Book Review: The Lost Girls of Foxfield Hall by Jessica Thorne

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: March 26th, 2021
Pages: 347, Kindle
Source: NetGalley

September, 1939. The moon shines silver on the looming yew trees. Thinking of her fiancé, fighting for his life and country in the war, breaks Eleanor’s heart, but also gives her courage. She takes a deep breath, picks up her camera, and follows the dancing lights into the maze.

Present day. With her little brother Missing in Action, gardener Megan Taylor runs from her grief to take a job at Foxfield Hall – a centuries-old place full of myths and folklore – restoring the wild maze in the overgrown gardens. Throwing herself into shaping the tangled ivy, Megan soon becomes drawn into the mystery of Lady Eleanor Fairfax, the Hall’s most famous resident… the villagers say she disappeared without trace at the Harvest Festival in 1939, leaving behind a grieving father and a heartbroken fiancé.

Leafing through delicate old newspaper cuttings and gazing at an ornately framed portrait of the missing woman, Megan is full of questions. Although no body was ever found, could Eleanor have been murdered? Did she run away, unwilling to marry the man who loved her? Or, with her father working at the War Office, did Eleanor stumble upon a secret she shouldn’t have?

Then, one night under a full moon, a mesmerising light inexplicably draws her to the entrance of the maze. Megan is filled with a strange certainty that, if she follows it into the shadows, it will lead to the truth about Eleanor… but could Megan herself be the next occupant of Foxfield Hall to be lost forever?

A spellbinding, magical and addictive tale about the mysterious and ancient legends at the heart of the English countryside, and how to find those who are lost. Perfect for fans of Outlander, Susanna Kearsley and The Binding.

In The Lost Girls of Foxfield Hall, Jessica Thorne has created a time-travel, alternate history/alternate future, Arthurian-inspired mystery and LGBTQTIA+ romance. What might have been, and what is, are unsettled, and garden restoration expert Megan Taylor must work her way through a literal maze to find the truth about the past.

Megan takes a job restoring the gardens at a luxury hotel and spa run by her friend from university. Her soldier brother has been declared MIA, and she wants a place to get away from her present. She literally finds that as she wanders through a garden maze and ends up in 1939, meeting Ellie Fairfax, the daughter of Foxfield Hall, which is the site of the present-day hotel. Megan makes it back to the present, and begins to research the estate. Ellie disappeared not long after their meeting, and Megan is determined to discover why. She discovers a curse, a witch, and how the past is not always immutable.

Megan and Ellie are strong and compelling characters, and readers will be heavily invested in their stories.

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