Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Mystery BEYOND THE YEW TREE by @RachelJwalkley #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs here https://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading Beyond The Yew Tree by Rachel J. Walkley

I loved the Women of Heachley Hall, so I jumped at the chance to read another mystery by Rachel Walkley. I enjoyed this one just as much, probably because I like books with women protagonists, and especially if they are a little flawed.

For Beyond the Yew Tree, the author has created Laura Naylor, who has been called for jury duty and who reluctantly shows up on the appointed day. Having been on juries, I immediately related to the descriptions of the process, the jurors, and Laura’s experience. In this case, the man on the stand is accused of defrauding a charity for the blind.

It all seems very mundane, as is Laura’s life, until she begins to hear a hissing sound in the courtroom, one that no one else hears. At the same time she begins to have recurring nightmares of a Victorian jail and a suffering woman somehow connected to it. Laura thinks it’s related to the fact the court is actually within the walls of an old castle, which also houses an ancient prison and an equally old cemetery, where people who had been executed or died in prison were buried.

The author cleverly compounds Laura’s growing misery with anxiety of another sort: her Italian, live-in boyfriend, Marco, left suddenly for Italy because of an unexplained family matter, and his communication with her has dried up.

When the hisses resolve into a child-like whisper, Laura is lead to the prison graveyard and a spot near an old yew tree and also to the site of a long-gone bakery, where she experiences the smell of freshly baked bread. Assistance comes in the form of Sean, the curator of the prison museum, who helps her discover that her dreams and the whisper are related to a woman hung for murder a century earlier.

I won’t say more other than the fate of the man and the child of the hanged woman converge. Will Marco ever come back? Is Sean a serious match for Laura? Who is the wretched woman and who is the child only Laura can hear? You will love following the twists and turns of this story to discover the answers!

The intertwining of history with the present is a skill of this author and one again she has made a place, in this case the castle, a character in her story. Her characters are interesting and believable, with good depth, and the descriptions of places are clear and crisp.

I recommend Beyond the Yew Tree as a satisfying and enjoyable read, especially as a diversion from world events.

Book description

In an old courtroom, a hissing voice distracts reluctant juror, Laura, and at night recurring nightmares transport her to a Victorian gaol and the company of a wretched woman. Although burdened by her own secret guilt, and struggling to form meaningful relationships, Laura isn’t one to give up easily when faced with an extraordinary situation.
The child-like whispers lead Laura to an old prison graveyard, where she teams up with enthusiastic museum curator, Sean. He believes a missing manuscript is the key to understanding her haunting dreams. But nobody knows if it actually exists.
Laura is confronted with the fate of two people – the man in the dock accused of defrauding a charity for the blind, and the restless spirit of a woman hanged over a century ago for murder.
If Sean is the companion she needs in her life, will he believe her when she realises that the two mysteries are converging around a long-forgotten child who only Laura can hear?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Dual Time Line #Mystery BEYOND THE YEW TREE by @RachelJWalkley

Today’s team review is from Sandra, she blogs here https://www.firthproof.co.uk/index.php/book-reviews

#RBRT Review Team

Sandra has been reading Beyond The Yew Tree by Rachel Walkley

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Beyond the Yew Tree is a dual-timeline story that jumps between nineteenth-century and present-day Lincoln. The pace is a bit slow at the start as we are given the background to the trial, and introduced to the main characters.

Laura is on jury service, in a case involving financial fraud at a charity for the blind, but keeps her accounting background to herself to avoid questions from the other jurors. As she gradually comes out of her shell, she grows more confident about expressing her opinions, and, by the end of the trial, is happy to give the others the benefit of her expertise.

While listening to the evidence, Laura is distracted by strange sounds only she can hear. They become the whispers of a child, and her sleep is disturbed by nightmarish visions of a Victorian gaol. Keen to discover the identity of the woman in her nightmares, Laura enlists the help of the museum curator, Sean, after a chance encounter brings them together. As it is obvious to the reader that Laura’s boyfriend, Marco, is not intending to come back, will she and Sean become more than just friends?

What seem like unconnected strands are skillfully woven together in this book which is a wonderful mixture of historical fiction, mystery, ghost story and romance. The characters are well drawn, offering fascinating insights into life in Victorian Lincoln; in some respects life now is so very different, but in others (such as the domestic abuse suffered by Bronte and her child) nothing much has changed.

The area of Lincoln around the castle and cathedral is vividly brought to life, and makes for an unusual and atmospheric setting. I had not read any of Rachel Walkley’s books before but will definitely look out for them in the future, as I found Beyond the Yew Tree to be a very enjoyable read that I would definitely recommend.

Thanks to the author for a copy that I review on behalf of Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT

Book description

In an old courtroom, a hissing voice distracts reluctant juror, Laura, and at night recurring nightmares transport her to a Victorian gaol and the company of a wretched woman. Although burdened by her own secret guilt, and struggling to form meaningful relationships, Laura isn’t one to give up easily when faced with an extraordinary situation.
The child-like whispers lead Laura to an old prison graveyard, where she teams up with enthusiastic museum curator, Sean. He believes a missing manuscript is the key to understanding her haunting dreams. But nobody knows if it actually exists.
Laura is confronted with the fate of two people – the man in the dock accused of defrauding a charity for the blind, and the restless spirit of a woman hanged over a century ago for murder.
If Sean is the companion she needs in her life, will he believe her when she realises that the two mysteries are converging around a long-forgotten child who only Laura can hear?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Contemporary #Fiction BEYOND THE YEW TREE by @RachelJWalkley

Today’s team review is from Liz, she blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading Beyond the Yew Tree by Rachel Walkley

Whispers in the courtroom.

Only one juror hears them.

Can Laura unravel the truth by the end of the trial?

 

Laura is a sensible, well organised young woman. Setting out for her first day of jury service she is well prepared with a flask full of coffee.

“Laura preferred a predictable, uneventful day to exciting unplanned crises or emotional meltdowns. No surprises, no sudden happenings.”

So, she hopes for structured, uncomplicated days at the law court next to Lincoln castle.  But listening to the barristers, she is aware of a hissing noise, of soft whispers disturbing her concentration. And then when she returns to her empty home at night, her sleep is disturbed by distressing dreams of a woman imprisoned in a Victorian gaol.  It can’t be the fraud case which is causing her dreams, but strolling through the castle she spots the gravestones of those who had been executed for murder. Needing answers, Laura seeks the help of the museum curator, Sean.

Laura is also distressed by the long absence of her lover, Marco, who has been visiting his family in Italy for some time while maintaining very little communication with her.  Determined to seek out the source of her nightmares and come to a fair judgement on the court case, Laura’s calm demeanour conceals deep guilt about an event in her past.

Having endured jury service personally, I found Laura’s experience locked in a room with 11 disparate people very familiar.  Keeping alert during a complex case can be difficult and barristers are often very persuasive.  Luckily Laura’s intelligence and financial background help her detect weaknesses in the evidence, but does she have the confidence to speak up?

The threads of guilt and justice entwine between the present day and the past and as the trial comes to an end, Laura must also decide the path her life should take. A very rewarding read.

Book description

In an old courtroom, a hissing voice distracts reluctant juror, Laura, and at night recurring nightmares transport her to a Victorian gaol and the company of a wretched woman. Although burdened by her own secret guilt, and struggling to form meaningful relationships, Laura isn’t one to give up easily when faced with an extraordinary situation.
The child-like whispers lead Laura to an old prison graveyard, where she teams up with enthusiastic museum curator, Sean. He believes a missing manuscript is the key to understanding her haunting dreams. But nobody knows if it actually exists.
Laura is confronted with the fate of two people – the man in the dock accused of defrauding a charity for the blind, and the restless spirit of a woman hanged over a century ago for murder.
If Sean is the companion she needs in her life, will he believe her when she realises that the two mysteries are converging around a long-forgotten child who only Laura can hear?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS