The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware – Review.



About the Book

When Harriet Westaway receives an unexpected letter telling her she’s inherited a substantial bequest from her Cornish grandmother, it seems like the answer to her prayers. She owes money to a loan shark and the threats are getting increasingly aggressive: she needs to get her hands on some cash fast.

There’s just one problem – Hal’s real grandparents died more than twenty years ago. The letter has been sent to the wrong person. But Hal knows that the cold-reading techniques she’s honed as a seaside fortune teller could help her con her way to getting the money. If anyone has the skills to turn up at a stranger’s funeral and claim a bequest they’re not entitled to, it’s her.

Hal makes a choice that will change her life for ever. But once she embarks on her deception, there is no going back. She must keep going or risk losing everything, even her life…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I always enjoy Ruth Ware’s novels so I was pleased be given the chance to read an advanced copy of her new book.
When Harriet, or as she prefers to be called Hal receives a letter that could make her life easier she jumps at the chance. Despite feeling that it wasn’t intended for her. But the risk that she was in at home in Brighton was nothing compared to what she faced in the now dilapidated home in Cornwall. The house that she goes to is nothing like the image that she had seen on a postcard.
A family, united by the death of their mother, but the undercurrent of malice gets more evident as the novel progresses. It’s difficult to tell which of them, if any, genuinely welcome Hal into their lives. Especially when the will is read.
I loved the way everything was described. The way the house had fallen into disrepair through neglect. Most of the rooms were cold, dark and unwelcoming, Hal’s bedroom especially. I had a vivid impression of a home that wasn’t full of happy childhood memories where everybody was loved and visitors made welcome. Instead this was a home where children grew up in fear of their mother and the housekeeper Mrs Warren. The mother only appears through memories and diary entries but they were a clear image of a woman who wasn’t able to show love easily. Mrs Warren does appear. It did feel a little strange that the family accepted her rudeness and lack of respect. But then I started to wonder what she knew.
I was a little dubious about the storyline involving tarot cards. I have always thought I would be too scared to attend a reading of any kind but the way it was described showed a different way of approaching it. I still wouldn’t do it, but I now think about what the cards reveal slightly differently.
I liked Hal a lot, she’d had a tough life and lost the only parent she had too young. I ached for her to be able to be close to her new family but not knowing who was a threat. For that reason I won’t reveal my thoughts about the other characters. Make up your own mind.

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