The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
Published by: Scout Press
Publish Date: 2018
Genre(s): Fiction, Thriller, Gothic Thriller
HB&W Rating: 3.75
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Buy on Amazon: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository
Because superstition was a trap – that was what she had learned, in the years of plying her trade on the pier. Touching wood, crossing fingers, counting magpies – they were all lies, all of them. False promises designed to give the illusion of control and meaning in a world in which the only destiny came from yourself. You can’t predict the future, Hal knew.
On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.
Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the centre of it.
Synopsis source: Goodreads
Après moi, le déluge. . . .
This was my first Ruth Ware novel, and won’t be my last. I really enjoyed how the story unfolded and how Ms. Ware’s mind worked. The gothic thriller was perfect for this time of the year too!
You have Hal, a down-on-her-luck orphan peddling fortunes on the Brighton Pier using her mom’s old deck of tarot cards. She’s broke, dodging a loan shark, and one step away from complete destitution. Then a mysterious letter arrives, informing her that her grandmother has passed away and she has been named in the will. The only problem? Her grandmother was dead before she had ever been born. Sensing a mixup, but feeling the breath of the loan shark’s enforcer breathing down her neck, she decides to masquerade as the woman’s granddaughter, hoping for a small bequest that would be nothing to these wealthy “relatives” but would mean everything to her.
With a cast of characters who you’re never really certain of, you will begin to see, like Hal does, that not everything is as it should be here, and these people are hiding secrets that they don’t want to have revealed.
Ms. Ware paced this novel perfectly, gradually revealing her secrets at the perfect moments to keep the reader guessing right up to the end. From the three uncles to the creepy housekeeper, to the maternal aunt, what are they hiding? With a pervading sense of doom from beginning to end, and a heart pounding climax, this book delivered.
If I had to pick at anything, I would have to pick at the main character, Hal. It felt like we were told several times that she’s a tough, badass chick, which never really rang true with the way she was written. It seemed inauthentic to me. She wasn’t as strong of a female main character as I would have liked.
But truly, overall, I really enjoyed the book and I look forward to reading more by this author.
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