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The Testament of Vida Tremayne

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Original Language: English (UK) | 400 pp. | 2014

2 Seas Represents: English (USA & Canada), French, Dutch, Portuguese, and Nordic rights.

PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER

A lonely novelist, A devoted fan, A journal that speaks of unspeakable things…

Author Vida Tremayne lies silent in a hospital bed. The forces which brought about her terrifying decline are shrouded in mystery. Meanwhile, her estranged daughter Dory is forced to abandon her fast paced city life to be by her mother’s bedside. Dory is resentful. She hates the country and she and her mother were never exactly close. Luckily Vida already has a carer, the enigmatic Rhiannon Townsend. A long-standing fan of Vida’s, Rhiannon is happy to take care of the bedside vigil. Dory is free to resume her life. Or is she?

Then she discovers her mother’s journal. Vida’s chilling testament reveals the trigger for her spiralling into madness. It also reveals the danger that still lurks close by. A danger that will call on Dory’s every reserve of courage if she’s to free her mother, and maybe in doing so, to free herself.

Help is at hand in the form of Vida’s friend and loyal fan, Rhiannon Townsend, who is staying at the cottage. Rhiannon promises to take on the hospital visits so that Dory can get her life back on track. It’s a hard offer to refuse. After all, Dory’s relationship with her mother has never been exactly cosy. First though, she engages Riley, a local builder who turns up asking about an unpaid bill, to get the house market-ready in her absence. However, her journey south is aborted after an en route phone call to Riley to check on his progress. It seems he’s refusing to work at the house with Rhiannon left in charge. Dory returns to the cottage to find that Riley has been there before her, apparently searching for something. Rhiannon confirms that while working at the house a few weeks back, Riley took advantage of Vida’s fragile state of mind, encouraging her advances.

Meanwhile, Vida is displaying signs of agitation. The doctor tells Dory that her mother has been disturbed by her niece’s visits; the ‘niece’ who has been trying to encourage Vida to write again. Shocked at Rhiannon’s duplicity, Dory bans further hospital visits. Later she discovers journals hidden in the boot of Vida’s car. They reveal that Vida had taken part in a programme designed to free the artist within. A programme in which Rhiannon exercised control of Vida’s every thought and movement. As for the totem animal which Vida must release in order to create again, Dory would rather not think about that. Although maybe, just maybe, she has seen the creature slinking along the edge of the woodland which borders Vida’s garden. If only she can free her mother, Dory begins to realise then maybe she can free herself. And unlikely though it seems, it could be she’s the only person who can do it.

Sarah Vincent lives in the South Shropshire countryside with her husband and her Jack Russell terrier, Beryl and writes in a converted coal shed at the back of the house. In the early days she juggled writing with various jobs as a care assistant, school dinner lady and museum guide. For the past twelve years she has worked as an editor for two leading Literary Consultancies. She also teaches Creative Writing online, and gets a buzz out of helping new writers achieve their goals. She loves world music, and visiting art galleries when she’s in town. Her greatest thrill though is going off-grid for a few days, and camping in remote places in her tiny caravan.