Those We Fear by Victoria Griffith
I loved the fact that this was not only set in the UK but also that it was an isolated location. It is easy to lose a character in a city but putting Maria in the far reaches of Scotland made me smile.
This was a mystery more than anything else and I liked the fact that this displaced American was embracing the situation she found herself in.
Uprooted and placed into the Witness Protection program, Maria not only lost her past, her identity and her family but doing the right thing cost her, her liberty in the country she loved. I can’t imagine how it must feel to have your slate wiped clean and to have to rebuild everything from scratch.
Taking up her cover, her new life as an Au pair to a family living in what can only be described as almost isolation, she is given little insight into what she is likely to encounter, if she had she might have thought twice about it. The eldest son Jonathan is the first member of the family that she meets and he is less than forthcoming, to be honest I thought he was a tad on the strange side, little did I know what exactly life in the family was like!
Life on the estate wasn’t harsh as such but it was different. Maria was employed to look after the children who were home for the holidays, Jonathan’s mother having passed away mean that the youngsters were still grieving the loss of their mother, even if their father seemed to have moved on to a new, younger wife and was desperate to almost sweep the children’s grief under the carpet.
I felt for the kids, they had so much to deal with but they were basically good kids and they seemed to like Maria, which made the situation a little more bearable. Jonathan too seemed to emerge from the dourness that I had initially anticipated and he too befriended Maria so to speak.
Now, I am not a huge fan of supernatural events, the whole mystery and intrigue of ghostly happenings don’t have much of a hold on me but that being said I was completely captivated by the odd events that started to plague Maria, I didn’t know what to make of it all, sure, I know it could be the kids or the new wife playing tricks on her and doing what they could to frighten her away but why?
Could there be something more inexplicable going on, something other worldly?
Curiosity piqued, Maria was may have appeared cautiously fearful but she really should have been genuinely afraid for her safety but I was pleased that she understood enough to know that she had to determine what the heck happened to the lady of the house, how had the children’s mother died? Finding that out might unlock the answers as to what was going on in the house now.
Now while the hocus pocus elements were a little distracting to me, they also lined up a super suspense story and the author has to be commended for a work that brought back feeling that were so readily piqued from reading mystery novels from the greats of years ago.
The style, the flow, the pace was all absolutely up to date but I couldn’t help but feel that this story was an only soul all wrapped up in twenty first century vibe.