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The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware - Review

Monday, December 30, 2019

I recently picked up this book, which I've been wanting to read since I read The Woman in Cabin 10 last year. I had heard that this was better, which is good because I felt like The Woman in Cabin 10 lost its way a bit towards the end. I did think this book was much better, meaning I'll probably read more by Ruth Ware now.

Hal Westaway is twenty one years old and lives in Brighton. She works on Brighton pier as a tarot card reader, and has done since she inherited the booth from her mother three years ago. Her mother was killed in an accident just two weeks before Hal's birthday, and since then Hal has struggled to support herself. She is struggling financially and owes money to a loan shark.

Then a letter arrives informing her that her grandmother Hester has died and left her some inheritance, and that her funeral is to be held in her stately home in Cornwall. Hal is shocked because her grandparents, her mother's parents, died before she was born and she never knew them. But the name on the letter is Hal's own. She's sure there must have been a mix up, but she's also desperate for cash. Surely if anyone could pull off conning a family into believing she's their relative, she's the person to do it?

She isn't sure what to do, but the loan shark's enforcers are after her so she scrimps together what little cash she has and catches a train to Penzance. She googles the family and looks them up on Facebook so that she can learn a bit about them in order to convince them she's their niece. She finds details of her three "uncles" and their families. At the funeral, she meets the family solicitor, and then is invited back to Trepassen house to stay over and sort things out.

It's a perfect gothic novel after that. The house is creepy. Hal is given a room in the very top of the house which turns out to have bolts on the outside. There's a creepy housekeeper who hates her. Things get weirder and stranger and Hal begins to fear for her life.

I liked the book and although I guessed a couple of the twists, there were parts that I didn't see coming at all. The allure of the big house and a posh family was done marvellously, given that Hal is struggling and is pretty alone in the world. I did find it hard to distinguish between the men at times, and I did think there were woolly parts, but mostly I really enjoyed the book and am giving it eight out of ten!


1 comment

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