Highgate, perhaps the most famous cemetery in the world, is renowned for its Victorian Gothic splendour, famous residents, its vampire and, of course, ghosts…
Lucy Klein, 42, is not only obsessed with Highgate, she works there too, organising tours for those with an interest in some of the finest Victorian funerary architecture in existence. Single, and on the shy side, she is nonetheless content with her life, or so she thinks. When she meets the enigmatic Zak Harborne, she realises what she’s been missing and quickly falls in love. He’s everything she’s ever wanted…isn’t he?
1972, and Emma Matthews, a 19-year-old history student, also feels as though she’s on the outside. After visiting a derelict Highgate with a group of friends, she starts to feel a connection, a sense of meaning to her life, in amongst the tombstones, the crosses and the angels. Returning to Highgate over and over, she discovers both a paradise and a garden decidedly more savage.
Grace Derby is just 11 when she encounters the gentleman, tall and with a tall hat, a long black coat and a cape about his shoulders. It is the 1850s and street urchins such as her are not accustomed to kindness from those belonging to the upper echelons. Proffering money for food, for her and her family, he asks nothing in return. Curious about the man with the kind blue eyes, she follows him one day… all the way to Highgate.
For some, it seems, all roads lead to Highgate…
Told in a mixture of chapters based in the 1800’s 1970’s and the present day, the story explores the links between three females and their connection to Highgate cemetery.
As always with Shani’s writing you feel as though you are there in the story watching events unfold. Be it the Victorian slums, or Highgate itself, the descriptive passages give plenty of detail without taking over the book.
I found the idea connecting Lucy, Emma and Grace a really interesting one and one I believe in. After all, energy doesn’t die, it just changes forms. The ending was very tense and emotional and I was pleased that the women to whom the book is dedicated to, finally got their headstone after being nameless for so long.
You can always rely on Shani for some thought provoking and suspense filled supernatural fiction, and with Highgate she’s produced some of her best work so far.
If you enjoy dark supernatural fiction, find out more about Highgate here.
As always, thank you for your support.