The Death of Mrs. Westaway

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 29 May 2018

Member Reviews

Hal is young and broke with no family left, just trying to get by giving tarot card readings on a cold, quiet pier. The bills are piling up and debt collectors are becoming impatient. Afraid she'd reached her limit, Hal receives a letter informing her of the death of an unknown relative, Mrs. Westaway, and a sizable inheritance that is coming her way. Thinking it must be a mistake, Hal knows that it's probably the only way she can solve her financial dilemmas. So she goes to Trepassen, an estate full of lies and secrets, and discovers a surprising truth about herself.

Ruth Ware has a knack for writing completely different books with different tones each and every time, and The Death of Mrs. Westaway is no exception. After being so very disappointed in her last novel, The Lying Game, Ruth Ware has redeemed herself with this chilling tale. The unputdownable nature of Ruth Ware's first two novels was alive and well in this book. I highly recommend this book to fans of the mystery/thriller genre and fans of Ms. Ware's work.
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Highly recommend!  My first of Ware's, but not my last!  The characters are so developed you can feel their pain!  I loved the way this book just told a story and you moved with it, so many shift and have different points of view, in thrillers, but it was nice reading it as it happened.  I think that this is one of the best books I've read this year, which I've read so many amazing ones, that's a hard job to accomplish!
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Straight outta the Agatha Christie playbook, but with much better pacing and absent an irritating, sanctimonious detective.

This is Ruth Ware's fourth novel in only a handful of years, so I had some skepticism coming in about whether these are coming too fast for the product to be truly good, especially coming off Ware's last offering, The Lying Game, which was a complete dud. 

The book isn't without problems, but I was pleasantly surprised. It lacks the snappiness and good quality solve of The Woman in Cabin 10 (Ware's best work to date), but it far exceeds the mediocre In a Dark, Dark Wood or the sloppy and unlikeable Lying Game.

What Ware does best is pacing. Once you start, you just can't stop. This has been the case in each of her books, even those that ultimately felt like weaker offerings because of plot failings. 

Here, the plot is nothing terribly original (lost/fraudulent heir tales are as old as the hills), but Ware has given us a captivating cast of characters, thrilling pace, and a delightfully rendered slow-creep atmosphere that feels almost gothic at times. 

The plot is far from perfect (and hard to discuss without spoilers, so I'll try to be vague), but it isn't flawed enough to negate the thrill of reading it. The murderer is pretty easy to peg from the beginning (though the Why of it creeps up slowly), and though the motive for the first of this person's crimes makes perfect sense, the ensuing murders/attempted murder are a little tough to reconcile with the rest of the portrait we've been given for this particular character. Still, it does all technically make sense, and none of it comes completely out of left field, something one can (unfortunately) never take for granted in a mystery.

There are no true twists (the plot point that comes the closest is easily figured out well before the author reveals it), but Ware is so good at keeping the reader on the edge of their seat from start to finish that it doesn't much matter.

Unfortunately, there is a frustrating thread left dangling at the end of the novel regarding a very important plot point that left me very disappointed, particularly because it would have been an easy issue to reconcile. Alas, this type of small miss is perhaps what comes of churning these books out too quickly. 

Regardless, I had loads of fun reading this, as one always does with Ware's work, and the plot as a whole holds up far better here than it does in some of her other novels.
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Thank you to Netgalley, Ruth Ware, and Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books Gallery/Scout Press for the privilege to read this pre-pub.

This was a wonderful neo-gothic story of family secrets, Tarot readings, mistaken identities and more. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, much more so than the last two from Ruth Ware. This was an intriguing, fast read, holding my attention and keeping me reading page after page. Although some of the mysteries were too heavily hinted at and revealed themselves, it was definitely a great book, one I will recommend without hesitation.
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I like the book enough, but it wasn't a favorite of mine from Ruth Ware. The build up was very slow and the characters were hard to connect with. I will say though that the author does a wonderful job at bringing originality to the genre and I will continue to look forward to her future releases.
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Ruth Ware does it again.  Hal Westaway is struggling to make ends meet after hit and run death of her mother when a letter arrives informing her of a bequest from her grandmother.  But her grandparents died years ago!  Her decision to follow up on that letter leads to secrets from the past that can put her in grave danger.  This taut, suspenseful novel is hard to put down.  Highly recommended.
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Having read several books by Ruth Ware, The Death of Mrs. Westaway is my favorite!! I truly enjoyed this book; it's filled with haunting family secrets, intrigue and action. FIVE STARS ALL DAY!!

After her mother's death, Hal is down on her luck with a loan shark on her tail. Having no family around she has no one to turn to for any kind of support, financial or otherwise. Reading tarot cards is just not paying the bills. One day she receives a letter from a probate attorney advising her of an inheritance from the late Mrs. Westaway, allegedly Hal's grandmother. Hal doesn't know who Mrs. Westaway is and while she believes there's a huge mistake, with her financial crisis, she's willing to lie to get her hands on some of that inheritance. And so Hal's intended deception begins, but what she finds instead is a tangled web of deceit in a family with a legacy filled with hidden secrets and intrigue that began before Hal's existence. 

I am so grateful that Netgalley, Ruth Ware, Gallery, Threshold, Pocketbooks and Gallery/Scout Press gave me the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions outlined above are all my own.
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I'm torn over this book. I have read all of Ruth Ware's novels, and I find her extremely talented. She's a master at creating moody, foreboding atmospheres, and that was one of my favorite things about this book. I guess my biggest complaint about this novel is that I felt it was a little slow. While I, like so many other readers, appreciate a slow burn with a big payoff, I felt this was just a touch too slow with too little of a payoff. Ware is an amazing author, and was able to hold my attention even when I was ready to put it down and start another book. I will say that I didn't see the EXACT ending coming, but I had a pretty good idea that the book would end the way it did. If you're looking for a fast paced thriller, this is not the book for you. Its much better suited for readers who like taut, tightly wound novels that slowly unfold. I'd give of 3.5 stars, but judging by the other reviews, I am in the minority. I see this book being another best seller for Ware- but it isn't my favorite novel by her, by far. Last thing- I think this is the type of book that would translate well on screen.
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I couldn’t put this book down! Kept me guessing til the very end. At first I didn’t care for the main character, but through the book I started to understand her. I haven’t read Ruth Ware before, definitely going to read her other books after this one! Thanks for the ARC!
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Reading Ruth Ware new novel brought me back to when mystery books were truly mystery. No thrills and chills just good solid " who done it " mystery. Similar to Then there were none, or the Spiral Staircase, I enjoyed it very much
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This one has it all, mystery, a gothic mansion, a disappearance, and an inheritance. It moved along pretty quickly, but I felt the characters could have been better developed. Twenty-something Hal receives a letter from a solicitor that her grandmother has passed and she is expected at the lady’s funeral and reading of the will. Hal has a debt collector to avoid, so she heads out to the funeral. However, she knows the woman is not her grandmother. Hal decides to defraud the family to pay off her bills. However, someone does not want Hal there and will stop at nothing to get her to leave before solving any mysteries. I appreciate the publisher and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to be an early reader in exchange for my fair and honest review.
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Wowzer!!!!  Ruth Ware has truly outdone herself with The Death of Mrs. Westaway!  I mean from just reading the description I was already on the hook-- this book is addictive with a capital A!  

I love Ruth Ware’s writing style!  The storyline was carefully and methodically crafted to have you guessing until the very end.  I very rarely re-read mystery/thrillers, but I will absolutely be reading this riveting novel again (it’s honestly that good)!  The Death of Mrs. Westaway is 5+++ star book that would make the perfect beach read!  Must read!!!
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21 yr old Hal Westaway struggles to make ends meet, reading Tarot cards on the boardwalk of a coastal England community when a letter arrives in the mail that may solve all of her financial woes. It appears that her grandmother has bequeathed Hal a substantial inheritance but there is one huge snag, Hal knows nothing of her family and the one person that would have all the answers is deceased. Three years earlier, her mother tragically died in a car crash. Hal sets course on a journey to uncover her family history, secrets, and revelations. Ruth Ware has done it again with another suspenseful drama filled with an entangled with a web of lies, deceit, and mystery.
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This book had me completely hooked from page one! I have to give this 5 glowing stars for Ruth Ware—who if I’m being honest never disappoints me! This book was positively haunting!!! It was spooky yet meaningful, with lovely prose and compelling plot twists. I cannot recommend it enough!

I finished this book last night. It was one of those books that I stayed up late on a work night to finish, because I was so invested in the story. Hal’s dilemma had me completely immersed in the book. I think most readers will find themselves wondering what they would do if they were in Hal’s position! One thing that Ruth Ware does so well in this book (and in her previous work) is to write about characters that are cut off from society in some way. Sometimes this is done through a setting or an experience, and other times it is done through their social predicament. Hal fell into the latter category, with a dash of the first. 

What I love about the way Ruth Ware isolates characters is how it makes you forget the noise of the rest of the world. It’s easy to put yourself in their shoes, because she writes in a way that their problem is so isolated, that it shines right off of the page. Hal’s predicament felt like it became my predicament! Hal’s strength, worries, and ideas felt like my own. I was able to fully empathize with her, and root for her along the way. 

The promenade was empty, and the woman had disappeared into the darkness as if made from rain herself.

Hal is alone in the world. Imagine being a young woman, raised by a single mother and with no other family, and then your mother passes away in a horrible accident. Hal has no money, no family, and no friends. All she has left from her mother is her Tarot Booth on the Promenade—named Madame Margarida, after her mother—and the strength to survive instilled in her since childhood. But what Hal also has is a debt that is hard to repay. Surviving comes at a cost, and Hal has run out of options. And then one day, a letter arrives…

Don’t fall into the trap of believing your own lies.

The letter informs Hal that she is set to receive some inheritance from the late Mrs. Westaway, her grandmother. The letter is addressed to Hal by name, and yet Hal knows it cannot be true. You see, Hal knows her grandparents all died long ago on her mother’s side, and the letter references Mrs. Westaway being her maternal grandmother. Still, with debt piling up higher and no chance to repay it, Hal wonders if her career of reading others and telling them what they need to hear might be just the thing to help her play the game long enough to earn a bit of inheritance.

As Hal begins her journey to Trespassen House, she finds herself in over her head. It’s one thing to imagine taking a bit of money from those with plenty, but it’s another to place yourself in the center of someone else’s grief. The other Westaways are real people. And yet, there are many secrets in the home. Hal finds herself wondering if she isn’t the only person hiding something. And what will be the cost if those secrets come out?

I can feel it—my secret—burning me up from the inside.

I have to gush for a moment about the settings in this book. Ruth Ware uses such descriptive language, and this book takes place in some truly fantastic settings. From the spooky, abandoned promenade, to the bare apartment, to the dark mansion—I fell in love with the locations described in this book! I could imagine the settings so vivdly, as though I was there myself. I also loved the opening chapters on Hal’s work in the Tarot booth, and the people and settings she interacts with. I won’t spoil them, but they jumped off of the page for me.

The duality in Hal was also a high point for me. Hal is physically meek, but she has an inner strength. The way Hal has learned to play weaker than she is, and then her shows of surprising resilience and bravery were so wonderful. Hal is an easy character to admire and to root for. Hal is someone who has been cast aside in every way, but she has never allowed it to diminish her. Hal is caring but self-preserving. Hal is honest but deceptive. Hal is calculating but impulsive.

Many readers will enjoy this book, and I recommend it highly.

I am so grateful to NetGalley, to Ruth Ware, and to Gallery/Scout Press for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I've read all of Ruth Ware's books and loved them, and while this one wasn't my favorite, I enjoyed it immensely and powered through really quickly as once you get caught up in Hal's story, you can't let go! A little bit gothic with a creepy old house and secrets long-buried, the novel follows Hal as she receives a letter that she has come into an inheritance. Knowing there's a mistake doesn't quite stop her as she has financial difficulties of her own and this would certainly solve some of her problems. But when she meets the family, she recognizes that something is terribly wrong and she is determined to get to the bottom of whatever mysteries reside in this odd family. In typical Ware style, we are caught up in the action immediately and are in for surprise after surprise!
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The other reviews say it all. My favorite Ruth Ware book so far....suspenseful, well written
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This is my favorite Ruth Ware book yet. It was so good that I not only read it in record time but I was hesitant to begin another novel because I  knew nothing would come close to the excellence of  The Death of Mrs. Westaway.

This one has it all, a penniless sympathetic main character plus a creepy old house, a lie that’s spun out of control, dark and rainy weather plus writing that has you reading so quickly that time blurs. I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish this book though it was one of those novels that you just don’t want to end.

When Hal Westaway receives a notice that she stands to inherit something from a grandmother she never knew, she is confused. Her mother, now dead, never spoke about her family and Hal isn’t sure she’s even related to this woman. But a small inheritance would really help her out.

Flat broke and being hunted by a loan shark for a small sum she must repay, Hal goes to the funeral and soon discovers there’s more to the inheritance Mrs. Westaway left to her than she initially thought.   She begins to question her mother, did she really know the truth about her? And the brothers fighting over the estate, what are they hiding? Who is locking her in the attic room each night, and why is “HELP ME” etched into the trim around the window?

I am warning you, this book is addictive. Its due out this summer and you will want to pre-order it immediately! I’m not a psychic but I have a feeling this will be adapted for film…
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Her best yet.  I loved Dark, Dark Wood and Woman in Cabin 10 but this one is even better. Ruth Ware is the master of psychological thrillers and will keep you guessing to the end  (though the clues are all there).  Highly recommended for fans of Ruth Ware. If you haven't yet  discovered her, this one will make you anxious to read the rest!
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The Death of Mrs Westaway / Ruth Ware /  Suspense


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.

When strange occurrences and dark threats  begin happening in the old mansion that once belonged to Mrs Westaway, Hal starts to think that something just isn’t right.

First of all, I love Ruth Ware. I love her writing style, I love her characters. I love that she can be dark or she can be comedic  as she has been in her previous 3 books but this book has an altogether different feel to it. This book is suspenseful right from the first word and does not let up for a moment but  it’s also very emotional, at least it was for me. I found myself blurry eyed and even out right crying at one point. The deep connection these characters have to one another is stupendous and is really what makes this book my favorite of the 4 novels she has written.  

You will be guided through the maze of a formidable  mansion and its surrounding grounds, through the darkest  family secrets to the moments that will make you misty eyed. This novel truly blends itself perfectly with the loved ones who hide the most terrifying of secrets and the loved ones who stand by you no matter the cost.

I loved this book. An easy 5 stars
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I discovered Ruth Ware's book just a year ago and devoured them all.  When you've been reading mysteries/thrillers for 40 years, you get to where you can predict the solutions fairly early in the story.  The wonderful thing about Ruth Ware's stories are, not only do you not predict the solution, but often you can't even predict the mystery itself.  I spend half the book trying to figure out just what I'm supposed to be trying to figure out!  I LOVE that!
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