Gillespie and I by Jane Harris – review

image-medium (72)Harriet Baxter, a 36 year old spinster in 1888 goes to live in Glasgow and meets a young artist, Ned Gillespie, whom she had previously met briefly in London.

She becomes involved with his family, and for no apparent reason, begins to look upon herself as his patron and mentor. In spite of obvious deep affection between Ned and his wife, she also likes to think of herself as closer to him. The story eventually descends into tragedy with the youngest child dying and Harriet being accused of her murder.

When it came to the part about the kidnap and death of the child Rose, it seemed quite impossible that an uneducated servant girl would have been capable of inventing such a complicated plot of discovering all the details of Harriet’s bank account. Plus the great unlikelihood of Harriet losing all the receipts from the refurbishment of her uncle’s house. She was after all a a very well organised person, helping to put in order the accounts for the Gillespie family.

Her relationship with her stepfather, who offers her a house to live in but tells her he will be abroad, when in fact he is in London, is strange. He obviously wants as little to do with her as possible. In the final part, she suspects that the carer she employs is the “evil” child Sybil who wants to harm her and she goes to great the lengths to prove it.

The book is over 500 pages and a bit long. Rating by Leeds readers of between 3 and 5 stars