Beyond the Yew Tree by Rachel Walkley

In Beyond the Yew Tree, I was transported to the city of Lincoln in this atmospheric ghost tale. Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of either The Last Thing She Said or The Woman of Heachley Hall.

Thank you very much to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for letting me taking part in her book tour for Beyond the Yew Tree. I was given a free ARC of the book in return for an unbiased review.

Laura has just started jury duty for a trial of defrauding a charity for the blind. While in court, she starts to hear mysterious buzzing and hissing, which change into whispering voices as the days pass. She is haunted by terrible nightmares of a Victorian gaol which force her to learn more about the mysterious woman. On her way home one evening from the court, Laura bumps into Sean, who works for the museum. He offers to help her find out who this woman is and uncover her story.

Beyond the Yew Tree was released on 27th March 2020 and is available through Amazon on Kindle and in paperback. You can also borrow a copy through Kindle Unlimited.

My review

There were so many layers to this book — I really enjoyed how everything unravels throughout the story. Laura alludes several times to things from her past that affect her now. There is also the story of Craig Brader, who is on trial for defrauding a charity for the blind. Finally, there is the mystery surrounding the ghost who is haunting Laura at court, in her visits to Lincoln castle and in her nightmares.

All three are expertly twisted together by Rachel Walkley. I loved how this was done and how the threads of justice, honesty and guilt are woven together. This book is the perfect balance of historical fiction, mystery and the supernatural (with a dash of romance for good measure!).

The pacing is quite slow, especially at the beginning, but this builds up the atmosphere around the historic buildings in the story. Rachel’s writing really brings Lincoln to life — I visited a few years ago and was instantly transported back. I also really enjoyed the dual timeline, as the book transports the reader to a blind woman’s experience in the 1800s. All of the characters feel so realistic and all of the conversation flowed really naturally. I could picture all of Laura’s fellow jurors!

At the start of the book, Laura describes her life, her career and her relationship with her absent boyfriend, Marco. She describes how he just got up and left for Italy to be with family during an emergency several months ago — and has barely spoken to her since. I was screaming at her internally to just accept that it was over as text messages went ignored. I loved her transformation into someone who is more confident and sure of herself, and who is willing to be more flexible and accept other people’s opinions. She also gains the confidence to speak up at the end of the trial, and ensure that justice is done.

I have never done jury service but have always wanted to, and Laura’s experience in this book made me want to even more! Rachel captures what it’s like so well that I was not surprised to see in the Afterward that the story was inspired by her own jury service experience.

Book blurb for Beyond the Yew Tree

Whispers in the courtroom.

Only one juror hears them.

Can Laura unravel the truth by the end of the trial?

In an old courtroom, a hissing voice distracts shy juror, Laura, and at night recurring nightmares transport her to a Victorian gaol and the company of a wretched woman.

Although burdened by her own secret guilt, and struggling to form meaningful relationships, Laura isn’t one to give up easily when faced with an extraordinary situation.

The child-like whispers lead Laura to an old prison graveyard, where she teams up with enthusiastic museum curator, Sean. He believes a missing manuscript is the key to understanding her haunting dreams. But nobody knows if it actually exists.

Laura is confronted with the fate of two people – the man in the dock accused of defrauding a charity for the blind, and the restless spirit of a woman hanged over a century ago for murder. If Sean is the companion she needs in her life, will he believe her when she realises that the two mysteries are converging around a long-forgotten child who only Laura can hear?

Ordinary women.

Extraordinary experiences.

Rachel WalkleyAbout the author, Rachel Walkley

Aspiring writer who pens Women’s Fiction and magical tales about family secrets.

What else?

An East Anglian turned Northerner — almost.

Information professional, always.

Biologist, in my memories.

Archivist, when required.

Amateur pianist and flautist.

Reluctant gardener.

Scribbler of pictures.

And forever… a mother and wife.

Oh, not forgetting, cat lover!

You can find out more about Rachel on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up for her newsletter to be the first to hear about her future books!

Beyond the Yew Tree was released on 27th March 2020 and is available through Amazon on Kindle and in paperback. You can also borrow a copy through Kindle Unlimited.

Giveaway to win one copy of The Last Thing She Said or The Woman of Heachley Hall (Open INT)

(If the winner is in the UK then it will be a print copy, otherwise International winner is e-book.)

Terms and Conditions – Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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