The Death of Mrs. Westaway

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 29 May 2018

Member Reviews

The Death of Mrs. Westaway was a fun, fast-paced, creepy read. The twists and turns led to an ending that I thought I saw coming, but was surprised by in a good way. I always recommend Ruth Ware's books and I will do the same with this one!
Was this review helpful?
On a cold stormy day, inadequately dressed for the weather, Harriet "Hal" Westaway stood at the gravesite of Hester Westaway at St. Piran's Church. Having received a mysterious letter from solicitor Robert Treswick, Hal as the "assumed granddaughter" of the deceased needed to pay her respects as well as claim her bequest. After the funeral service, the Westaways traveled to Trepassen, the family estate in the English countryside of Cornwall. The gloomy, eerie manse was crumbling and aggressive magpies were frequent inhabitants of the homestead.

Hal was between a rock and a hard place. Upon the death of her mother three years ago, the once confident twenty-one year old was now pale and skinny, always hungry. "The person she was now was not the girl she would have been". By necessity, Hal had taken over her mother's kiosk, a little booth on Brighton's West Pier. "Madame Margarida"-specialist in Tarot, Psychic Readings and Palmistry. Hal was best at cold reading. She could read the secrets people hid in plain sight, on their faces or by the clothes they wore. These skills would come in handy because Hal was about to perpetrate a fraud. She was certain she received the solicitor's letter in error. Hal was drowning in unpaid bills. In addition, she was being stalked by loan shark, Mr. Smith. Threats of bodily harm included broken bones and teeth if the loan was not repaid, with interest, within the week. What choice did Hal have?

The dysfunctional Westaway "uncles" consisted of Harding, who interrogated Hal military style, Abel, the friendly sort and Ezra, who was often uncommunicative. Hal's "aunt" Maud, Ezra's twin, left home twenty years ago never to return. The Westaways were not happy growing up with manipulative, uncaring mother, Hester. Unfriendly housekeeper Mrs. Warren ran the household with unwavering sarcasm. Upon arrival at Trepassen and needing to stay until the reading of the will, Hal was shown to the attic room which contained bars on the windows and two locks bolted on the outside of the attic room door.

"The Death of Mrs. Westaway" was chock full of deception. Everyone had secrets including the sinister Mrs. Warren. Why were the siblings always sparring? What was it like to have experienced childhood in Cornwall's Trepassen estate? Author Ruth Ware has created a masterful goth atmospheric novel replete with stark, stormy weather. The twists and turns experienced by the excellent fleshed out characters make for nuance and unease as the mystery unfolds. Kudos to Ruth Ware.

Thank you Gallery, Scout Press and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "The Death of Mrs. Westaway".
Was this review helpful?
Ruth Ware's books are always an enjoyable read for me. Often I can figure out what's going on, but it never really dampens the experience. This book was no different. The beginning was a bit slow, but once Hal reached the estate the pace picked up and I finished the rest very quickly. I had a good idea of where the plot was headed about halfway through, but it was still a page turner. A good, easy suspense read.
Was this review helpful?
I think this might be my favorite Ruth Ware book. I love how the writing style of Ms. Ware takes me back to a by-gone era. This book reminds me a bit of the Victoria Holt books I used to read. It has the young heroine trying to get by, a touch of the Gothic atmosphere, mystery and of course, family secrets and drama. Kudos once again, to Ms. Ware on a stellar book.

**Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley in exchange of an honest review.**
Was this review helpful?
Eery, atmospheric, and brilliant! I loved everything about this gothic-style book and found it difficult to put it down. I’ve already ordered a copy for my sister! 

This book was creepy in the best way possible and I just loved the tarot cards reading element. 

Would highly recommend to all fans of the genre!
Was this review helpful?
Another well-written novel by Ruth Ware.  She continues to tell excellent, believable tales.  Overall, the story kept my attention and had me guessing until the end.  Thank you to the publisher, as well as, for allowing me to read this.
Was this review helpful?
***Thank you to Netgalley, The publister and author for this arc*****. “One for sorrow Two for joy Three for a girl Four for a boy Five for silver Six for gold Seven for a secret Never to be told“

Hal is struggling to pay her bills when she gets a letter that she was left the inherternce of Mrs. Westaway.  A Slow building suspense, you can feel the tensions building between Hal, her new “family” and Mrs. Warren. Family secrets never stay hidden......
This book is atmospheric, creepy old home, tarot cards, magpies. It was as if you were there while reading!
Was this review helpful?
The Death of Mrs. Westaway is by far my favorite book she has written. I loved the rest, but this one got me.  I knew one mystery right away, but that twist at the end, wow!! I met Ruth Ware a week ago at a book signing and she read my tarot card. She did not disappoint in person or in her writing.
Was this review helpful?
I was constantly trying to figure out whodunit! Ruth Ware does an amazing job of creating a creepy setting and developing characters.
Was this review helpful?
A twisty tale full of tarot and secrets from Ruth Ware (who is an absolute auto-buy author for me). This book follows Hal as she recieves a letter addressed to someone else naming her in a will. With a loan coming due and collectors threatening, she has no choice but to follow through on the scam and try to claim the inheritance.

I'll be honest-- I thought I had this one figured out halfway through, but just like THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10, Ware shocked me right up until the end. Another great book!
Was this review helpful?
After reading The Woman in Cabin 10 I was a little hesitant to read another Ruth Ware novel. The title, creepy cover and description of The Death of Mrs. Westaway lured me in. The book followed 21 year old Hal as she tried to keep her life together after the death of her mother. She receives a letter stating she is entitled to an inheritance and she decides to go for it- even if it isn't her family so she can get some money to help her pay her bills. She quickly becomes intertwined with this family- but is it hers? The book is full of family secrets, lies, fortune telling that help set the overall tone of the book. It was a little confusing trying to keep everyone straight at times and some parts seemed to drag on a little too much but overall it was a nice read albeit creepy at times. Thanks to Netgalley and Gallery/Scout Press for the ARC copy.
Was this review helpful?
Ruth Ware does not disappoint in her latest suspense novel. Her poetic writing and subtle scares draw readers into the story of Harriet (Hal) Westaway as she sets out to defraud the family of her supposed dead grandmother. When Hal receives a letter from a lawyer stating that her grandmother, Hester, has left her a bequest, she realizes the mistake; Hal doesn’t have a grandmother named Hester. But desperate for money, she decides to go to the funeral. Little did she know, she was inserting herself into a family buried under years of secrets and lies. Readers will think the beginning of this novel slow and a bit confusing, but the payoff pushing through is great. The twists and turns of this story, in true Ruth Ware fashion, will have readers fervently flipping pages to the end.
Was this review helpful?
*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review* 

While I have loved Ruth Ware’s first two books, the next two (‘The Lying Game’ and ‘Mrs. Westaway’) are good, but not what I expect.

This story was a family drama with some mystery and thrilling points. The story and the setting were original. While there are some twists, it wasn’t quite as many as I hoped for because it’s Ruth Ware writing! Still, if you like her, read it. You’ll get enjoyment out of it. I did, overall.
Was this review helpful?
Ms. Ware is gaining quite the reputation for family psychological thrillers.  This books lives up to the hype.  Hal receives notice that she is going to inherit some money and thinks it's not really for her. She attends the funeral of Mrs. Westaway and discovers that she is indeed part of this strange family. Hal has taken over her mother's tarot card reading booth to support herself since her mother disappeared several months ago.  Lots of twists and turns and the family secrets are enough to kill you.  Good read that you want to finish just one more chapter before put it down.  I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Tangled webs!

I really didn't see the final resolution of this suspenseful novel coming, although the tension throughout fully supports the unveiled dart exploding all previous suppositions.
Margarita Maggie (Hal) thinks she'll just go along with an inheritance that comes her way even though she knows this is a case of mistaken identity. Maybe she'll come away with enough money to pay the loan shark whose threatening her. Maybe she'll be able to move away with her tarot cards, gifted from her mother and continue elsewhere. Cards, that as we read, don't tell Hal's future but do help her to figure her way through the maze she's found herself in. Hal certainly didn't expect the 'inheritance' to be what it was. Complications, surprises--ugly and tragic, dog the pages.
Well worth the read!

A NetGalley ARC
Was this review helpful?
I’m a huge fan of Ruth Ware, she is actually one of my auto buy authors. As usual this book is compromised of concise, easy to read chapters. I found myself jumping right back into Ruth’s descriptive writing style. I love that the whole book had diary entires scattered throughout from the past. The fact that you don’t know who exactly wrote these entries makes it that much more interesting. Sadly this one was just too slowly paced and drawn out for me. It makes me upset that I was just let down totally by this read.

The fact that there was an unreliable main character definitely was a great choice. She had a pretty mysterious back story, where you learn bits and pieces about it throughout the whole book. The inner dialogue was a great touch, and the fact that Hal was a tarot card reader. I’m very into the whole psychic aspect of the story. There was a lot of family interaction, between Hal and this new family. 

Unfortunately, even though this was a solid murder mystery type book, it just wasn’t action packed enough to me. It was just too slow paced and dragged in a lot of places. The first half of the book was pretty much all back story, that I wasn’t interested in. I will say there was a great twist thrown in. If you like a character driven, quick and easy murder mystery read this one is definitely for you.
Was this review helpful?
Hal (short for Harriet) is scraping by, not even making ends meet, living in the tiny attic apartment she has lived in her whole life, reading people’s fortunes at the seaside where her mother used to do the readings herself. But her mother is dead now, and bills are far overdue. Then she receives a strange letter from an attorney saying that her grandmother has died and she is invited to attend the funeral and be present for the “reading of the will,” essentially.

The letter is clearly meant for someone else because her mother’s parents died years before. And her mother had told her she didn’t even know her father’s name. But as she does a little research, it’s clear that this late Mrs. Westaway, of Trepassen House, was quite wealthy. Perhaps she can benefit just a little from this large estate. Perhaps she can step into the shoes of this Harriet Westaway. She does, after all, have experience cold-reading people, so she might be able to pull off the con. It’s going to be tricky, but getting just a few thousand pounds, maybe, wouldn’t hurt anyone when there’s so much money, and it would certainly help her.

So Hal goes off to the tiny town of St. Piran. But things are not what they seem at the large estate. Trepassen House clearly has seen better days, and the family members are surprised to learn Harriet exists at all. Despite their surprise they’re all welcoming, except for the old, longtime housekeeper, who is cold and mean and puts her in a tiny attic room to stay and almost seems to be threatening her at times.

Of course, strange things happen, and Hal finds herself in danger. She may very well have been much better off (safe, at least) not reading the letter from the attorney. …

The Death of Mrs. Westaway had me hooked early on. It was hard to put down. The situation twists and turns and has Hal (and the reader) wondering what’s happening as surprising information pops up. I actually went back and re-read/skimmed over the book just to see events and clues (and some red herrings) with the perspective of knowing the end, and to enjoy it again.

I am surprised I hadn’t heard of Ruth Ware before this book, given my love of these kinds of gothic stories. I will now definitely check out her other books.
Was this review helpful?
Hal receives a letter from a solictor advising her that she has inherited an estate from her deceased grandmother, Mrs. Westaway. The problem is -- Hal has no living relatives. That she knows of. She decides, however, to go and meet the "family" and try to get some money.

I don't like writing reviews of books that I didn't enjoy. This one had no menace, no thrills, no suspense and no mystery -- I had figured out what was going on a few chapters in. It seems to have been written for a high schooler and, though I muddled through, I felt that the melodrama and the contrived attempt to create a gothic atmosphere only irritated me. I didn't like the main character, Hal, and the others were so paper thin as to be caricatures. Can someone say the obvious -- DNA test??? Glad I'm done. I won't be recommending. 

I do thank NetGalley and the publisher for this e-book ARC to read and review.
Was this review helpful?
I found this book very entertaining. I starts off slow but keeps you in suspense. The main character Mel receives a letter in the mail about a huge inheritance from a dead grandmother.. Even though she knows it was addressed to the wrong person she decides to see about this inheritance. Having a job as a tarot and fortune reader doesn't pay very well. and owning money to some mobster type men makes people  do crazy things I guess.. This book kept me guessing and I like when a book does that. Having been a bit disappointed in Ruth Ware's  previous book  The Lying Game., I was glad to see her back in the game with this book.
Was this review helpful?
I'm providing this review based on an ARC provided by NetGalley.

I adore Ruth Ware. Her novels have been something of a slow burn for me over the years, but I think with this latest offering, I've reached peak Ware fandom. Truly, the author gets better with each offering. The Death of Mrs. Westaway is a classic British mystery, with a contemporary setting and tone. I can appreciate the classics of this genre but am even happier to find an author creating a modern take on the classic British mystery. Ware's characters have depth and it's a great puzzle to watch their layers peel away throughout the story. This is the type of book that would lead me to grab a cup of coffee and settle in on a cozy rainy day. Of course, all of this is not to say that the story is the least bit dull. The world-building and characters keep the pages turning briskly until you reach the lead-up to a very tense final act. I hope Ms. Ware continues on this trajectory.
Was this review helpful?