The Death of Mrs. Westaway

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 29 May 2018

Member Reviews

A young woman receives a letter informing her of an inheritance. The money will help her solve her debt problems, but when she attends the funeral she realizes a serious mistake has occurred. She will have to navigate the secrets of the family she meets as well as questions about her own past that soon come up if she wants her life to go back to normal. Author Ruth Ware keeps readers guessing and returns to form in the excellent novel The Death of Mrs. Westaway.

Harriet “Hal” Westaway doesn’t have an idyllic life, and after three years on her own in the British town of Brighton she’s fighting to make ends meet. She’s also fighting herself because she misses her mother with a soul-deep ache. When she was 18 years old, Hal’s mother died in a hit-and-run accident and that left Hal without any family whatsoever. She never met her father, and she doesn’t know of any relatives.

Until she receives a letter from a lawyer in the mail, that is, and Hal gets the shock of a lifetime. A grandmother she’s never met has named her a beneficiary in her will. Due to the grandmother’s death, the lawyer writes, Hal must appear for the funeral and the reading of the document. The letter feels like a godsend. Hal owes money to a loan shark who has begun applying serious pressure to collect his funds. Attending the funeral gets Hal out of town and away from the physical clutches of the dangerous man as well as allowing her a peek into her mother’s life before she had Hal.

When Hal arrives in the small town of St. Piran, she expects a grand estate. Instead she finds herself faced with a home that’s falling apart and a group of people who share blood but want nothing to do with the woman who died. If they didn’t have a legal reason to do so, in fact, nothing would compel them to come back to the estate. There are too many secrets and too many bad memories for everyone.

The family is shocked to meet Hal, but they accept her without question. Hal finds it harder to do so, especially because the more time she spends with the Westaways the more she realizes she isn’t, in fact, a rightful heir to the Westaway fortune. She can’t deny the fact that she does have a connection to the creepy home and the family, however, and the more she digs into her own past the more she realizes just how strong that connection it might be.

Author Ruth Ware brings back the best elements to her writing in this book. She creates a sympathetic protagonist in Hal without making her seem weak. Within the parameters of the story world, Hal’s life choices make sense and relatable. Life may have knocked Hal down, but she’s used her smarts and what she knows best to claw her way back upright again.

Ware also makes some interesting story choices when Hal goes to the Westaway estate. Despite her dire financial straits, Hal proves to have some integrity and a conscience. When she exercises her integrity, however, it creates more complications—in a good way—for the plot and gives it a new direction. 

Readers will probably guess the identity of Hal’s father much sooner than she will, but that predictability doesn’t take away from the pleasant experience of watching Hal make the connections at her own pace. In fact, her father’s identity is one of the only predictable elements of the entire book. That fact, along with Ware’s ability to challenge guesses in surprising ways most of the time, will keep readers up long into the night to get in another chapter.

Fans of Ruth Ware will find themselves richly rewarded, and readers who enjoy a good thriller will also enjoy this book. I recommend readers Bookmark The Death of Mrs. Westaway.
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This book is a tense, twisty modern gothic novel set in England. Harriet “Hal” Westaway receives a letter stating that her grandmother, Hester Westaway, is dead, and that Hal is a beneficiary of her will. Hal thinks there is no way this is true. Her grandmother, named Marion Westaway died died two decades earlier. Today, the 21-year-old orphan owes a lot of money to some dangerous people which makes is easier  and feels comfortable stealing a small sum from wealthy strangers. She uses the skills she’s learned as a fortune teller on Brighton’s West Pier to scam some quick cash. But when she arrives at the broken down family estate in Cornwall, neither the inheritance nor the Westaways are what she expects. As the plot unfolds, she begins to suspect that her invitation was no accident. Is Hal playing the Westaways  as she planned, or is she now somebody’s pawn? Well written , well developed  characters, combined with a creepy, claustrophobic atmosphere keept this  reader turning the pages of this explosive family drama. Hey we can all relate to a little family drama, right?
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A tarot card reading young woman is struggling to survive on her meager income. She receives a notice that her wealthy grandmother she did know she had passed away. She was summoned to her grandmother’s estate. While she is at the estate she begins to learn about her family and that her mother may not be who the Westaway family had thought. There is some mystery and suspense to this book. There are some spooky scenes, but I found this book to be lacking overall with not much excitement. The writing and descriptions are very well done. 

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Ruth Ware is really good writer. She can bring you into story and make you tense even if the scene is mundane. She's like horror music that once placed in a scene of people walking in a field makes you paranoid. She knows how to write. My problem has always been that her main characters make stupid decisions to keep up the tension. This time her main, Hal, isn't stupid.

This book is very Gothic in feeling. There are secrets around the corner. I like the supporting characters even though I'm still weary of them. 

My only problem is that we're given clues to who Hal's father and one clearly states who is he. When Hal finds the clues she reaches the wrong conclusion. I thought I misread the clue until it was revealed I was right. Why did Hal figure it out? To keep the tension?

And I would have loved to find out how she gets away from the gangsters.
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The language used was a bit hard to follow. Even so, the book was definitely a thriller. There was mystery throughout the book that kept you turning the page, regardless of how old fashioned the wording seemed to be.
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Described as the "Agatha Christie of our time", Ruth Ware has a reputation for thrilling suspense novels that are impossible to put down. In The Death of Mrs. Westaway, the mystery surrounds a completely unexpected letter informing Hal that a long lost relative has died and that she must attend the reading of the will. This should be the perfect solution to Hal's most desperate money problems except that she knows there has been some mistake. This Mrs. Westaway can't be her grandmother- her mother, recently passed herself, told her all about her grandparents and how they died before Hal was born. And yet. And yet Hal really needs the money. Just a few hundred pounds would rescue her from the scary loan shark that has been threatening her with bodily harm. And really, these people are so rich and have had so much their entire lives and Hal has so little. How much a difference can a few hundred pounds really make to them? The real trouble starts when Hal meets these people and begins to worry that there are many more secrets than just her own.

There was a lock on the door. Two, in fact. They were long, thick bolts, top and bottom
But they were on the outside.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway is the first of Ware's novels that I've read, but it won't be the last. This book really was hard to put down with a pace that kept me interested enough to fly through the pages. I can't wait to read more Ruth Ware. Any suggestions for what I should read next?
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As a tarot reader, Hal is great at reading people. So when a case of mistaken identity offers her the opportunity to claim an inheritance from someone she's never met, she might just be able to pull it off. Unfortunately, there's a lot more to this mysterious family than meets the eye.

This is definitely a slow-burn mystery/thriller, and it takes a while for the suspense to build, but the end is worth the wait. The story holds such a range of intriguing and strange characters, and Hal makes a great protagonist as the skeptical tarot reader stuck between a rock and a hard place. Lovers of Ruth Ware's other books won't be disappointed. This packs the psychological thriller punch that keeps us coming back for more.
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Enjoyed this novel. It was atmospheric and reminded me of a classic Agatha Christie novel. I love the setting, moody and gothic.
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Another Ruth Ware hit !  What an engaging mystery.  It includes a mysterious letter, a fortune teller, a dark and
stormy night.  What else could you ask for ?  Loved it !
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I typically love anything from Ruth Ware. This was a bit too complicated. Too many things. It does not help that **** spoiler alert, don’t go further if you haven’t read this yet****

This is the second book in a row with people that have changed places. So that’s a bit wearing on me, honestly. 

Read it, but it’s just not as good as her other novels.
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Best Ruth Ware book so far!  

I've read a few of her books in the past, but I can't say I'm a big fan.  This has to be the first of her books that I have read in which I actually like the heroine!  Ironic, considering that one of the plot points is that she is trying to con her way into an inheritance.

Hal is a young woman who has been trying to make ends meet since her mother died.  She pretty much lives in poverty.  And, because she make the mistake of turning to a loan-shark at one point in the past, she is in danger of loosing what little she does have. Then she gets a letter that her  long-lost grandmother has passed away and left her an inheritance.  The only problem is that the letter appears to have been sent to the wrong person.  Desperate, Hal decides to play the part of long-lost granddaughter in hopes that perhaps she will at least receive enough money to get the loan-shark off her back.

What made me like Hal more than other of Ware's heroines is that, despite what she is doing, Hal has a moral compass.  She knows what she is doing is wrong and feels terrible about it.  She's actually a nice person in bad circumstances.  She's not full of herself or petty, like some or Ware's other characters have been in previous books.

As for the mystery, it's full on Gothic right down to the decaying mansion and creepy housekeeper.  As with Ware's other books there's no shortage of plot twists, some of which I saw coming, some of which I didn't.

Overall, this was a thrilling and suspenseful read,.  I'm thankful that NetGalley gave me the opportunity to review it.
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Such a wonderfully creepy read! Ware doesn't disappoint. Much better than The Lying Game, thank goodness. So glad Ware is back.
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I enjoyed Ms Ware’s latest book, The Death of Mrs Westaway. It was not a book that I couldn’t stop reading, but it was definitely a good read. My heart went out to Harriet (Hal) who, as a young adult, struggles to keep her head above water after the death of her mother. When an opportunity arises she grasps at it, hoping that it will be the answer to a prayer.

Only after Hal meets the family of Mrs Westaway does she begin to have doubts. Her plan to claim an inheritance that she has no right to begins to fall apart. Realizing the pain that she is inadvertently bringing to the family, Hal back-pedals, only to be swept up in the family drama again.

The story has moments of suspense and unexpected twists. Ms Ware has created characters that are well-drawn and interesting. Even though I am an avid mystery reader, I still find myself mostly clueless until the end of a book. However, in this case, I figured out the conclusion well before the end. But, this didn’t really diminish my enjoyment of the book and Ms Ware’s writing.

My favorite gothic novel is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Some reviewers have compared it to The Death of Mrs Westaway. There are a few valid comparisons but, in my opinion, Rebecca is in a class of its own. With that said, I still highly recommend Ms Ware’s latest book. The suspense is slow and relentless and the ending is quite satisfying.
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A haunting, mysterious family drama with a few twists and turns. The house in this book was practically a character, something that I find irresistible in books. There were a few parts of the novel that I thought could have been expanded on, like one character's time spent in the attic and why exactly she was kept there. There was a big reveal at the end that I didn't see coming...kept me guessing!
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Another great book from Ruth Ware.  Spooky and mysterious with a good main character.  Where was Mr. Westaway though?
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This was great! Spooky, atmospheric, and thrilling. I was engaged the entire book, even when I THOUGHT I had the twist figured out. This was my first Ruth Ware book and I am excited to try others!
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Suspenseful with touches of the gothic, The Death of Mrs. Westaway will resonate with fans of Agatha Christie.

Broke. Alone. Desperate. Hal scrapes by reading Tarot. She is named in the will of Mrs. Westaway and the promise of a legacy draws her into the murky past of the grand estate.

Hal is my favorite of Ware’s narrators thus far. I’m sympathetic to her narrators but find them unlikeable characters. Hal is different—I was rooting for her from the start! She is so young and so vulnerable and such a fighter.

I read the first 30% (ahh, Kindle) in starts and stops but once Mrs. Westaway’s will was read—I was captivated. Armchair detectives can solve the mystery alongside Hal, but Ware is talented with misdirection so read carefully!

A great book for a stormy day and a cup of tea. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy.
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Typical Ruth Ware, very dark and atmospheric. Not quite as good as "The Woman in Cabin 10" but just as satisfying. Another flawed heroine, so likable, but not always sensible. Descriptions of the house and surrounding countryside made me feel as though I was there. Several interesting twists towards the end, but I had figured out one of them early on. I see shades of Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca here.
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I have wanted to read a Ruth Ware novel but just never got around to it until THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY.  I am glad I finally read a Ware novel and will surely read another,

This book was dark and atmospheric.  The addition of Tarot added to the atmosphere of the novel and was an interesting introduction to Tarot.  The book was just interesting enough to keep me turning the pages but I really never engaged with the characters, perhaps it was difficult at times to differentiate between them.  They were not defined enough.

This book is fueled by deceit,  The main character Harriet begins to believe her own lies and the story builds to a clever twist.  

Fans of Ruth Ware will surely like this novel and any reader of mysteries should pick this book up and settle in for an enjoyable read.
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Another great story by Ware.  Loved all the twists.  Much better than her last book.  Can't wait for the next one.
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