My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sarah Rayne’s Nell West and Michael Flint series have all been very engaging and interesting Gothic thrillers. The Bell Tower which is book 6 in the series can be read as stand alone but for some character developments which can be understood only if the books are read in order.
There are 3 parts to the story, the present with Nell and Michael, 2nd part in the 1500’s with Thaisa and Father Seamus Flannery and the 3rd part in the 1800’s with Brother Andrew and Theodora. All 3 segments of the story had enough mystery with a bit of supernatural element adding to the whole Gothic and spooky thrill. Sarah Rayne has followed a similar pattern as her previous books, there’s no actual unraveling of the clues by Nell or Michael, everything can be read in detail from the varied historical accounts or diaries/journals that have been preserved, but none of the journal entries has any distinguishing difference in eras so everything feels like a jumbled mess. I wish there was at least a minuscule difference between Thaisa’s and Andrew’s journals. The character of Maeve was bit confusing and her reasoning felt out of sorts.
I am sad this wonderful series has come to an end but I dearly loved Michael and Nell and even Wilberforce whose antics were really fun to read.
A 400-year-old crime continues to menace the present in this spine-chilling tale of supernatural suspense. “
When Nell West starts extending her Oxford antiques shop, she is not expecting to uncover strange fragments of its past: fragments that include a frightened message scribbled on old plasterwork, dated 1850 and referring to someone called Thaisa.
She also uncovers a mysterious link with a village on the Dorset coast a village with an ancient bell tower and dark memories of a piece of music known locally as Thaisa s Song. The sea is gradually encroaching on the derelict tower, but the old Glaum Bell still hangs in the lonely bell chamber and although it was silenced after an act of appalling brutality during the reign of Henry VIII, local people whisper that its chime is still occasionally heard.
As Nell and Michael Flint discover, the tower is mysteriously entangled with the story of Thaisa and a 400-year-old tragedy that has echoed down the centuries.
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