When nineteen year old Rose Baines returns home from visiting a dying aunt and finds her Mother, sister, and brother massacred by her mad, abusive ex-barrister and now dead Father, her life falls apart.
First she’s shipped off to Bedlam and then, through the intervention of a suspiciously understanding doctor, to Marsh Lunatic Asylum in Yorkshire. Through the good offices of a patroness of the asylum she gets a position as governess to two children at a house on the moors.
Not everything is as it seems; Miss Baines must defeat the ultimate evil and suffer terribly before she takes a final decision and finds love and a measure of peace.
I devoured this book in about five hours (quite a bit of which I was suffering from Post-Sherlock indulgences, namely too much vodka and not enough sleep). It’s an addictive page turner in the best tradition of Victorian gothic horror, complete with a tragic heroine, conflicted hero, dark secrets, picturesque gypsies, lunatics and dire creatures of darkness. The descriptions of demon hordes and the satanic orgies were particularly vivid.