Book Review: The White Hare

This entrancing historical fiction takes place in 1954-55, following the story of Mila, a young mother to precocious Janey, and her mother Magda. Mila’s relationship with Janey’s father has fallen apart and her domineering mother has decided to remove the small family to a neglected manor house in Cornwall, where she plans to open a guest house. But strange things, omens and portents, haunt the family as they begin renovations on the house, starting with a vision of a large white hare as the family first visits the house.

Deftly woven into the narrative are threads of ancient magic and the White Lady who guards the lands the house stands on, as well as some contemporary history in the post-war years. Mila’s character arc is inspiring. She goes from an unsure-of-herself somewhat mousy young mother to a more confident, vibrant woman as she and her daughter come to love the house and the lands they now inhabit. The supporting cast of characters in the village, including the overly pious churchman, the artist/healer couple who continue to honor the old ways, and the intially enigmatic love interest, are all drawn with distinct personalities and contribute to the story seamlessly.

I really enjoyed escaping with this book and the author obviously knows her homeland of Cornwall, as she describes the natural world in glowing detail and tons of history, from ancient tribes to small village pettiness, from golden torcs to rock carvings, in such a way that I want to hop the next plane across the pond and immerse myself in this world. A highly entertaining book, well written, with lots to keep historical fiction fans turning the pages. Perfect for fans of Susanna Kearsley.

Thank you to Netgalley and Simon Schuster, publisher, for an advance reader copy of this title. All opinions contained here are my own.

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