1932 – Twelve-year-old Billy Shaw lives in a palace. Potter’s Pleasure Palace – the best entertainment venue this side of the Pennines, complete with dancing and swing-boats and picnickers and a roller-skating rink. Billy’s ma runs the tea rooms and Billy himself looks forward to becoming the assistant to Mr Potter when he grows up. Until, that is, Mr Potter arranges for Billy to go to High Hob, the big house at the top of the valley, to be companion to Jasper Harper.
Jasper lives with his mother Edie and his Uncle Charles, brother and sister authors, escaped from London, and some say debt and scandal, in order to write. On his arrival, Billy finds a haphazard household where nothing that’s meant is said, and he runs wild with the untamed Jasper, spending all the time they can on the moors trying to catch The Beast. For four years the boys are inseparable, but when Charles and Edie are found dead, ruled a double suicide, Billy has already left the valley to start a new life in London. His time in the Harper household is written out of history.
2015 – Newly-appointed custodian of Ackerdean Mill, formerly the Palace, Anna Sallis begins to sort through the chaotic archives of the Mill, the Palace and the Harper siblings, and finds documents pointing to inconsistencies in the accepted story of Charles and Edie’s suicide. Anna becomes curious about what happened to her neighbour Frank’s Uncle Billy, absent from the known story. Why did he leave the valley? And what did he know about the events at High Hob?
Welcome to my stop on The Companion blog tour! I really enjoyed this book, it’s mysterious story, full of suspense with plenty of history thrown in too. The Companion features two alternative points of view. One in current times (2015) and one in 1932 when Charles and Edie were alive. I really love this kind of dual narrative because it really builds the suspense, and you get to see things from all different angles.
One of my favourite things about this book was the beautifully written prose. It flows seamlessly between the two different time frames, and I so easily became absorbed in the lovely writing. The writing is wonderfully descriptive, and it really makes the setting come alive. The book is obviously full of mystery, and I loved that it kept me guessing right until the end. I something think if you figure out what has happened straight away it can ruin your enjoyment a little, and while I did guess one or two things there were plenty things I kept wondering about right till the very end.
The characters are really well portrayed too. Billy is definitely my favourite, and I loved the strong sense of Yorkshire dialect that came through the book. I also found Anna really interesting too, as she collected all the information and unearthed these long forgotten secrets.
I also absolutely love the gorgeous and atmospheric cover for book, it’s really striking and definitely adds to that overall mysterious appeal. The Companion is a really addictive, enjoyable read and I have since passed it on to my mum who kept asking me what the book was about. If you’re looking for a page turner of a book to read over the summer, The Companion will definitely keep you occupied on your days off!
Thanks for checking out my stop on The Companion blog tour, be sure to check out the other stops below!