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The Midnight Feast

Recap, Summary & Spoilers

The Full Book Recap and Chapter-by-Chapter Summary for The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley are below.

Quick(-ish) Recap

The four-paragraph version: The book takes place during the opening weekend of The Manor, a luxury resort hotel on the coast of Dorset, owned by Francesca Meadows, a former local resident who has been gone a long time but has inherited the land. Francesca is from the wealthy Meadows family, though the rest of the locals are largely poor. Among the locals there are superstitions about The Birds, a group of hooded figures that are said to exact their own brand of justice when necessary. By the end of the weekend, there's been a fire at The Manor and multiple deaths.

The book jumps between the perspectives of Francesca, Owen (her new husband), Bella (a guest at the hotel), and Eddie (a 19-year-old local who is on staff). It also flashes forward to the perspective of DI Walker who is investigating the body found at the base of a cliff nearby by the end of the weekend and who later discovers two dead bodies trapped inside by the fire. Bella's old journal entries also show that she and Francesca knew each other 15 years when Bella's family stayed nearby for the summer.

It's revealed that the summer Bella hung out with Francesca, Francesca accidentally killed someone, Cora, by giving her brownies laced with poisonous mushrooms. Bella and her boyfriend Jake witnessed it, but they were threatened by Francesca and her grandfather not to say anything. Jake soon went missing with his moped found having careened off the side of a cliff nearby. Meanwhile, Owen turns out to be a very poor former local resident who is hiding his true identity from his wife.

Bella is at The Manor in order to reveal where Cora's body was buried. Owen is the one who finds it and it turns out Cora was his mother who had him at 16. When Francesca tries to get away after being confronted with her crime, Eddie accidentally chases her off a cliff. Francesca's (sexual predator) twin brothers are the ones who died in the fire. In the end, it turns out Jake survived but turned to drugs for a while. He got clean and became DI Walker, and he returned because he heard about the opening of The Manor. Owen inherits everything from Francesca and begins plans to turn it into a community center in honor of his mother.

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Chapter-by-Chapter Summary

Opening Night
The Day Before the Solstice
The Evening of the Feast
Two Months Later

The page numbers refer to the hardcover version of the book.



The book prefaces a description of a car idling near the edge of the woods and a “message left in a hollow tree”.

The story then opens in a clearing in the woods, describing figures in black robes with “beast” heads. Nearby, an old man sits, dead, with a feather in front of him.

Opening Night

Opening Night (June 2025), pages 6 – 7

In June 2025, it’s the opening night of The Manor, a luxury hotel along a cliff’s edge near the Dorset coastline. Behind the main building is a densely forested area with smaller cottages referred to as the “Woodland Hutches”. Tonight, a celebration takes place presided over by Francesca Meadows, owner of the Manor.

The party is disrupted by a rag-tag group of locals who confront Francesca about The Manor’s intrusion into the forest and accuse her of paying off the council. They mention that there is a “unique convergence of ley lines here”. The group is quickly ushered away.

Bella Springfieldis a guest staying by herself at one of the hutches.

The Day After the Solstice

In a flash forward to just before 5AM on the Sunday morning of the opening weekend (the day after the Solstice), three fishermen notice a fire and see that it’s at the new hotel, The Manor. They phone the police.

Opening Night, pages 10 – 25

Eddie, 19, is part of the staff at The Manor, assigned to do dishes, and a Dorset local. Eddie hopes to prove himself and get moved up to being able serve drinks and whatnot in the next few days. He hopes to eventually become a bartender. Eddie was once a rugby player in school, but an ACL injury made that impossible. His friend and co-worker Ruby is Trinidadian, from London and starting school at Exeter soon. She’s part of the front-of-the-house staff.

A woman approaches the bar and asks Eddie to make her two drinks and bring them to her room, Woodland Hutch #11. Eddie agrees even though he’s not supposed to be making drinks and he’d be in trouble if his manager, Michelle, caught him. Ten minutes later, Eddie brings by the drinks, but the woman, Bella, asks him to stay and keep her company, saying that the second drink was for him.

As Eddie chats with Bella, he hears someone having loud sex nearby. Bella then makes a move and starts kissing Eddie. He tries not to think about his ex, Delilah (“Lila”) Rayne. Bella then says she needs to go to the bathroom. Eddie is nervous about the whole situation and gets up to leave. But before he does, he sees some articles that Bella has collected about Francesca with the word “CUNT” scrawled at the top.

When Bella exits the bathroom, Eddie’s gone, and Bella feels embarrassed. She’s been acting out of character as an experiment and now she feels foolish. She thinks about her daughter, Grace, at home, who her mom is currently watching. Bella works as a receptionist at a real estate agency and doesn’t feel like she belong here. She wonders what anonymous person sent her the article about The Manor’s opening.

The Day After the Solstice

After seeing the fire, the fishermen near the remnants of The Manor and see a dead body in the water near the bottom of the cliffs, though the face was completely destroyed by the impact of the water.

Opening Night, pages 27 – 50

Meanwhile, Francesca is feeling positive about opening night. She calls Michelle to ask her to deal with a situation, and Michelle eagerly says yes.

Francesca inherited this land from her grandmother, and today she scatters her grandfather’s ashes out into the sea. She recalls how he had been a bit odd before his death, and she recalls him telling her urgently and repeatedly not to “upset the birds”.

When she returns to her apartment, her new husband Owen Dacre is back from the gym. Francesca and Owen, an architect she met while developing The Manor, married a few months ago after a whirlwind romance. The go to the bedroom, and Francesca finds a black feather on the pillow.

After sex, they talk about Michelle and how Owen considers her to be a bit tacky and a busy-body, but Francesca says she’s good at her job. Own also thinks about how Francesca doesn’t really know him that well and that he’s a fraud.

Back at the bar, Eddie chats with Michelle about how some guests wanted to be moved out of the Woodland Hutches because they felt like they were hearing strange sounds and seeing lights from the woods. Michelle also says there’s some locals partying by the beach in front of The Manor and asks Eddie to go talk to them to get them to leave, noting that his help in this matter wouldn’t be forgotten.

Eddie goes to talk to the partiers, but before he gets a word out he gets hit from behind. Eddie then sees Nathan Tate hovering over him. Nathan is there with Eddie’s ex, Delilah. She had been a not particularly successful TikTok fitness influencer, which he was never really into. Eddie broke things off with Delilah last year after a disturbing event happened in the woods that he couldn’t forget.

Eddie explains that they’re disturbing the peace, but Nate and Delilah don’t seem to care. They complain about how The Manor has tried to gate off the beach so it’s now only accessible through The Manor or by boat.

Eddie then talks to Delilah privately, noting a feather on her necklace. Eddie recoils, saying that he recognizes from when they “found him” and that she should’ve left it for the police. Delilah is dismissive and mocks him for believing in “the Birds”.

Bella looks outside and thinks she sees a figure at the edge of the woods.

She also thinks about how her hutch was 50% off because it’s the one that’s closest to the construction noise that will be going on tomorrow, but she’s not concerned about it.

The Day After the Solstice

The fisherman pull up next to the dead body and the topic of “the Birds” briefly comes up, but they dismiss it as fairy tales. The police soon arrive to investigate the body.

Opening Night, pages 53 – 60

Eddie gets home and hides from his mother that he’s been working at The Manor. She talks about The Manor and how terrible it is and Francesca are. His mom says they claimed they were only going to sell local produce at the Manor’s farm shop, but turned away his father and their local produce without a glance when he went over there.

When his dad gets home an hour later, Eddie assumes he’s probably drunk. His dad heads to sleep without any explanation of where he’s been.

Owen is in the storeroom taking a bottle of wine when he runs into Michelle. She pleasantly mentions that she’s been wondering why their inventory isn’t adding up. She good-naturedly promises to keep his secret. Despite her being clearly unperturbed by the discovery, Owen is unsettled by the encounter.

The Day Before the Solstice

The Day Before the Solstice, pages 62 – 72

The next morning, Eddie’s father, Harold, wakes up late despite the farm chores that need to be done. Eddie’s unable to milk the cows because he’s allergic to cows. He thinks about how his brother was always more suited to farm work and taking over the farm than he was, but his brother is gone now.

Kris, one of their two farmhands, tells them that Ivor, their bull, is missing. Eddie’s mom says they should notify the police, and afterwards Eddie notes that his father seems oddly unbothered by their bull being stolen.

Soon after, Eddie heads to the manor for work. He spots Bella in a private area, walking up the steps to Francesca’s quarters. She does something he can’t see and heads back down.

Eddie is headed toward the staff entrance when he runs into his mother, dressed in a cleaning uniform. They both realize at the same time that they’re working there, and they both agree not to tell Harold about it, knowing how angry he would be if he found out. His mom says that Harold thinks she works at the Spar.

Bella leaves The Manor and heads toward the cliffs. She then continues on to a cave near a mobile home park (“holiday park”). There, she finds a package wrapped in several plastic bags and she unwraps a notebook with a map.

Then, Owen kitesurfs into the cave as well and tells her it’s not safe to swim here, but Bella tells him that she’s fine and he leaves.

Summer Journal (July 23, 2010 – July 29, 2010), pages 73 – 79

In a series of journal entries, a 16-year-old girl staying at Tate’s Holiday Park (the mobile home park owned by Graham Tate, father of Nathan Tate) talks about finding a large fossil on the beach and meeting a new friend there. The girl is there for the summer with her parents and is befriended by a wealthy local girl (a young Francesca, who goes by “Frankie” at that time), who invites her to her grandparent’s place nearby, The Manor (also known as Tome Manor), to go swimming.

She also comes across a small, dark-haired boy the others nickname “Shrimp” as well as a toffee-colored hair boy named Tate (Nathan Tate).

The girl spends the next few days hanging out with Francesca, who nicknames her “Sparrow”.

Back at the mobile home park, her parents chat with Graham who warns her to be careful around Frankie’s family. They talk about how one of their horses that wasn’t properly trained once accidentally killed someone, and they didn’t bother trying to compensate the family. Instead, “the Birds” administered justice by killing off all their horses.

The girl also meets Frankie’s twin brothers, Hugo and Oscar. Hugo tells her that Frankie like to collect people like other people collect stuff. They warn her that she’s Frankie’s newest “flavor of the month” until the next one comes along.

The Day Before the Solstice, pages 80 – 90

Owen heads hack to the Manor and passes by the holiday mobile park. He thinks about how they have big plans for that space to turn it into a glamping site, but they have other priorities to develop first.

When he arrives at their apartment, Owen sees that someone has nailed a dead bird to their door and there’s an envelope tucked under the door. Michelle sees him as he’s trying to remove the carcass from the door. Michelle offers to go get Francesca, but Owen tells her not to.

Meanwhile, Francesca’s inside getting an IV bag to feel refreshed, and checks out the video feed for the security cameras she had placed (illegally) in all of the rooms at The Manor. She notes that there’s only one person staying alone, Bella Springfield.

When Owen comes inside, he doesn’t mention the dead bird. He does mention the woman traveler who ended up exploring the cave with the hidden beach, and Francesca is certain that it must’ve been Bella Springfield.

The Day After the Solstice

Detective Inspector Walker meets up with Detective Sergeant Heyer to check out the dead body near the cliffs. An old man, who they identify as Graham Tate, tells them he saw the whole thing at that it was the Birds who did it. He says he saw someone in all black chase this person off the cliff and fly away.

They inspect the scene and find a steep pathway down from the cliff as well as a broken bottle of Bell’s whisky nearby.

The Day Before the Solstice, pages 98 – 99

Bella finds a note in her room, inviting her to a midnight feast tomorrow night for the hotel guests. The dress code is described as “woodland coronets and white”. The description of a “midnight feast” angers Bella.

At breakfast, Bella is on the lookout for Francesca and meets her gaze and a chill passes in the air.

Summer Journal (July 31, 2010 – August 1, 2010), pages 100 – 105

In a series of journal entries, the girl nicknamed Sparrow describes Frankie inviting her to a “midnight feast” the next day. The girl is reading a book called “Bella” by Jilly Cooper, and Frankie comments that “Bella” is a nice name and that she should go by that instead of “Alison“.

Later, the girl meets someone cool at the mobile park, Cora, and tells her that her name is “Bella”.

The next night, Alison/”Bella” goes to the midnight feast near The Manor. Frankie leads her, her brothers and a girl wearing a tracksuit to a clearing in the woods. A girl in a tracksuit tells them that this “The Tree with a Hundred Eyes” and it is where The Birds meet and that they shouldn’t be here.

In the tree, there’s a long narrow slot, and the tracksuit girl says you can use the tree to leave messages for the birds if you want them to do something for you, like get revenge for you. They then head towards an old treehouse.

Frankie then pulls out a bag of pills and says that it’s their midnight feast. They take the pills, but Bella discreetly spits hers out. Frankie and Bella then split off, leaving Hugo and Oscar with tracksuit girl in the treehouse.

Frankie then sets up a bunch of tealights with the fossil Bella had previously found on the beach in the middle. She tells Bella to lie down since she’s a human sacrifice and she’s trying to summon the Birds, but then says she’s joking. Afterwards, she tells Bella that next time she should swallow her pill since it’s “no fun” if she doesn’t and she hates when people let her down.

The Day Before the Solstice, pages 106 – 112

At breakfast, Francesca reacts to the sight of a face that feels out of place to her, someone that shouldn’t be there.

Owen goes into the woods to check things out and prepare for the construction of their Treehouse project. The woodcutter, Jim, objects to cutting down some trees, saying they’re elder trees and that it’s bad luck to cut them down. Owen is frustrated by the superstition, and says he’ll cut them himself.

There’s other trees marked for hewing, and Jim points out that they’ve all been marked with a symbol of a bird in flight. Jim warns him that the symbol is likely a warning not to cut down those trees. When Owen insists, Jim tells him he can have his money back and that he doesn’t want the job. Owen takes Jim’s chainsaw and starts cutting down the trees himself.

Afterwards, Owen looks at the envelope that he found earlier tucked under their apartment door. It’s addressed to “Frankie” though he’s never heard Francesca addressed that way. The note says: “Meet me in the woods at midnight. Just like old times? Beneath the tree with a hundred eyes. It’s been a while. We have a lot to discuss.”

Owen wonders who it’s from and what history they have with Francesca.

The Day After the Solstice

Heyer tells DI Walker they found a black feather, likely belonging to a raven or crow, in the hand of the victim.

The Day Before the Solstice, pages 115 – 117

Bella is lounging in the infinity pool when she hears Hugo Meadows chatting with someone about the fun they used to have in the woods.

Summer Journal (August 2, 2010 – August 7, 2010), pages 117 – 126

The day after the midnight feast, Bella thinks about the toffee-colored hair boy (Nathan Tate) that she met earlier that summer, and she sees his friend “Shrimp” again the next day.

On August 3, there’s a storm and the power goes out. They find a mangled bird claw under the pool cover at The Manor. Francesca worries that they could’ve actually summoned The Birds. She tells Bella to go to the pool house to fetch the pool net. Bella goes to get it, but is ambushed by Hugo, who sexually assaults her.

Bella decides not to say anything to Francesca about it and just pretends it didn’t happen. When she sees Hugo shortly after, he acts like nothing happened. Bella also comes across tracksuit girl who is hostile towards her, and Bella suspects that Hugo and Oscar must have assaulted tracksuit girl in the treehouse after she and Frankie left them together.

Francesca soon asks her to have another midnight feast with her, and Bella agrees.

The next day, they go back to the treehouse and are freaked out when they see a symbol of a bird all over the treehouse. Inside, they find Hugo’s tracksuit stuffed with straw to look like a body and a head that looks like a bird. There’s also a note that says “The Birds are Watching”.

The Day Before the Solstice, pages 127 – 140

Bella is in the pool when someone notices that there’s a bonfire on the beach. A few boats pull up and a crowd of locals are gathered there. Suddenly, they start launching stones from the beach into the pool area at The Manor. The guests scream and clear away.

Meanwhile Francesca goes in for a Reiki treatment at the spa. As they do the treatment, Julie warns her that there is an enemy near her who would “do you harm”. Francesca asks Julie to try to figure out who it is, and Julie offers to try something her grandmother taught her involving an egg. She asks Francesca to look in a candle flame and tell her what she sees and Francesca sees a bird.

In the woods, Owen heads back after cutting down some trees. He shoos some crows away on his way back. Michelle intercepts him and tells him that she recognizes him. She says that he’s “Shrimp”. Owen then realizes that Michelle is “Shelly” from the fish and chips shop. Owen gets upset, being reminded of himself as the weird, poor kid whose mom left him. Owen threatens to get Michelle fired, but Michelle reminds him that he has more to lose than she does.

The Day After the Solstice

DI Walker makes his way to The Manor with Heyer. On the road, they see a barefoot girl with a torn silver dress. They ask her if she was a guest and what happened. The girl, who identifies herself as Delilah Rayne, says she’s not a guest and that she got into a fight with her boyfriend last night and that she didn’t see anything.

They drive past Seaview Farm, a downtrodden farm nearby, and nearby the see the wreckages of an expensive silver Aston Martin convertible with the license plate D4ACRE. There’s no one in the car, but there’s blood on the steering wheel.

The Day Before the Solstice, pages 146 – 150

Bella heads into the town of Tome and sees the village cross, a stone structure, in town with a stonework panel nearby depicts “The Birds”, twelve hooded figures standing in a circle. One of the figures holds a feather. A woman nearby, who turns out to be a local vicar, explains that this was once a way to remind people to “keep the peace” and remind them that there would be justice delivered if they didn’t.

At the pub, Bella recognizes the leaders of the group that had launched stones at the pool. The people refer to each other as “Nate” and “Lyles”.

Near the restrooms, Bella spots a room with a door slightly ajar where she can see a structure with hundreds of woven, twisted branches, but she’s ushered away from the private room before she can get a better look.

Summer Journal (August 9, 2010 – August 15, 2010), pages 151 – 154

Bella has been taking a break from the manor and hanging out with someone named Jake instead. They go bodyboarding and run into Shrimp.

Soon, Bella returns to the manor, but she finds Frankie hanging out with Cora. Soon, Cora is there every afternoon instead of it just being Bella and Frankie. Cora is an artist, and Frankie mentions the possibility of talking to her grandfather about showing some rich people her art, but then doesn’t seem to have any intention of actually doing it.

The Day Before the Solstice, pages 155 – 161

Eddie and Ruby are talking about how they’re being told to wear costumes for the feast tomorrow when Hugo interrupts them. He says that there’s a big investor showing up tomorrow and it’s important that he receive special treatment.

Hugo leaves, and they notice a couple hunched over outside the front doors. The woman throws up. Ruby goes to check on them and finds out that they found a large amount of blood in the woods.

Francesca is peaceful mood is interrupted by the commotion at reception. Ruby and Eddie tell her what happened and ask if they call the police. But Francesca tells them not to and instead tells Ruby reassure the guests that they are looking into it and that it’s nothing to worry about. She tells to Eddie to get some water and clean up whatever it is in the woods. She instructs another staff member, Dan, to help him, and she gives both of them a 500-pound bonus for taking care of things.

When Francesca gets back to the apartment, Owen gives her the small envelope he found addressed to her with the note about meeting at midnight in the woods. Francesca thinks about seeing “Sparrow” again and suspects that the card is from her.

Summer Journal (August 17, 2010), pages 162 – 163

Frankie, Cora and Bella head into the woods together for Cora’s first midnight feast. Bella gets separated from the other two and gets scared. She has a feeling of being watched, and then hears creepy music playing, a man signing a kids’ song called “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic”.

The Day Before the Solstice, pages 164 – 165

That night, Francesca excuses herself, and Owen checks to see where she’s going on a tracking app that he secretly installed on her phone.

The Day After the Solstice

DI Walker and Heyer come across a man who is a VC (investor) who was visiting the twins about potentially investing. He says he had a terrible time though after being ditched by twins. He also says Dacre was a total mess last night and that he saw him running out of the woods like he was possessed.

The Day Before the Solstice, pages 168 – 177

That night as dusk falls, Bella heads into the woods.

Eddie and Dan are headed to the woods as well clean up the blood that the guest found. Eddie thinks of the times he and Delilah would sneak into the woods to have sex and he recalls how Delilah liked to sing her version of “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic”. However, he also thinks about the last time they went to the woods and found old Lord Meadows there, dead.

Eddie and Dan soon run into Nate and Delilah in the woods. Then, in the clearing, they see the blood.

Meanwhile, Francesca is at the apartment checking out the feed for Bella’s room, Woodland Hutch Number 11. She confirms that it’s who she thinks it is, Bella/Sparrow. She also checks other feeds to see that Bella was headed toward the woods 30 minutes ago.

Bella soon arrives at The Tree of a Hundred Eyes.

Summer Journal (August 18, 2010), pages 178 – 179

After being creeped out and separated from the others in the woods, Bella had run to Frankie’s grandfather’s study in the woods, hoping he could tell her how to get back. Instead, she had seen Cora in there with him. Bella had turned to run and then was grabbed by Frankie.

Frankie tells her she saw hooded figures in the woods. Bella tells Frankie she saw her grandfather and Cora together in his study. Frankie is angry when she hears this, mad about what would happen if her grandmother found out.

The Day After the Solstice

DI Walker and Heyer approach the burn-down Manor and find a notebook labeled “Summer Journal” on the ground, but the pages are torn out.

The Day Before the Solstice, pages 182 – 196

Dan is creeped out by the sight and runs away. Eddie stays and sees that the blood is from Ivor (their family bull) who has been killed.

When Eddie finally heads back, he runs into Bella, who asks him to accompany her on the way back to the Manor. Eddie consents, but they soon stop when they see something up ahead. They realize it’s a group of hooded figures in a circle and Eddie is frightened. They have Ivor’s head and they place it in the center of the circle. Suddenly, they notice the presence of Eddie and Bella, and Bella tells Eddie they need to run.

Meanwhile, Francesca has plans for Bella of her own, and she takes a Japanese ceramic knife with her in preparation and heads to Bella’s hutch.

Owen sees that Francesca is headed to Bella’s hutch on his secret tracking app. Owen then goes to talk to Michelle. He suspects she’s hiding something and demands to know what it is by threatening to get her fired, but Michelle tells him that she knows he started a fire in town the night before he and his father left Tome. When he relents, they end up kissing and getting intimate. He notices a mark just above her left breast.

At Bella’s hutch, Francesca starts looking around and finds the safe. She knows she could get the master key from Michelle, but Francesca manages to guess the safe combination. Inside, there’s a pink iPod with headphones. She listens to the song and it unnerves her. She then heads back to her place and it’s late. Owen isn’t there, but she sees on the feed that he’s in the wine storage room with Michelle and that they are being intimate. She takes the knife from before and plunges it into his pillow.

The Day After the Solstice

At The Manor, DI Walker and Heyer see that the guests are scattered around the lawn. DS Fielding tells them some of the guests reported seeing cloaked, masked figures last night.

They also say there were a couple people that were trapped inside during the fire in a wine cellar and they likely won’t survive. The wine cellar door was bolted on the outside so it is likely someone locked them in there on purpose.

The Day Before the Solstice, pages 200 – 202

Bella gets back to her hutch and finds a cryptic note on her pillow from Francesca, saying she’s “sorry I missed the reunion” and that she’ll make it up to her tomorrow.

Bella thinks about how it’s been 15 years since that “horrible” incident happened. That was also the year she became a mother to Grace. Since then, she’s been living with guilt and it has defined her life and relationships.

Summer Journal (August 19, 2010), pages 203 – 204

Bella notes in the journal that Frankie has been upset and Bella’s been unable to cheer her up. Bella tried playing music from Frankie’s iPod and heard that creepy song she heard in the woods instead. Frankie then admitted that all the creepy stuff in the forest was her. She says she got the ideas from the book she was reading, Legends of Tome, and that she did it out of boredom.

Bella realizes then that what Francesca had seen in her was someone who could be a “gullible little idiot”.


Solstice, pages 205 – 212

Eddie is still shaken by the sighting of the cloaked figures in the woods. Eddie hunts around the house for his mom’s sewing kit since his costume for the Midnight Feast needs to be altered, but he finds a black mask in the cupboard instead. There’s also a heavy dark fabric with feathers sewn into it, a black cloak and black gloves.

Eddie then thinks about how his dad has been gone for hours without explanation. He also thinks about how his Dad hadn’t reacted that much to finding out that Ivor was missing. Eddie thinks about it and decides that it’s better if his dad isn’t involved with The Birds if it’s real and decides to hide all this stuff to protect him from himself.

Owen wakes up next to Francesca the next morning after having cheated on her with Michelle. He feels disgusting and stupid for endangering their relationship.

Bella wakes up feeling suffocated by the heat. She goes out to the hidden cave to let herself think.

Summer Journal (August 20, 2010 – August 21, 2010), pages 213 – 217

Despite their falling out, Frankie text Bella the next day to hang out. Bella also runs into Jake who says she never responded to him, but Bella says she never got the text. He shows it to her on his phone, and Bella remembers that Frankie had been using her phone and wonders if she deleted the text from him.

Bella hangs out with Jake, and he takes her to a hidden cave near the cliffs. Bella mentions that she and Frankie had picked some magic mushrooms, but Jake says that magic mushrooms don’t grow there and they likely shouldn’t be eaten. Bella texts Frankie about it.

They start fooling around, but hear someone coming, though the other people leave. When Bella gets home, she sees that Frankie is hanging out with her parents. Frankie apologizes for what happened and invites Bella, her family and her “boyfriend” (Jake) over for a barbeque.

Solstice, pages 218 – 229

Bella wonders if she should just head back to London and never look back. On her way back to her hutch, she sees Eddie and realizes why she had the urge to try to seduce him. She realizes that Eddie looks familiar and that he must be Jake’s younger brother. Thinking of Jake, it renews her sense of purpose and reminds her of what she’s doing here, and Bella takes the map she has with her and gets the idea to flag down a construction vehicle that she sees nearby.

Meanwhile, Francesca is preparing for the solstice feast. She is still upset about her discovery of Owen and Michelle, but she needs them both in a professional capacity right now. She then looks up at the sky and sees a huge flock of black birds darkening the sky and landing on the lawn.

Eddie and Ruby see the birds and start working on trying to scare them off. Francesca comes running out to the lawn and does the same, but in an unhinged way. Eddie and Ruby then see that the birds are being attracted to birdseed that has been scattered all over the lawn.

Owen thinks about how he once threw the match that burned down Tome’s old pub, The Crow’s Nest, before he and his father left town as a kid. He’d picked that place because it was the heart of the town and he wanted it all to burn. Today, Owen sees the birds in the sky and feels it’s a bad sign. He then hears the sound of construction machinery, even though construction isn’t slated to begin until tomorrow. He goes to check out the situation, and finds that now only have they started, they’re not even digging in the right place.

Owen frantically tells them to stop, but they say that Francesca instructed them to start today and to dig there. The guy says that she showed them a map. Owen tells them to pause until he talks to Francesca. Owen turns to leave, but then one of the guys say they’ve actually found something in the pit they’ve dug.

The Day After the Solstice

DI Walker is brought into the woods to check out something they’ve found in a pit that they’ve now cordoned off.

Solstice, pages 232 – 234

Francesca orders Ruby to go find Michelle to deal with this bird situation. Michelle reassures her that she’ll handle the situation.

Meanwhile, in the woods, Owen helps the men continue digging and when it’s close to done, he says he’ll continue digging out the object — a human skeleton — by himself.

The Evening of the Feast

Solstice / The Evening of the Feast, pages 237 – 238

Just before the feast, Bella has been waiting for hours for the discovery at the pit that she set in motion but nothing seems to happen. Finally, she returns to the site and finds the pit empty. Instead, there’s a metal object inside.

Summer Journal (August 22, 2010), pages 239 – 240

The night of Frankie’s BBQ, Jake agrees to go with Bella. Before they go, Cora comes to find Bella and says she really needs the cleaning job at the Manor and asks her to talk to Frankie so she can have her job back. Cora also says she only went in there to talk to Frankie’s grandfather about her art and he got grabby, but nothing happened.

Solstice / The Evening of the Feast, pages 241 – 243

The guests start to arrive for the feast in headdresses and white outfits. The staff are dressed in horns and green robes. Eddie thinks he sees Nathan Tate lurking in the crowd of faces but can’t fathom why he’d be there.

The Day After the Solstice

DI Walker sees the pit is empty and he’s told the remains were found a short distance away. The skeleton is wrapped in blude plastic and appears to have been dragged away.

Solstice / The Evening of the Feast, pages 244 – 250

Francesca makes her entrance and looks out at the crowd, looking for Bella/Sparrow. Meanwhile, Bella listens to Francesca’s introductory speech. She sees Hugo and Oscar speaking to someone who looks vaguely familiar (Michelle). She sees the pool and is reminded of herself at the pool so many years ago.

Summer Journal (August 23, 2010), pages 251 – 253

After the BBQ, Bella is distraught. She writes about how night began with Frankie asking Jake to help get ice. When he returned Hugo had pushed Jake into the pool, and Bella had jumped in to join him. The two had then kissed, and she separated from him to see Frankie looking upset.

Solstice / The Evening of the Feast, pages 254 – 261

Eddie soon sees Nathan onstage with a guitar and Nate’s friend Gareth Turner sitting at the drums. Delilah also appears in a silver dress and she steps up to the mic and begins to sing beautifully. Eddie overhears some guests saying they should get her in contact with someone.

However, the mic soon goes out and the song “Firestarter” from The Prodigy starts blasting on the speakers. Eddie sees that Nate and his friend are no longer onstage while Delilah looks shocked and angry. Afterwards, she finds Eddie and tells him that she’s worried what Nate has planned, since she knows he’s angry and she doesn’t know what he’s up to.

Francesca is milling around in the crowd trying to act like this was planned, though it wasn’t. She gets mad at Michelle for the gatecrashing first act of the night since none of those three were supposed to be there. Michelle promises to find them and get them out of there. Francesca then overhears a guest talking about a creepy art installation on the beach, but she knows there wasn’t anything planned for the beach so she heads over to check it out.

The Day After the Solstice

Heyer reports to DI Walker that they’ve found fire accelerants at the back of the property so they believe the fire was started deliberately. The three victims — the two from the wine cellar and the one at the base of the cliff — are now lined up in body bags and he sees that one of them has a distinctive streak of white hair.

Solstice / The Evening of the Feast, pages 263 – 265

Eddie tells Delilah to hide under the table. Meanwhile, Bella comes to talk to him and says that she recognizes him as Jake’s brother. Bella asks to speak to Eddie privately. She tells him he needs to know the truth about Francesca in case something happens to her. They go into a cabin to talk, and she hands him her journal to read.

Summer Journal (August 23, 2010), pages 266 – 274

When Bella and Jake get out of the pool, Frankie is weirdly friendly towards Jake, and Bella feels uneasy. Frankie offers them brownies which Bella feels certain are laced with something and she knows she doesn’t plan to eat it. She wants to tell Jake not to either.

Then, the gates buzzer sounds. Bella warns Frankie that it might be Cora, since she mentioned the party to her. Frankie simply shrugs and opens the gate. Cora comes in and wants to talk to Frankie, but Frankie declines and offers her a brownie instead.

The party goes on and eventually Frankie suggests going into the woods. Frankie insists on leading them in, but when they get to the end of the garden, Bella and Jake agree to peel off on their own and leave Frankie and Cora. They go and hide out in the grass tennis court, but then they hear screaming.

They ran into the woods to find Frankie leaning over Cora. Bella asks Frankie if the mushrooms she picked were in the brownies, and Jake notes that Cora isn’t breathing. Bella gets mad at Frankie, saying that she told her they weren’t magic mushrooms. Jake notes that Cora has no pulse.

Solstice / The Evening of the Feast, pages 275 – 291

In the woods, Owen wakes up in the pit and realizes he passed out from the discovery of the body. He realized the body was that of his mother (Cora), who he had always believed had left them. He didn’t realize she had died. Owen lifts her body out of the pit.

In the room, Bella fills Jake in on the rest of the story, since her diary ends there since she wasn’t able to write anymore. She says that Jake didn’t eat his brownie because he didn’t like chocolate so the two of them were fine. Jake carried Cora out of the woods. Frankie and her grandfather met them outside the woods. Jake asked if an ambulance was on the way, but instead Frankie’s grandfather assured him he’d handle the situation in an appropriate way.

Frankie then accused Bella of being the one to give her the mushrooms, and continued to claim that she didn’t get the text from Bella about not eating the mushrooms. Frankie’s grandfather says it’s suspicious that Bella and Jake didn’t eat their brownies. Frankie then accused Bella of hating Cora and being jealous of her.

Frankie’s grandfather then threatened Bella, telling her to let him handle things or else their family has the resources to make things difficult for her. He also threatened Jake and his family’s farm. Finally, he brought them to the library and handed them each an envelope full of cash.

When they were alone, Jake then mentioned to Bella that Cora had a kid, which Bella didn’t know. He said that Shrimp is Cora’s son, who she had at 16. Jake insisted they needed to make Francesca pay for what she’d done, but Bella was unsure. Bella then went to sleep and when she woke up, Jake was gone and she never saw him again.

Soon, Bella had heard her father saying that Jake’s motorcycle had somehow gone over the cliff and that they were searching for his body.

Francesca makes her way to the beach to see what the commotion is about. She sees a figure in a dark cloak but then it seems to disappear. Then she sees the sculpture, large and hideous, with a bird face and covered in dark feathers. Suddenly, it goes up in flames.

Eddie then tells Bella that Jake didn’t die. Instead, he rode off the cliffs but must’ve changed his mind and skidded at the edge and survived. However, after that day Jake was never the same and started doing drugs and stealing. He sold off his dad’s tractor without permission for money and his dad was furious and never wanted to see him again.

Eddie says they don’t know where he is now.

Their conversation is interrupted by Ruby who is looking for Eddie because she needs his help. She says that all the guests are behaving oddly. When he sees them it’s clear they’re all high off their faces. Eddie then thinks about the sparkling cider they served to all the guests and remembers overhearing Nathan saying that he had a friend who worked at the organic cider farm and that The Manor had placed a huge order. He suspects Nathan was the one who put drugs in the cider.

On the beach, Francesca sees Bella there, looking at her.

Solstice / The Evening of the Feast, pages 293 – 323

Eddie goes to talk to Nathan and sees that he has three cans of petrol with him. Eddie tells Nathan to just leave. When Nathan refuses, Eddie tells Nate that he knows he was the one who used to supply Jake with drugs. Nate responds that Jake was the one who messed up his own life and that it was entertaining to watch, and Eddie punches him in the face.

Francesca greets Bella with fake cheerfulness. Bella demands to speak to her privately and threatens to make a scene otherwise. Francesca agrees and the two go into the library. Alone, Bella reminds Francesca of Cora’s death, and she says that she’s here for justice. Bella says she knows Francesca moved the body, but she has evidence and thinks about Cora’s Celtic knot ring that she has in her bag.

Francesca seems confused about her reference to the body, and Bella wonders of she truly didn’t know what happened. Bella recalls how all those years ago, after Cora’s death, Bella had returned the next day to learn from Frankie’s grandfather that Francesca and her brothers had left the area. He’d shut the door in her face, and Bella had walked away, but she’d seen the area of raw looking dirt and marked it on a map.

Bella tells Francesca to admit what she’s done, but Francesca refuses and hits her with a blunt object — the fossil that Bella once found on the beach that had been stored in the library. Bella’s legs give out and Francesca leaves her lying on the library floor as Bella slips from consciousness.

Back outside, Francesca gets a series of calls from Owen. She finally picks up. Owen tells her about the discovery of the bones. Francesca remembers how her grandfather had taken care of things, but she never know how. She feels a prickle of unease.

Owen says that he thinks that the body he found was his mother’s body, and Francesca blurts out that she can’t believe Owen’s mother was “Cora the cleaner” since it contradicts a lot of what she knows about him — but in doing so, she realizes that she’s inadvertently admitted to knowing about Cora’s death.

Francesca worries about what she’s revealed and then spots Michelle which reminds her of her anger over Owen’s cheating. She marches iver to fire Michelle and tells her to leave. But Michelle responds that Francesca is the one who should leave.

Then, a group of cloaked hooded figures appear behind Michelle, who admits to being one of them. Michelle tells Francesca that her brothers assaulted her in the treehouse and likely did the same to others. Francesca finally recalls that she was the girl in the tracksuit that she, Bella and her brothers once went into the forest with.

Michelle admits to putting the birdseed on the lawn and spiking the cider. Michelle says that they know Francesca killed someone and that she has an hour to leave or else.

Owen then shows up after having tracked Francesca’s location on his secret app. Francesca looks guilty and bolts.

She sees the gatecrashers near the rear of the building and can smell the petrol that they’ve scattered. She thinks of how Bella is the one who truly knows about the murder and how she’s still in the house and she encourages them to do it. When they don’t, Francesca throws a lantern on the petrol herself, knowing she can always claim that they did it and collect insurance.

As the fire begins to grow, Francesca starts to formulate what she’ll say to explain the body. She recalls how Bella saw her grandfather and Cora together and thinks of how she can blame the death on her late grandfather. She then gets into the Aston Martin to drive away.

When Bella awakes, she can smell smoke and when she gets outside, she sees Francesca getting into a silver car to drive away. Eddie sees her and that she’s bleeding and tries to help her, but Bella insists that the important thing is to prevent Francesca from getting away.

Eddie goes to try to find an ice pack for Bella, but runs into Nathan instead. Nathan apologies to Eddie for supplying Jake with drugs. He also tells him about how Francesca was the one who started the fire. Nathan is determined not to let Francesca get away with blaming him.

Owen sees Francesca driving away and is also determined not to let her get away.

Francesca is driving off when she sees a dark hooded figure. She tries to swerve but ends up flinging herself and the car sideways. Francesca then proceeds on foot but the dark figure is still there and she’s disoriented and soon finds herself plummeting down.


The Day After the Solstice, pages 327 – 336

As the sky lightens in the morning, Eddie is exhausted after having spent many hours dedicating himself to getting people safely out of the burning building.

Bella is getting medical attention from the paramedic and thinks about returning back to her daughter. She thinks about Cora and how she and Francesca had seen her as being cool and older while Cora had likely seen them as two girls who didn’t understand the pressure and responsibilities she had.

Seeing the officers, Bella is shocked when she recognizes one of them.

DI Walker is on the scene when he sees Eddie and they each register one another. DI Walker asks to be left alone and then tells Eddie that it’s him, Jake, and that he’s back. He tells Eddie that he’s heard what a hero he was and that he’s proud of him. Eddie tells Jake that he knows what happened all those years ago and points to Bella as the one who told him about it.

Bella then comes over to talk to Jake. She asks if he was the one who sent her the clipping about The Manor’s opening, and Jake admits he was. Jake explains that he’s been working as a policeman specializing in cold cases, and when he’d heard that Francesca had “waltzed” back here as if she’d done nothing wrong, he knew he had to return.

Jake also explains that he brought Owen back here too by contacting his office to tell them about The Manor’s construction project. Jake didn’t expect Owen to conceal the truth about who he was or for him to fall for Francesca.

Jake then tells Bella that they’re waiting for confirmation, but he’s fairly sure that Francesca is dead and that hers is the body they found at the bottom of the cliffs.

Eddie then tells them more about happened last night…

Solstice / The Evening of the Feast, pages 293 – 323

In a flashback to the night before, Eddie explains that after he saw the silver Aston Martin headed towards the gates, he’d taken a bike on the cliff path. He knew the car had a much windier path to travel and he hoped to intercept it. He then donned the Birds outfit that he’d confiscated from his house.

He’d stood in the road and Francesca had swerved and gotten out on foot. He then chased her, but just as he was about to reach her, she had tumbled off the cliff.

Two Months Later

Two Months Later, pages 341 – x

As her husband, Owen inherits all of Francesca’s assets. He goes from once being the poorer than the rest of the locals to being the true “Lord of the Manor” overnight. At first he wants to sell the place, but it’s also his mother’s final resting place. In honor of his mother, Owen decides to convert it into a public-orientated project with a community center and opening up the woods to the public again

Eddie’s house is different now that Jake is home and reunited with his family. There’s a strangeness with everyone thinking that he’s a hero for saving people from the burning building because Eddie also knows he was the one who chased Francesca off a cliff.

Eddie’s mom finally confronts him with a black leather glove and asked if he was the one who took the Bird costume from the house. Eddie realizes that it was his mom and not his dad that owned the costume and is a Night Bird. His mom explains that his dad just went missing for hours because he was off playing Fortnite, a video game.

Eddie then thinks back to what he and Delilah saw — Lord Meadows dead — so long ago. Eddie’s mom admits that they visited him to scare him and says that a guilty conscience likely did the rest.

At the pub, Bella thinks about how she never got a confession from Francesca, but she was able to help them find Cora’s body. Hugo and Oscar Meadows were the two people who suffocated inside the hotel.

At the table in the back, Bella notes that Jake and Eddie’s mother is there along with some other older folks from town.

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