Book Review: Fyneshade

Many would find much to fear in its dark and crumbling corridors, its unseen master and silent servants. But not I. For they have far more to fear from me…

Kate Griffin ~ Fyneshade


On the day of her grandmother’s funeral, Marta discovers that she is to be sent away from the only home she has ever known. Away from her aunt who despises her, and the man she has been forbidden to marry. She is to be governess at Fyneshade, her charge the young daughter of the owner, Sir William Pritchard.

All is not well at Fyneshade. Sir William is mysteriously absent, and his son and heir Vaughan Pritchard is forbidden to enter the house. Marta finds herself drawn to him, despite the warnings of the housekeeper, Mrs Petrie, that Vaughan is a danger to all around him. But Marta is no innocent to be preyed upon. Guided by the dark gift taught to her by her grandmother, she has made her own plans. It will take more than a family riven by murderous secrets to stop her…


Imagine what would have happened if Jane Eyre had a vengeful streak? Depending on your imagination, this might go a little way in explaining Fyneshade. But only a little.

This book offers everything you could possibly want in a gothic novel: an old house, mysterious secrets and a tinkling, musical monstrosity. Add a governess with her own agenda, a motherless child, plus a wayward son and you have the bones of Fyneshade.

Kate Griffin has taken the darkest elements of Jane Eyre and The Secret Garden, added some gruesome details from The Turn of the Screw and created something that is wholly unique, terrifying and brilliant.

Marta may be a complex character, but she remains relatable – although perhaps not likeable – for do we not all want to better ourselves in some way? Her actions are meticulous and ordered, playing with people and objects with little consideration for their feelings. This behaviour may seem spiteful and vindictive to many, but it’s still understandable.

Kate is a true storyteller and her words engulf you and take root within, catapulting you straight into a house where tradition and expectations are not always what they seem and it’s never clear who is holding all of the cards. Whilst our protagonist believes she controls her own destiny, little does she know with whom and what she is dealing.

Parts of the story are sickening, repulsive and nausea-inducing. There is scandal, shock, betrayal and lust – everything one could hope for in a book.

Fyneshade is dark, salacious and inviting, a gothic delight that will stay with you. However, readers should note what happens to those of us who play with fire…

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Thanks to Viper Books for my proof copy. Opinions my own.

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