Summary: When Audrey Kepler inherits an abandoned homestead in rural Queensland, she jumps at the chance to escape her loveless existence in the city and make a fresh start. In a dusty back room of the old house, she discovers the crumbling photo of a handsome World War Two medic - Samuel Riordan, the homestead's former occupant - and soon finds herself becoming obsessed with him. But as Audrey digs deeper into Samuel's story, she discovers he was accused of bashing to death a young woman on his return from the war in 1946. When she learns about other unexplained deaths in recent years - one of them a young woman with injuries echoing those of the first victim - she begins to suspect that the killer is still very much alive. And now Audrey, thanks to her need to uncover the past, has provided him with good reason to want to kill again.
Title: Thornwood House
Series: N/A - standalone
Author: Anna Romer
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Australia
Released: 1st September 2013
Genre: Australian Mystery Thriller
Source: from Simon and Schuster Australia via The Reading Room - thank you so much.
Another fantastic Australian rural romance that is a must read. I loved Thornwood House immensely. There was mystery, which I’m not too fond of during my romances, but Thornwood House was just captivating. Anna Romer has a way of drawing the reader into the lives of her characters and to keep them guessing. My goodness, this was intriguing.
Set in 2006 - Audrey Kepler has never married and at age 30, her prospects don’t look too good. She is a single mother to Bronwyn, aged 11 and Bronwyn’s father, Tony Jarman married another woman. They had always had a complicated and intense relationship, Audrey always thought she loved him, but now that he’s gone, she can’t be certain.
Audrey has inherited an old Queenslander house that hasn’t been lived in for years. The decision to move with her daughter to a new town and home wasn’t an easy decision, but in the end, what did they have to lose. Arriving at the house, Bron and Audrey had their work cut out for them with all the cleaning and disorder. Happy with the results though, Audrey goes exploring and in the back room finds what must have been Tony’s grandfathers, Samuel. All of his belongings were still within, including an old photograph that piques her interest.
There are rumours around town that Samuel is accused of murdering a woman back in the 1940’s and more reports of another death on the property. How can so much death accompany such a beautiful picturesque piece of Australia? Bron finds an old diary hidden away that may hold some clues.
Audrey and Bron quickly make friends within town, especially those that were childhood friends to Tony. Corey and Danny Weingarten are siblings that were his best friends back then and now have taken a shine to the newcomers.
There’s a handyman across the way that helps Audrey with repairs and he seems friendly enough, but a little too friendly towards Bron and Audrey becomes suspicious.
Audrey feels a connection to the old place and has a determination to discover the truth of the property they now call home. But can she find out who really committed the murder from all those years ago? Will she give Danny a chance to get within her walls of insecurity with the male population? Will Audrey and Bron be chased from the old house before they find all the answers?
Throughout the entire journey I had suspicions of who did it and didn’t, but it was forever changing with the new circumstances that arose along the way. The story was very realistic and had me wondering if the town actually existed or if any of the events actually occurred. There are so many elements and twists within that I was fantastically addicted until the very end. For all those readers that enjoy a murder mystery with romance, this is a must read. Ms Romer is a new Australian favourite of mine.
About the Author
Anna Romer spent her wayward youth travelling the globe, working as a graphic artist while she soaked up local histories and folklore from the Australian outback, then Asia, Europe and America. On returning home to Australia, she began weaving stories of her own and was quickly hooked. A visit to her sister in north Queensland inspired her first novel Thornwood House, a story that reflects her fascination with old diaries and letters, dark family secrets, rambling old houses, the persistence of the past, and our unique Australian landscape. She lives and writes in northern NSW.