After the Eclipse by Fran Dorricott – Blog Tour / Excerpt

AftertheEclipse_USSynopsis: A stunning psychological thriller about loss, sisterhood, and the evil that men do, for readers of Ruth Ware and S.K. Tremeyne 

Two solar eclipses. Two missing girls.

Sixteen years ago a little girl was abducted during the darkness of a solar eclipse while her older sister Cassie was supposed to be watching her. She was never seen again. When a local girl goes missing just before the next big eclipse, Cassie – who has returned to her home town to care for her ailing grandmother – suspects the disappearance is connected to her sister: that whoever took Olive is still out there. But she needs to find a way to prove it, and time is running out.

After the Eclipse had me holding my breath for long stretches of time without even realizing that I was doing it. This is a tense thriller about the possibly related disappearances of two young girls sixteen years apart.  Cassie, whose younger sister vanished on the night of an eclipse years ago, returns to the town where the event took place to take care of her ailing grandmother. When another young girl goes missing, she’s sure the two incidents are related. Guilt over not having been able to protect her sister drives her to try to find out what has happened to the second girl, even at the cost of re-opening old wounds. The search for the girl is as much about healing herself as it is about saving the child, and I couldn’t help but root for Cassie, even though there were times when I just wanted to shake her.

Read on for an excerpt from the book, and be sure to visit the other blogs on the tour!

  1. – set-up (616) p.25-27

The missing girl, according to the article on my phone, had left school at half past three on Friday and hadn’t made it home. No note, no indication that she was going anywhere. None of her friends knew anything. I scrolled down the article with the tip of my finger, itching for more information, when Henry’s gravelly chuckle brought me back to my senses.

“All right, you’re not stubborn,” Henry said. “But I do think it would do you good. Give you a bit of focus. And anyway, it’s an excuse to go and see—”

“Don’t say it,” I grumbled. “I haven’t seen her since her dad’s funeral, Henry. That was three years ago. Why would she want to see me now? It would be too…”

“Awkward? Come on, darling. I’ve heard the way you two talk on the phone. She can’t get you to shut up. She’s your Juliet.”

“Oh God. Don’t start that again. Just because you’re super into gay marriage doesn’t mean I have to be. Besides, it didn’t exactly work out for the best for Romeo did it? I’d rather stick with Rosaline.”

Henry let out a barking laugh but didn’t press me any further. We chatted for another few minutes and I could almost pretend that I had everything under control.

Then Henry said, “Helen asked about you, you know. I told her you were okay. She seemed glad.”

The pit in the bottom of my stomach opened right up and I thought my heart might fall in. I swallowed. Truthfully, it didn’t hurt that she’d dumped me as much as it hurt that she didn’t think we could stay friends. That, and the flat I’d lost when she said it. Moving to Bishop’s Green had seemed like a good way to start over, to move forward, to stop wallowing and do something different, but I’d forgotten how isolating it could be here. How lonely. I hadn’t even told Henry that my only friend in town was the guy who sold me coffee.

“Thanks,” I said softly. “Yeah, I’m okay. Talk later.”

I hung up, pushing down the frustration. My gaze fell on my phone again, and I caught sight of the photograph in the article. Grace Butler’s face was round and pink and scrubbed clean for a school picture. Blonde hair, blue eyes. She was positively angelic.

MISSING.
Pictured: eleven-year-old Grace Butler, who disappeared on her way home from school on Friday, 13 March.

A growing sense of unease filled me as I read the article for the third time. Her stepdad, Roger Upton, was pictured as well, looking dishevelled and distraught.

She’d been missing two days and they were already dragging the lake. Christ. I shook my head and pushed back the awful memory of that other time, sixteen years ago. Men on the lake, boats, a crowd gathered at the edge of the water.

I’d watched it unfold on Gran’s television set, shaking and unable to believe that it was real. That it was happening. That Olive wasn’t going to walk into the bedroom any moment and complain that I’d hidden her library book, and our summer holiday with Gran and Grandad wasn’t going to go right back to being boringboringboring.

The memory gripped me tight. I saw the relentlessly blue sky – not even the decency of rain. The wind barely stirring the trees around the lake. The woman on the screen tolled a number that was growing and growing. A hundred and forty- six hours since the eclipse. A hundred and forty-six hours since she’d vanished. A hundred and forty-six hours since I’d made the worst mistake of my life.

And now it was happening again.

 

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