AN UNQUIET PLACE
Clare Houston Loot.co.za (R205) PENGUIN
HANNAH Harrington has fled Cape Town to work at a bookshop in a small and pretty Eastern Free State town.
The owners are off travelling, and Hannah is looking for a way to escape her ex-boyfriend, and her rather demanding parents.
She finds the town to be everything she wants, there is a cozy coffee shop and she quickly makes friends with the owner.
And then there is the farm with the angry owner Alistair who is a widower, his wife having died tragically.
Hannah settles swiftly into her hideaway home and all seems fairly bucolic. That is until she starts sorting through a box of dusty old books and finds a diary that appears to have been written by a young woman in a Boer War concentration camp.
Just who is Rachel Badenhorst and how is she linked to the hilly plateau outside the town.
The place that some of the locals swear is haunted. There is also no record of a camp in the area.
As Hannah navigates Rachel’s horrifying story, the reader is invited to get to know modern-day Hannah and the challenges she faces in trying to build a new life.
Sometimes the uncovering of history brings its own kind of pain, and there is certainly enough suffering in the lives of some of the locals of the little town.
Clare Houston has written a very readable book that lures the reader into thinking that it is a charming story about life in the kind of town where many city dwellers long to escape to.
Of course though nothing is all pure and good.
There is a dark vein of history that lurks beneath the life of each character.
It’s a fairly placid and charming book, until the author adds a plot twist to the story of Rachel that will have the reader reeling. |