Amanda Fox is a young girl pulled from the life she knows and dropped into Godfrey Hall, an old house with a secret on the South West coast of England where it never seems to stop raining.
When left alone in the house, she hears something in the dark confines of the dining room. It comes from the mosaic doors and she soon finds out the mosaic seems to move when she's alone.
The mystery of the mosaic consumes Amanda's life and with the help of others, she finally discovers the secret and finds a way to open them for the first time in over two hundred years.
BUY THE BOOK
On their second night in the house, her mum cooked in the kitchen while Amanda laid the table for their meal. It was an alien process to her, something they'd never done back home. They always used to have their meals in front of the TV, out of their laps—TV dinners her dad had called them. She just thought it was cosy. Mostly, they did it because there wasn’t room for a dining table in their old house, but here, there was more than enough room and she couldn’t avoid having a more formal meal setup.
She glanced over at the mosaic doors that were the focal point of the room. They were a pair of double doors standing six feet high at least. Across their surface was a motif; tiny little tiles all shaped and placed together in a bizarre picture. It portrayed a man in his small fishing boat, angling in the rough, dark sea for whatever catch he could find. The sky was dark, overcast with thick clouds. Here and there, a patch of pale blue shone through, but to no avail for the lonely man. At the bottom of the picture there was land, a rocky shoreline of great big boulders, grey and covered in moss and seaweed. Below that, a grassy verge.
Stepping closer, she wanted to reach out and touch the tiles, but at the same time feeling a pang of revulsion. Silence reigned and as she stood there before the doors, the only sound she could hear was the pulse racing through her veins. Her hand, moving as if it had a mind of its own, pushed forward until her fingers finally came to rest on the tiles, cold and smooth. At that moment, her dad walked into the room. He froze as he glanced at the doors, then at his daughter.
Stepping forward he grabbed her wrist and wrenched it away. “Amanda, don't you go near those doors,” he told her. He gripped her arm a little too tightly, the flesh beneath his fingers white. She pulled her arm free in shock, staring at him. For a moment they stood there in silence. She’d never seen her dad act in such a way. He was usually the more placid type. “They're old and probably worth a lot of money,” he added as if in explanation.
“I was just looking!” she snapped at him, turning back to the table and straightening cutlery. He didn't have to worry at all. Her gaze flickered to the doors momentarily and a chill raced across her body. Hugging herself against it, she resumed her duties.
A few minutes later, her parents joined her, laden with plates of food, and their meal began. Eating in the dining room felt too formal and a deep silence permeated the room, the only sound was cutlery scraping against the plates. As she looked up again at the mosaic right in front of her, the turbulent waves underneath the greying sky.
“I don't like it.”
“You don't like it?” Her dad glanced up at her, his brows furrowing beneath his dark hair which was beginning to grey at his temples, salt and pepper dots here and there. It wasn’t like that a month back. Amanda realised then that the move was taking its toll on her dad, and probably her mum, too. She resolved to stop taking her anger out on them. Sure they’d moved her to a place she hated, but maybe it couldn’t be helped after all.
She could tell that her dad knew what she was looking at without having to turn around and she shook her head sharply in response, feeling her hair whipping her shoulders, soft and smooth. The gentle scent of vanilla floated up to her and a momentary sense of calm filled her, but it didn't last long.
“Why not?” he asked.
His question had her squirming. Why don't I like it?
Suddenly, she realised that the mosaic had been created from the scene visible when glancing out of the middle window in her bedroom. That scene was beautiful, almost overwhelming but she didn't like the picture, not one bit and didn't know why. She couldn't place her finger on it, but the doors made her uneasy.
“It feels...eerie.” The word wasn't right, it didn't explain how it made her feel, but it was the only thing that popped into her mind.
A huge guffaw erupted from her dad's mouth. Her cheeks burned hot with embarrassment and she dropped her head, toying with her food.
“Don't laugh at her, Kevin,” her mum told her dad before urging Amanda to go on.
“But, don't you think there's something wrong with it?” Amanda asked, pressing her opinion. She glanced at her mum, hoping for some back-up. Her parents turned their heads to look at the picture. A silence ensued once more as even the cutlery paused. Each of them stared at it for a while, observing the man in his boat, the granite sky above him.
“When we were talking to the estate agents they told us there’s a room beyond the doors that hasn’t been seen for a long, long time,” her dad piped up, his voice quiet, serious.
“So we don’t even know what’s behind those doors?” Amanda repeated, eying the mosaic. If it really was a set of doors that led into a secret room, she couldn’t tell how they were opened. There weren’t any handles or keyholes or anything.
He shook his head. “They haven’t been opened.”
“And you don’t think that’s a little creepy?”
“Not at all.”
“But there's nothing at all wrong with it,” her dad continued, scooping up another forkful of food. “It's a fine picture, a piece of art. And you're not to go near it,” he repeated in his matter-of-fact tone. “At least not until we have it appraised.”
“Don't worry, I won't.” Her voice came out more hostile than she intended. She dragged her eyes from the scene depicted on the doors, a hard feat since she was sitting opposite them. Despite the fact that she tried to focus on the meal set out in front of her, Amanda couldn’t shake the feeling she was being watched from the room beyond the doors.