Under the Harrow
by Flynn Berry
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 14 Jun 2016 | Archive Date 31 Mar 2017
PENGUIN GROUP Penguin, Penguin Books
The riveting, Edgar Award-winning first novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Northern Spy and A Double Life
When Nora takes the train from London to visit her sister in the countryside, she expects to find her waiting at the station, or at home cooking dinner. But when she walks into Rachel’s familiar house, what she finds is entirely different: her sister has been the victim of a brutal murder.
Stunned and adrift, Nora finds she can’t return to her former life. An unsolved assault in the past has shaken her faith in the police, and she can’t trust them to find her sister’s killer. Haunted by the murder and the secrets that surround it, Nora is under the harrow: distressed and in danger. As Nora’s fear turns to obsession, she becomes as unrecognizable as the sister her investigation uncovers.
A riveting psychological thriller and a haunting exploration of the fierce love between two sisters, the distortions of grief, and the terrifying power of the past, Under the Harrow marks the debut of an extraordinary new writer.
Named one of the "10 Best Mystery Books and Thrillers of the Year" by The Washington Post
Named one of the best books of the year by The Atlantic
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 56 members
This delicious little morsel of a book is filled with the most vividly written prose I have found. It drew me in and wrapped me in its warmth refusing to let me go. It's dark and chilling, and it will haunt you right to the bones. I was so engulfed by the writers rich and descriptive imagery of Nora and her fellow bookmates and England, that if I closed my eyes I could easily see it. As Nora investigates not only her sister's death, but an assault that had preceded it by 17 years, she learns much about her sister and herself that she never knew. I couldn't put it down, Ms. Berry has a gift, a gift of flawless storytelling, and I hope she continues to use it.
Intense and gripping. Flynn Berry deftly weaves a tale of murder, obsession, and what happens to the loved ones when a family member is murdered and they are no longer a police concern. Berry skillfully takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride through the emotions and shock experienced by Nora when she discovers her sister's body. Fabulous book and kept me enthralled until the very last moment,
What an alluring and thrilling novel! Under the Harrow starts out with a woman finding her sisters dead body and takes you on quite the adventure from there. The writing is beautiful and the story and characters are quite complicated. I could not put the book down and look forward to reading more by this unique new author.
Under the Harrow is Flynn Berry's debut novel. Nora is traveling to her sister's home for the weekend. She's a bit late, but when she arrives Rachel isn't there to meet the train. Nora instead walks to the house where she finds Rachel and her dog - brutally murdered. Rachel was attacked as a teenager and the crime was never solved. Since then, she and Nora have always combed the crime reports, attended trials and more in an attempt to find the man who assaulted Rachel. Could he have found her after all this time? Is it someone in the village? A lover? A jealous wife? A stranger? "Rachel said there was something wrong with the town, only a few weeks ago" The search for answers consumes Nora - she stays in the village, unable to return to her own life. She becomes obsessed, certain she can find the killer as she feels the police aren't making any headway. Under the Harrow is of course a mystery - there are many suspects offered up. And I liked that I was kept guessing until the very last pages. But Under the Harrow is also an exploration of the relationship between the two sisters. How well do we really know those we love? How well do we know ourselves? What does such a calamitous event do to a person's psyche? For me, this was the strongest part of the book. Berry puts us in Nora's head - her staccato thoughts, memories, hazy recollections and fractured thinking is mirrored in her dialogue and actions. The reader is kept off kilter, trying to keep up with Nora's galloping 'stream of consciousness' thoughts. And I began to question Nora's memories. Are they true or her remembered truths? The title? It's a C.S. Lewis quote from A Grief Observed: "Come, what do we gain by evasions? We are under the harrow and can't escape." This was a strong debut and an author I would pick up again.