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When Serena begins a new life working for the Hartreve family at 36 Marguerite Avenue she falls in love, not just with its eccentric and alluring inhabitants and their world, but with the house itself. Number 36 is a beautiful Victorian London mansion that has remained in the family for generations. Serena feels that by being here she has escaped the ghosts of her own sad childhood and found a true home, but she soon discovers that behind its gleaming surfaces Marguerite Avenue is plagued by secrets and mystery. Why does such a beautiful tranquil street seem sometimes to shimmer with menace? Is everyone in the family quite who they appear to be? And just what is it that the family is trying to hide from her?
It is 1892. On a hot summer night scented with jasmine, Miranda Whitestone hosts a dinner party at 34 Marguerite Avenue. Watching helplessly as her husband is seduced by her glamorous neighbour Lucinda Eden, she can have no idea of the consequences the evening will have.
For the history of Marguerite Avenue is more chilling than Serena could have imagined, and the fates of two women - the beautiful renegade Lucinda and the 'good wife' Miranda - will reach out from the past to cast a shadow over Serena's own future.
The Room Beyond is a thriller that delves beneath the romance and grandeur of a London house and finds a family haunted by the legacy of past wrongdoings. As the suspense grows and the fog thickens, will Serena be able to give up all that she has come to love? Will she ever escape?
"Stephanie Elmas beautifully divides her time between the present and the 1890s. The story becomes captivating from the very early pages as Serena approaches the Kensington residence of the Hartreve family. Her insight into the family's relationships and history is wonderfully unfolded as the book reaches its peak.
Elmas moves the reader skillfully from the present to the Victorian age. From Miranda and Tristan Whitestone's disastrous marriage, Tristan's affair with the beautiful and exciting Lucinda Eden and all its consequences that carry into the 21st century.
I loved the larger than life character Walter Balanchine, an East End mystic who steps into the scene with all sorts of bottles and charms around his neck. He captures the gothic Victorian underbelly of the novel superbly.
The growing tension and the haunting love story that unfold make it hard to put the book down. I thoroughly enjoyed The Room Beyond and can't wait to read what Elmas has in store for us next." - J Frank (Amazon Review)
"A beautifully written debut novel from Stephanie Elmas. There are so many elements to this book, from Serena's `perfect' romance with Sebastian to its charismatic Victorian heroines. I literally couldn't stop reading. At first I wasn't sure how the characters from the past were going to link up with the present. However, the final twists in the last few chapters tied them all up with staggering effect. For me the triumph of the book is Miranda Whitestone as we watch her develop from a meek, almost transparent wife to a force to be reckoned with." - Ulandi (Amazon Review)
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