Sunday, June 3, 2018

(41)The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware


Harriet, Hal, Westaway has been barely hanging on since her mother passed away. She took over her mother's fortune-telling business, but it seems like there is never enough money to pay the bills. One day she receives a letter from a solicitor in Cornwall saying that she is the recipient of a rather large inheritance.  Hal knows that the letter was sent to her in error, but the thought of an inheritance is too good to pass up.  She sets off to Trepassen and finds a vast, yet decrepit estate that would remind one of Manderley.  Hal knows that she will need to be on her game to pass herself off as the granddaughter of the deceased woman, but she can't help but also be drawn into the fact that these people are welcoming her as a part of their family.  She hasn't had a family since her mother died.  Then weird things start to happen to Hal - like the door to her attic bedroom gets stuck, and she takes a tumble down the stairs that didn't feel like an accident.  And then there are the bars on her bedroom window and the "Help Me" that has been carved into the window sill.  While the money would save her from her troubles, Hal does not feel that it is worth her life.  When Hal discovers a dark, long kept secret, she realizes that maybe, just maybe she does belong at Trepassen. 

I don't think that I have read such a gothic feeling novel since I read Rebecca last year.  Hal is a woman who knows struggle.  From the very beginning, she just seems so sad and broken, only perking up when she thinks that this letter might be the answer to all of her troubles.  When she gets to Trepassen she meets a mixed group of people, and most of them are relieved that Mrs. Westaway is gone, as she was not a pleasant woman.   The housekeeper was most definitely creepy and also reminiscent of the housekeeper in Rebecca. I had the big twist figured out pretty early on, but I wasn't even mad about it.   Such an atmospheric novel is so rare these days that it was easy to get lost in the pages, even if I did have it figured out. -- CLICK HERE FOR SPOILERS -- I was okay with all of the "truths" revealed and thought that the ending was satisfactory.

Bottom Line - The Death of Mrs. Westaway is probably my favorite book by Ruth Ware yet.  The gothic atmosphere of the novel created such an appealing story that it was impossible to put down. This one is going to appear on all of the "Must Read" lists of the summer, that I am sure of. 

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Why I Read...

I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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