used in both art and literature (think of Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings) as it symbolises loss of freedom, the flighty bird being caged and oppression of women. This is reflected in the storyline, we have 3 very different girls, each one being held within their gilded cage for different reasons. Flora by her family life, Kat by her business and Lauren by the past.
I had already guessed some of what was to come toward the end of this novel, but that didn’t take away from it at all. The joy was in the path to the end. The end was just the perfect wrap up of everything, it led exactly where it needed to and tied up things that had happened right at the start that I’d forgotten about.
Eve Chase is now an auto-buy author for me.
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