The Alden Castle Estate, an old rich house, reminiscent of English Gothic castles, has ominously overlooked the sleepy little town of Paso – quickly becoming a hipster little town – for over one hundred years. The house speaks of richness and opulence; it has a vineyard attached, its own graveyard and a glass pavilion shining on the hills. But a house like this can only hold secrets – many old secrets.
The Alden-Stowe family is weighed down by said secrets, in-fighting, and bitterness. No one seems to get along – unless it’s for their own gain, of course. Add to that a mounting debt, and tensions rise. The Alden Castle holds a clause that it can only be sold if the whole living family is unanimously in agreement, which is nearly impossible for a family so used to arguing. On top of that, add billionaire developers, who seem to disregard all the family’s conditions, and things can only get ugly.
And they do: they find a body in the graveyard, a fresh one, only three or so months old. It’s been burned and then buried unceremoniously, only discovered by the billionaires’ development project. One body. It could be an accident. But when they find another body in the chimney, the police begin to investigate. What they find is a twisted web of rivalries, alliances, deceit, and treachery – and more deaths.
Overington follows a whole host of characters, switching effortlessly between their stories. There’s Jesalyn, the wife of the dead son to the Alden Castle patriarch. Her daughter, Eden, seventeen and in the grip of first love. The old owner, with dementia, and the hot cowboy… what could possibly go wrong? Overington’s characters are homages to Gothic storytelling, reinvented in fresh, modern ways.
The house and the land play a huge part in The Lucky One too. Overington has homes both in Australia and in California, so it’s no wonder she captures the warmth and laziness of this produce-rich region of the world. The land sings as if another character in the book, and this has undoubtedly become characteristic of Overington’s writing, whether it be set in Australia or California.
The Lucky One will leave you breathlessly turning every page to find out just whodunnit. It’s a brilliant novel, and you’ll struggle to put it down just until you know who the lucky one is.
Caroline Overington is a bestselling Australian author and the Associate Editor of The Australian newspaper. She has been a foreign correspondent in New York and in Hollywood, and has previously worked for The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, and the Australian Women’s Weekly. She has written eleven books, including some prize winners. Caroline lives in Sydney with her family, including twins, and an adored blue dog.