It’s Easter 1955 and as Lilia scrapes the ice from the inside of the windows, and the rust from the locks, but there are pasts that lurk with the moths in the folds of the drapes at Sugar Hall that she cannot reach. Mouldering in the English border countryside the red gardens of Sugar Hall hold a secret, and as Britain waits for its last hanging, Lilia and her children must confront a history that has been buried but not forgotten. Based on the stories of the Black Boy that surround Littledean Hall in the Forest of Dean, this is a superbly chilling ghost story from Tiffany Murray.
Tiffany Murray grew up in Wales. Her first novel, Happy Accidents (2005), is the coming-of-age tale of 11-year-old Kate Happy, set on a rural farm on the Welsh-English border, and has drawn comparison with Stella Gibbons’ Cold Comfort Farm. Her second novel, Diamond Star Halo (2010), tells the story of Halo Llewelyn and her unconventional family who run a recording studio in rural Wales. It is a story of first love and rock n’ roll and drew comparisons with Dodie Smith’s I Capture The Castle. Both novels were shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize, and Guardian critics selected Diamond Star Halo as one of the best of the fiction year, 2010.