Cloven - Sally Spedding
From my review on Amazon
This is a dual time book with lots going on, its part historical drama, part ghost story and part modern day crime mystery and a bit of romance too and they all merge in together very well.
In the present day Ivan buys a rural cottage to live the dream of escaping city life and bad memories of a fatal accident in which he was involved, to launch his range of handmade pottery and teach evening classes in the same subject.
Back in 1830 young Sian, injured by trampling cattle and disabled as result sets off from Wales on horseback with her despicable brother who is a drover. He has been commanded to take her to London to seek treatment for her badly maimed leg and injuries which have left her mute, able only to communicate in whispers - whispers which travel across time and begin to haunt Ivan.
Ivan inadvertently gets on the wrong side of some local gangs, whole families who seem to rule the area involved in crime, mayhem and bloody murder. He becomes obsessed with the beautiful Jo but mystery surrounds her and Valerie the terse doctors wife with her tragic past seems to be the only person who sympathises with his increasing plight.
Meanwhile the story of Sians vile treatment at the hands of her brother and other evil characters goes from bad to worse I found I liked this part of the story set in the past best and became really immersed in the historical part of the book.
I found it pretty complicated as there are so many different storylines going on and lots of characters, especially in the present, several of whom by half way through I had no idea who they were or how they connected to the events.
Some of Ivans motives seem rather strange and there is a real undercurrent of evil nastiness that at times I found a little distasteful. Yet the book compelled me to keep reading and it was fast paced, spooky and scary.