The House in the Orchard

Elizabeth Brooks

 

When a World War II widow inherits a dilapidated English estate, she uncovers a diary written by an adolescent girl named Maude Gower. Looking for answers, she begins reading, only to unravel more questions about the mysterious past and many secrets hidden deep within the walls of Orchard House.

In 1876, orphaned Maude is forced to leave London, and her adored brother, Frank, to live with a stranger. Everyone—especially Frank—tells her not to trust Miss Greenaway, the enigmatic owner of Orchard House, but Maude can’t help warming to her new guardian. Encouraged by Miss Greenaway, Maude finds herself discovering who she is for the first time, and learning to love her new home. But when Frank comes for an unexpected visit, the delicate balance of Maude’s life is thrown into disarray. Complicating matters more, Maude witnesses an adult world full of interactions she cannot quite understand. Her efforts to regain control result in a violent tragedy, the repercussions of which will haunt Orchard House for the rest of Maude’s life—and beyond.

With each psychologically gripping turn, Elizabeth Brooks masterfully explores the blurred lines between truth and manipulation, asking us who we can trust, how to tell guilt from forgiveness, and whether we can ever really separate true love from destruction.

 

The Whispering House

Elizabeth Brooks

Freya Lyell is struggling to move on from her sister Stella’s death five years ago. Visiting the bewitching Byrne Hall, only a few miles from the scene of the tragedy, she discovers a portrait of Stella—a portrait she had no idea existed, in a house Stella never set foot in. Or so she thought.

Driven to find out more about her sister’s secrets, Freya is drawn into the world of Byrne Hall and its owners: charismatic artist Cory and his sinister, watchful mother. But as Freya lingers in this mysterious, centuries-old house, her relationship with Cory crosses the line into obsession and the darkness behind the locked doors of the estate threatens to spill out.

In prose as lush and atmospheric as Byrne Hall itself, Elizabeth Brooks weaves a simmering, propulsive tale of art, sisterhood, and all-consuming love: the ways it can lead us toward tenderness, nostalgia, and longing, as well as shocking acts of violence.

The Orphan of Salt Winds

Elizabeth Brooks

England, 1939. Ten-year-old Virginia Wrathmell arrives at Salt Winds, a secluded house on the edge of a marsh, to meet her adoptive parents—practical, dependable Clem and glamorous, mercurial Lorna. The marsh, with its deceptive tides, is a beautiful but threatening place. Virginia’s new parents’ marriage is full of secrets and tensions she doesn’t quite understand, and their wealthy neighbor, Max Deering, drops by too often, taking an unwholesome interest in the family’s affairs. Only Clem offers a true sense of home. War feels far away among the birds and shifting sands—until the day a German fighter plane crashes into the marsh, and Clem ventures out to rescue the airman. What happens next sets into motion a crime so devastating it will haunt Virginia for the rest of her life. Seventy-five years later, she finds herself drawn back to the marsh, and to a teenage girl who appears there, nearly frozen and burdened by her own secrets. In her, Virginia might have a chance at retribution and a way to right a grave mistake she made as a child.  

Elizabeth Brooks’s gripping debut mirrors its marshy landscape—full of twists and turns and moored in a tangle of family secrets. A gothic, psychological mystery and atmospheric coming-of-age story, The Orphan of Salt Winds is the portrait of a woman haunted by the place she calls home.