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review 2018-11-10 19:34
The Death of Mrs Westaway
The Death of Mrs. Westaway - Ruth Ware

“Trepassen was too Gothic and gloomy to ever feel like a truly welcoming place.” 

 

I enjoy a good mystery with a creepy atmosphere and this one delivered. Hal's mother passed away leaving her completely alone in the world. She learned from her mother how to give tarot card readings in order to scrape by, but she is barely managing to pay her bills and now has goons threatening her if she doesn't pay back a loan.

 

“She didn’t believe in anything mystical, but she did believe in the power of the cards to reveal something about the querent, both to the reader and to the sitter themselves.”

 

Hal never truly believed the cards would reveal the future, but she has the skill to read people and because of this skill, she believes that she might have a chance at claiming an inheritance she knows doesn't belong to her. Desperation is what sends her to the estate pretending to be a long lost family member.

 

The only reason I didn't give it five stars was because a certain reveal left me completely confused. I had to reread this particular section multiple times trying to figure out what was really going on. I kept asking myself, "Who, and how? I think Ware got something backwards because this is not making any sense." I continued on and a chapter or two later it all finally clicked and I said, "OH! Now I understand." This one really made me think, almost a little too hard.

 

This is only my second Ware book, but I've enjoyed them both. The Lying Game was my first read and even though I really liked it, The Death of Mrs. Westaway is my favorite of the two. The characters were likable, the mystery was clever, and I loved the setting and the eerie old house.

 

 

-SW

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review 2018-09-20 19:59
Ruth Ware Continues to Impress
The Death of Mrs. Westaway - Ruth Ware

The fourth book by the extremely popular Ruth Ware is a twist on a classic mystery trope involving an inheritance/rags-to-riches fantasy. Harriet Westaway, the heroine of The Death of Mrs. Westaway, is isolated and adrift after losing her mother in a tragic accident.  She never learned her father’s identity-Harriet and her mother eked out a living by reading fortunes for tourists.  She retains their small boardwalk booth after her mother’s death, despite her disbelief in the practice. She feels like she is merely playing a role, appeasing her conscience by detaching herself from her clients’ gullibility.  On the brink of financial ruin and deeply in debt to some very dangerous characters, Harriet serendipitously receives a mysterious letter in the mail.  It appears that an error has been made, and she has been named an inheritor in a significant estate. She decides to see if she can use her honed perception skills to claim what she hopes will be enough to save her from her collectors. She travels to the funeral of the deceased and upon being embraced by her kind “relatives,” Harriet feels torn between her desperation and guilt. It turns out that the inheritance is far more complicated than she imagined, and she is drawn into some old conflicts and family secrets.  Harriet begins to question how long she can sustain her charade, and if the prize is worth the constant vigilance and paranoia of discovery.  Harriet is not the only person hiding something at Trepassen, and questions start emerging about her own possible connection to these other Westaways.  Fans of both classic mystery and literary fiction would enjoy this book, especially those looking to avoid explicit violence and gore. The novel is very atmospheric and wonderfully paced, with three-dimensional characters written with complexity and nuance.  The resolution is unpredictable but believable, twisting in a truly satisfying way.  The Death of Mrs. Westaway continues the high-quality work that readers have come to expect from Ware’s books, and is further evidence that her popularity is well-deserved.

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review 2018-09-08 21:24
The Death of Mrs. Westaway
The Death of Mrs. Westaway - Ruth Ware

I really, really liked this book. Mainly because it ticked so many boxes of the things I truly enjoy in a novel.

 

The atmosphere of this book was wonderfully gothic, dark and atmospheric and the Trepassen house, situated in the dark, rainy and dreary Cornwall, felt like a character of its own. The mysterious and creepy servant, an angsty female main character and a whole lot of secrets surrounding the family and their ancestral home added to the DuMaurier feeling of this novel.

It took the story a little while to get interesting, though, and I didn´t particularly like the first 60 pages. But this didn´t diminish my overall enjoyment of the book.

 

I´ve read this for square “13” for Halloween bingo. There are elements of superstition throughout this novel (references to the Magpie nursery rhyme and the main character is heavily into the art of tarot reading). It would also work for the square Gothic, Murder Most Foul, Amateur Sleuth, New Release, Terrifying Women and Genre: Suspense.

 

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text 2018-09-07 18:34
Reading progress update: I've read 109 out of 368 pages.
The Death of Mrs. Westaway - Ruth Ware

This novel has definitely some DuMaurier vibes. 

 

An old house in Cornwall - check

A slightly creepy female servant - check

A family secret - check

A dreary and atmospheric setting - check

 

I was planning to read this book for the New Release square, but since this novel has the Magpie nursery rhyme at its core and a lot of superstition is at work (the main character is a psychic who tells the future out of tarot cards), I will be reading this novel for this square:

 

 

 

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review 2018-08-25 05:51
The Death of Mrs. Westaway
The Death of Mrs. Westaway - Ruth Ware

I had some really high hopes for this book because I heard so many things about it and it was hyped up to my knowledge,,,,and I was kind of let down. I expected something that was a lot more suspenseful and had a different tone than the one that was in the book. I don't know how to describe but what I expected wasn't exactly what I got.

My biggest problem with this book is that it's really slow and really boring. I got to the 160 page mark,,,,and nothing of note had happened except for Mrs Warrens being a right pain in the ass. Nothing really picked up until the last 68 pages or so.

I get that the purpose of the slow build was for the big reveal and to real shock us, and believe me, shock me it did. But I think it missed that mark of being just the right pace. I had to keep making myself read this because it was a library book and it has to go back soon. And you really have to make yourself keep reading because this book is just exhausting to get through.

By the time I hit the 280 something page mark of the copy I had, I said fuck it and just skimmed most of what I had remaining and I don't think I missed much. Obviously the juicy stuff I slowed down and read properly but the rest of it, I just didn't care. I spent the entire book hearing about Hal's worries and concerns that by the end I just didn't care about what her next concern was going to be.

And I feel like the bit in the summary made it sound like the entire family was bonkers or serial killers or something when it was really only two people, everyone else was just kind of,,,,,a normal dysfunctional family.

I will say this though, the plot twist at the end, it was wild. My heart started beating so fast I went into fight or flight mode, I'm in the middle of an adrenaline crash as we speak. It was good. It was the only reason I gave this 3 stars.

Pacing aside, the writing was fine, I'm not great with punctuation so if there were any mistakes with it, it completely escaped me. And because of that plot twist ending, I'm gonna go ahead and say that the characters were pretty dang good too. I liked the tarot card reading element of the story since it essentially is the ticket to solving the entire mystery and you don't even notice you've been given the hints the entire time until you get to the end.

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