Thursday, November 01, 2018

Shivery Gothic Tale Another Winner From Ware

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Working as a tarot card reader on a Cornwall pier has given Harriet "Hal" Westaway certain skills.  The 21-year-old has learned to read not just fortunes, but people.  That's how she knows the loan sharks sniffing around her booth mean serious business.  If Hal doesn't pay her dead mother's debts and soon, some very dangerous men are going to end her card-reading days forever.  

When Hal receives a notice informing her she's received a large inheritance, she knows it's too good to be true.  The letter has obviously been delivered to the wrong person.  Hal's too desperate, however, not to see this unexpected opportunity as the lifesaver she's been praying for.  With the acting skills she's honed over a lifetime of boardwalk bewitching, she just might be able to convince complete strangers to give her the cash she needs to save her life.  

As soon as Hal steps inside mysterious Trespassen House, it becomes clear that something very, very strange is going on with her newfound relatives.  She's come too far to back out now, but is the prize worth tangling herself up in whatever sinister plot is afoot in the Cornwall countryside?

I've enjoyed all of Ruth Ware's psychological thrillers, but her newest—The Death of Mrs. Westaway—is my hands-down favorite.  The story revolves around a likable heroine whose pitiable situation makes her wholly sympathetic.  Hal is intriguing, as is the situation in which she finds herself.  With creepy, Gothic overtones, the tale is a compelling and shivery one.  Its atmospheric setting, mysterious characters, and twisty, propulsive plot combine to make The Death of Mrs. Westaway an engrossing, can't-put-it-down thriller. I loved it.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other books by Ruth Ware, including In a Dark, Dark Wood; The Lying Game; and The Woman in Cabin 10)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (a dozen or so F-bombs, plus milder expletives) and violence

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

12 comments:

  1. I loved this one too. May be my favorite as well. I did like Ruth Ware's first book a lot. In any case, this one suited my Gothic love completely.

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    1. I love an author who just gets better and better! And I agree -- the Gothic atmosphere was PERFECT.

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  2. First of all, how on Earth did she receive the nickname Hal if she is named Harriet? ๐Ÿคจ
    Second of all, this sounds pretty cool. I'm curious to see if this was all a mistake or is she is actually related to these people.
    H! I noticed that fine to find comment at the end ๐Ÿ˜„

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    1. Hmm ... I read this book back in June so I can't remember if it explains the nickname or not. Probably. And yes, it's definitely a cool book. Lots of twists and turns!

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  3. Love the Tarot element in this one, and of course, the mysterious house in Cornwall. I can't wait to read this one!

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    1. Right? There were lots of fun elements in this story and they combined to make a really engrossing novel that stands out from Ware's ther ones.

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  4. I've read all of Ruth Ware's books now and yes, this one is in my top 2 - because I loved The Woman in Cabin 10 very much, too! Of course, that book is more of a contemporary mystery while this one is so atmospheric (that house is downright spooky!) and the twists and turns of this family just kept coming! So I have to ask if you've read The Woman in the Window . . . I read it right after I read The Death of Mrs. Westaway and it blew my mind!! Incredibly, gorgeously written with a story that was absolutely mesmerizing and unpredictable. Highly recommend!

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    1. The Gothic thing worked for me. I liked the old-fashioned feel to the novel more than Ware's more contemporary-feeling books.

      YES, I've read THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW. I loved it! I probably shouldn't have been as surprised by the twists as I was, but I'm a *bit* gullible, even after reading TONS of thrillers :)

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    2. I'm gullible, too, despite reading mysteries and thrillers since I was 8 years old! :-) I do love anything Gothic. Daphne du Maurier is one of my all-time favorite authors. :-)

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  5. I didn't really love this one. I like the concept and everything but I felt it dragged a bit. I did enjoy the twists and the ending so it wasn't a total loss for me. Just not my favorite from her. Glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. Really? I didn't feel that way at all. The pacing, the atmospheric setting, the twists -- it all really worked for me. Different strokes for different folks and all that.

      Hope your surgery went well and that your recovery is quick and smooth :)

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  6. The cover is really good, it drew me in before I even read the review. And this one sounds good!

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