The Lost Book of Eleanor Dare by Kimberly Brock (review)

With a deceptively meandering pace, The Lost Book of Eleanor Dare by Kimberly Brock wends its way through the history of a family as Alice returns to her childhood home for the first time since she was thirteen and failed to realize the gift of the female descendants of Eleanor Dare and began to blame herself for a tragedy that had already been set in motion.

Set toward the end of World War II this is a story of reckoning with the past, of grief and loss, and the love and perseverance of generations of women beginning in the early history of America and the lost colony of Roanoke. As Alice and her own thirteen year old daughter Penn navigate the secrets and the history of their family along with the realities of the family estate, Evertell, and the community that Alice had left behind.

Blending mystery, family drama, true history and Southern mysticism, Kimberly Brock has crafted a story of generations and the legacy that haunts and shapes them. This is a captivating work of historical fiction. Recommended.

This review refers to a temporary digital galley that I requested and read via NetGalley, courtesy of the author. A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book

The fate of the world is often driven by the curiosity of a girl.

What happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke remains a mystery, but the women who descended from Eleanor Dare have long known that the truth lies in what she left behind: a message carved onto a large stone and the contents of her treasured commonplace book. Brought from England on Eleanor’s fateful voyage to the New World, her book was passed down through the fifteen generations of daughters who followed as they came of age. Thirteen-year-old Alice had been next in line to receive it, but her mother’s tragic death fractured the unbroken legacy and the Dare Stone and the shadowy history recorded in the book faded into memory. Or so Alice hoped.

In the waning days of World War II, Alice is a young widow and a mother herself when she is unexpectedly presented with her birthright: the deed to Evertell, her abandoned family home and the history she thought forgotten. Determined to sell the property and step into a future free of the past, Alice returns to Savannah with her own thirteen-year-old daughter, Penn, in tow. But when Penn’s curiosity over the lineage she never knew begins to unveil secrets from beneath every stone and bone and shell of the old house and Eleanor’s book is finally found, Alice is forced to reckon with the sacrifices made for love and the realities of their true inheritance as daughters of Eleanor Dare.

In this sweeping tale from award-winning author Kimberly Brock, the answers to a real-life mystery may be found in the pages of a story that was always waiting to be written.

The Lost Book of Eleanor Dare by Kimberly Brock | Harper Muse, April 2022 | ebook, 416 pages