Set in the early years of the Great Depression, this book is the story of a riding camp in the mountains of North Carolina for wealthy southern girls. I honestly thought this book was written for me – I love historical stories set in the south and the situation of a group of entitled young things isolated from the realities of the world around them was enticing. However, the first THREE HUNDRED pages are all coyly trying to lead you to guess the great mystery of why the main character of Theodora Atwell was sent there from Florida. Hint: she has a male cousin a couple of years older than her. BIG HINT: as soon as she arrives at the camp, she is instructed by the headmistress “if you notice anything unusual, anything… bodily, please come and see me at once.”
OMG. What on earth could she have done???? I’d better keep reading several hundred more pages in the hope I can unravel this great mystery.
Sadly, there was no twist. Thea doesn’t turn out to have been bitten by a zombie nor a radioactive spider. She is simply a very bad girl. Apologies if you consider this to be a spoiler, but this all made quite clear in the first twenty or so pages. From there, it’s lots of descriptions of mountains, horse riding and not a lot else. Frankly, I was so irritated by the great mystery being so heavy handed, that I found it really difficult to enjoy the rest of this novel. But, lots of other people seem to like it, so you might too.