The Beloved Girls by Harriet Evans

Title:  The Beloved Girls
Author:  Harriet Evans
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing 
Genre:  Women's Fiction
Format:  Kindle
No. of Pages: 465
Date of Publication:  10 May, 2022
My Rating:  4 Stars

My Thoughts 

Lengthy and tense with a family, a house, and ritual, add richly atmospheric writing, and a heavy dose of mystery to this novel and you’ve got a slight idea of what you’re thinking about reading. This story was so richly crafted that my recap only gives you a concept of what you’re maybe looking at. 

I’ll be honest, this was reading that required patience and attention - this isn’t a fun, fluffy read, it’s not really dark but there is a definite creepy factor in parts.  The story moves back and forth over three separate timelines and there’s a deep tension all throughout. I found the beginning a little slow but it picked up nicely and I found that I was captivated by this one, and raced through the rest of it, so I could find out what the ending would be. 

eARC kindly provided by Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley, Opinions are my own.


"It's a funny old house. They have this ceremony every summer . . . There's an old chapel, in the grounds of the house. It's half-derelict. The Hunters keep bees in there. Every year, on the same day, the family processes to the chapel. They open the combs, taste the honey. Take it back to the house. Half for them -" my father winced, as though he had bitten down on a sore tooth. "And half for us."

Catherine, a successful barrister, vanishes from a train station on the eve of her anniversary. Is it because she saw a figure - someone she believed long dead? Or was it a shadow cast by her troubled, fractured mind?
The answer lies buried in the past. It lies in the events of the hot, seismic summer of 1989, at Vanes - a mysterious West Country manor house - where a young girl, Jane Lestrange, arrives to stay with the gilded, grand Hunter family, and where a devastating tragedy will unfold. Over the summer, as an ancient family ritual looms closer, Janey falls for each member of the family in turn. She and Kitty, the eldest daughter of the house, will forge a bond that decades later, is still shaping the present . . .

'We need the bees to survive, and they need us to survive. Once you understand that, you understand the history of Vanes, you understand our family.'


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