Winner of the UK's Richard & Judy Search for a Bestseller Competition, this pause-resistant debut novel follows an orphan whose late, beloved best friend bequeaths her a treasure hunt that leads her all over Victorian England and finally to the one secret her friend never shared.
It is 1831 when eight-year-old Aurelia Vennaway finds a naked baby girl abandoned in the snow on the grounds of her aristocratic family's magnificent mansion. Her parents are horrified that she has brought a bastard foundling into the house, but Aurelia convinces them to keep the baby, whom she names Amy Snow. Amy is brought up as a second-class citizen, despised by the Vennaways, but she and Aurelia are as close as sisters. When Aurelia dies at the age of 23, she leaves Amy 10 pounds, and the Vennaways immediately banish Amy from their home.
But Aurelia left her much more. Amy soon receives a packet that contains a rich inheritance and a letter from Aurelia revealing she had kept secrets from Amy, secrets that she wants Amy to know. From the grave she sends Amy on a treasure hunt from one end of England to the other - a treasure hunt that only Amy can follow. Ultimately, a life-changing discovery awaits...if only Amy can unlock the secret. In the end Amy escapes the Vennaways, finds true love, and learns her dearest friend's secret - a secret that she will protect for the rest of her life.
An abandoned baby, a treasure hunt, a secret. As Amy sets forth on her quest, listeners will be swept away by this engrossing gem of a novel - the wonderful debut by newcomer Tracy Rees.
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Don't miss out on this one.
- laurie eller