Based in Brisbane, Australia, Bindro's Bookshelf is a blog by Jade. Her posts explore the book lover life through book reviews, discussion posts and taking on too many reading challenges in the year.

Book Review: Larkswood

Book Review: Larkswood

A dark family past, a granddaughter trying piece everything together and a house that has contained generations of secrets.



By Valerie Mendes | Standalone

My rating: 5 stars | Pages: 400

What made me pick it up: I found the book while hunting through Book Depository’s bargains and saw using the library extension app that my library had copies in stock. Plus, I can’t resist a gothic historical fiction novel

Format: Paperback | Source: Library

2018 challenge/s: Goodreads 2018 Reading Challenge

This book contains incest. Please consider as to whether this is the right book for you
— Content Warning


The eye of the sun winks on the horizon. 
The dawn chorus begins: a fluttering of wings, a swirl of cheeping song. In particular, the song of the lark. It rises clear and glorious into the sky and beyond.
Harriet lifts her dusty, tear-stained face.
Day has begun. The chorus is a reminder, a warning.
— Valerie Mendes

Dual timelines coming together to reveal secrets seems to be one book trope I can’t resist. I hear about a family past, an old house that has weathered it all and the terms historical fiction and I am sold.

Larkswood is the family home that Edward has finally returned to after all these years. He ran or was forced out a long time ago and those ghosts still haunt him to this day. Louisa is Edward’s granddaughter who falls sick during ‘the season’ and is sent to stay with her grandfather at Larkswood.

Louisa is not necessarily thrilled to be sick, but she is happy to be away from her mother and sister who are very much ruled by societal norms. Louisa likes to read and explore and begins to form a relationship with her grandfather who has been abroad for most of her life.

Louisa forms a friendship with the gardener and is enjoying her time at Larkswood but she is a smart girl who is able to figure out that something isn’t quite right and begins to piece together the mystery and the secret that tore the siblings apart all those years ago.

Edward, Harriet and Cynthia are close siblings until that summer begins a chain of events that leads to one secret after another being buried deep within Larkswood.

Louisa is getting close to the truth and could jeopardise her new, fragile relationship with her grandfather and the sanctuary she has created at Larkswood. As a second World War approaches, Louisa’s world is about to change in more ways than one.

I loved Louisa as a character and how she still loved her family but stood apart from her mother and her sister’s influence. She was happy to live a much simpler life, albeit still one of privilege but she is always willing to help others.

The past storyline is intense and keeps building and I loved the points of view from Harriet, the sister who is on the outside, like Louisa, trying to uncover what is happening and when she does, she wishes she never knew at all.

I love family reunions and bringing the gang back together and I also love ‘where are they now’ storylines. Piecing together what happened to the siblings and seeing where they ended up is super interesting and I loved seeing how the tragic family events shaped them and their personalities.

This book has a lot of mixed reviews on Goodreads but I was glad I went into this one blind, just knowing it was about family secrets and set in the past. I really enjoyed it but as I have mentioned, this story hit a lot of my sweet spots, being historical fiction, dual timelines, uncovering dark family pasts and bringing the gang back together, mixed in with a protagonist that I really liked. I may have been frustrated by some of her choices but I could understand her reasoning and motivations and that is all I want from the characters I read.

green leaf divider.jpg

Larkswood had a main character that I could get behind which helped drive the plot of uncovering the past. The broken family coming together, still with fractures but trying to heal just really made me love this book so much.

2018 Reading Challenges: 

Have you read Larkswood?  Do you recommend any other interesting gothic historical fiction? I would love to know your thoughts and recommendations in the comments below.

5 stars.

Book Reivew Larkswood by Valerie Mendes Bindro's Bookshelf.png
#24in48 Readathon Jan 2019

#24in48 Readathon Jan 2019

Book Review: The Chalk Man

Book Review: The Chalk Man