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.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware.


the woman in cabin 10

This was meant to be the perfect trip.

The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.

A chance for travel journalist Lo Blacklock to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse, and to work out what she wants from her relationship.

Except things don’t go as planned.

Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.

Exhausted, emotional and increasingly desperate, Lo has to face the fact that she may have made a terrible mistake. Or she is trapped on a boat with a murderer – and she is the sole witness…
My Review:
Having loved Ruth Ware’s debut novel In a Dark, Dark Wood last year I was looking forward to her latest book. A stand-alone it features a young travel journalist Lo who is excited to be given the chance to report on a new cruise. She has had a few problems, had a break in that left her injured and suffers from anxiety.
There were only a few people on the ship, all of them were on board to publicise the cruise and she was eager to make a good impression. She is nervous, feeling claustrophobic and has quite a bit to drink. When she finally gets back to her cabin she hears a disturbance from the cabin next door and sees what she thinks is a body being thrown into the sea. She reports it to security and is told that she must be mistaken because the cabin is unoccupied.
The level of claustrophobia was quite high and I found it to be a little intimidating. I felt the same tension as Lo when she was walking through the ship. There was also a feeling of isolation, being out at sea with no way of making contact with anybody who wasn’t on board.
I thought that Lo was a great character, she had her faults but refused to back down to the ones who didn’t take her seriously. There were a few parts that I really admired her for how she coped with what she experienced. There were also parts that didn’t really work for me but I still did enjoy the book a lot. It has convinced me not to go on a cruise though.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy via NetGalley.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

imageIn a Dark, Dark Wood is definitely going to be a strong contender for my favourite book of the year. It wasn’t a book that took me a while to get into, from chapter two I was hooked.
Nora is invited to a school friends hen party, she hasn’t had any contact with the bride to be for ten years. Bewildered at the invitation she reluctantly decides to go with another friend from school. As soon as they arrive at the glass house in the middle of a wood in Northumberland in winter she regrets it.
All of the party, especially the organiser are on edge and struggle to relax. Flo, the organiser is very controlling and gets overly upset if things don’t go exactly to her plan for the weekend. Events do go disastrously wrong and the details are revealed in a series of flashbacks. Parts of the novel are quite scary, I was wary of reading it just before sleep but I needed to know what happened next. I had an idea of who was responsible but did change my mind a few times. I never guessed at the reasons why though.
I thought this novel was very well written and would definitely recommend to readers who love this genre.
Released on the 30th July.

Thanks to the publisher and the author for the copy via netgalley.