Honestly, it was that beautiful cover image that me drawn to the book at first but then knowing it was from Erin Kelly, of course, I was sure I was in for a treat. Nope, I have not read many books by the author to form an opinion but The Poison Tree is still crystal clear in my mind and for that alone, I should probably go back and give that book the whole 5 stars for creating such an impact.
The Skeleton Key has a unique plot, keeping aside the central theme of dysfunctional families, the story has an author whose picture book The Golden Bones has clues for a real treasure hunt and the frenzy the release of the book creates for him and his family. Being named after the central character in a fictional book written by your father has not given Eleanor Churcher an easy life. Stalked, stabbed and threatened by the crazy treasure hunters called Bonehunters, Nell stays away from her family as much as possible to escape the madness that has the bone hunters making her life a miserable hell.
Erin Kelly sketches two families intertwined in every possible way and thru different POVs and different timelines, bringing about a story that is all about secrets and power games. The Churchers and Lally’s living in semi-detached houses and sharing everything together have more than 50 years of friendship between them but nothing is as rosy as seen from the outside world and for Nell, who discovers the extent of the despicable secrets that are waiting to tumble out of the closet, it is more shocking than most.
The relationship between Nell and Dom and that of Billie and Nell are the highlights of the story, in fact, the arc of each and every character in the book was brilliantly done. Billie, however, is like a breath of fresh air in this dark family drama. It is not just about the mystery of a skeleton but Erin Kelly keeps the readers on their toes convoluting the plot with one reveal after another every step of the way and there are so many subplots running in the story that the momentum of the story also has its own pace, whereas some parts I could literally fly with it there were also some other parts which were very slow in its unraveling.
A solid winner from Erin Kelly, The Skeleton Key is a perfect choice for all fans of the family saga with a mystery woven thru it.
Many thanks to Net Galley, Hodder & Stoughton, and the author for a chance to read and review this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.
THIS REUNION WILL TEAR A FAMILY APART…
Summer, 2021. Nell has come home at her family’s insistence to celebrate an anniversary. Fifty years ago, her father wrote The Golden Bones. Part picture book, part treasure hunt, Sir Frank Churcher created a fairy story about Elinore, a murdered woman whose skeleton was scattered all over England. Clues and puzzles in the pages of The Golden Bones led readers to seven sites where jewels were buried – gold and precious stones, each a different part of a skeleton. One by one, the tiny golden bones were dug up until only Elinore’s pelvis remained hidden.
The book was a sensation. A community of treasure hunters called the Bonehunters formed, in frenzied competition, obsessed to a dangerous degree. People sold their homes to travel to England and search for Elinore. Marriages broke down as the quest consumed people. A man died. The book made Frank a rich man. Stalked by fans who could not tell fantasy from reality, his daughter, Nell, became a recluse.
But now the Churchers must be reunited. The book is being reissued along with a new treasure hunt and a documentary crew are charting everything that follows. Nell is appalled, and terrified. During the filming, Frank finally reveals the whereabouts of the missing golden bone. And then all hell breaks loose.
From the bestselling author of He Said/She Said and Watch Her Fall, this is a taut, mesmerising novel about a daughter haunted by her father’s legacy…
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