Title: Meredith’s Dagger
Author: Debbie McGowan
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
Release Date: August 29, 2019
Genre: Occult Fiction/ Women’s Fiction
I was blessed to receive an ARC copy of Debbie McGowan’s Meredith’s Dagger and… wow! Such a good read, but before I go further, here’s the book’s official blurb as it appears on Amazon.
Blurb: Huddled in a doorway, unseen by the men passing on great horses, Meredith watched from within the hood of her cloak. The pain of the cold, wet morning impaled her, rooting her in place, even as the cat rubbed against her shins with a force that should have felled her. She shooed him away. Go home. But he would not.
She wished she had died that night. She wished she had died, for to live like this was not to live at all.
* * *
When Richie Moorcroft takes a housekeeping position to finance his studies, it means moving back to his childhood home: an ancient, almost-derelict cottage locals claim is haunted. But he never believed those stories; he knows where they came from, and in any case, he has a job to do: keeping nineteen-year-old Julian Denby on the straight and narrow without Julian realising his wealthy parents are paying Richie to do so.
Luckily, Julian’s not very astute, although the same can’t be said for their newest housemates: Richie’s bestie, Anneke, and Julian’s older sister, Tamara. Add in George, the cat who appeared from nowhere and is in no hurry to leave, and that makes five…about to uncover the sinister history of their new home.
Jeanne’s Review: Oh, where to start. (deep breath) Okay, two tales in one that intertwine in unexpected and surprising ways. Here’s the thing about Meredith’s Dagger, the tales seem so very disconnected to begin with – one at the beginning (Chapter One) set in the 21st century and the other at the end (Chapter Fifteen) during the 17th century. They flow as seeming opposites until near the end when… wham! It all comes brilliantly together.
There’s some spectacular writing going on here, and I kept reading far longer than I should just to see what happened next. And the characters: I ache for Meredith, who’s been accused of witchcraft, John, and Elizabeth, (17th century) as much as I detest, scratch that for positively loathe, Lord Black, which I’m certain I’m supposed to. As for Richie and his crew (21st century) what a lovable, complicated effing mess of social classes, beliefs, and youth, (though I admittedly wanted to knock a knot on Julian’s rich-boy head more than once). But they make it work, more so than their shared cottage can physically tolerate at times. It’s all twisted, and complicated, and… okay, the entire tale left me on the edge of my seat, so to speak, from beginning to end.
And the cottage, why that nearly condemnable hovel might just be the key to a lot of things – relationships, the past, the future… don’t count it out while you read. Actually, I believe it’s a character as well, sharing secrets and sometimes falling to pieces at the worst of times.
McGowan tidies it all up so neatly in the end, however, so I’m afraid there’ll not be a sequel, but if there is, count me in!