Thursday, April 11, 2013

DROWNING RAPUNZEL by Annette Gisby_Review

Review of Drowning Rapunzel by Annette Gisby
5 stars

If you love the novels of Victoria Holt; if you raptly devoured Daphne Du Maurier’s “Rebecca”; if you’re an aficionado of the sub-genre that in the 1950’s and 1960’s was termed “Gothic romantic suspense,” be assured you are going to LOVE “Drowning Rapunzel.” Not only do the settings, the plotting, the locales, and the characters remind me of this beloved sub-genre, but so does the author’s smooth and cosy writing style, almost in a sense tongue-in-cheek not-quite-omniscient narration.

Beth has had visions, or as the medical profession would term it, “hallucinations,” and that has caused her time in an institution. Now released and working for her aunt Sarah in the latter’s antique shop, Beth craves to get on her own, get a different full-time job, and eventually buy a residence. When she is immediately hired by reclusive and eccentric painter Josh Wainwright as a secretary/personal assistant, she is ecstatic, even though her brother Andrew (not too stable himself) and Josh’s housekeeper Flora disapprove. Beth’s main concern is whether she was hired as an assistant, or because of her long, beautiful, Pre-Raphaelite reddish-gold curls. She certainly will not pose nude, if that’s what the painter wants! But on her first day in the Wainwright establishment, the visions return; now they involve death and the deceased, and someone trying to kill her, even though she is alone at the time. With Beth’s background (the institutional duration) it would be easy to “gaslight” her, to convince her she is once again mentally disturbed; but what if her visions are real, and refer to actual events? What is someone IS attempting to kill her?

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