The Death of Mrs Westaway

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 28 Jul 2018

Member Reviews

The Death of Mrs.Westaway

Get out while you still can. Ruth Ware has created a thrilling house with even darker secrets. The Death of Mrs. Westaway begins with Hal and a mysterious inheritance to someone she has never heard of. Pretending all is well, she returns to the estate and realised that this is more than she bargained for.

The pace in this novel is well thought out. It begins rather fast paced, with the introduction to Hal and her need to escape. After the first meeting with the lawyer Mr.Treswick, the novel seemed to slow a little. However this allows the reader to come to terms with what is happening and to explore the grounds and the rest of the characters with Hal. From this point on, the pace continues to build, leaving the reader with sleepless nights of reading.

The plot itself plays to Ware’s strengths as her style cannot be unacknowledged in the plot. Ware’s writing style tends to be located in a location that holds memories and secrets that are carefully revealed one by one. The Death of Mrs.Westaway tends to be the most focused towards a mystery novel, with Hal and the reader being the detective. With this being said, this mystery brings the traditional victorian mystery into the contemporary here and now. Therefore do not expect a predictable read with this book. Whilst you are reading one part, Ware is tweaking with something else in the background.

There is some very significant influences to this novel that are very hard to ignore. The past location of Ezra and the estate itself, are strong influences of Daphne Du Maurie’s Rebecca. Throughout the novel the similarities are uncanny. However Ruth Ware makes sure that you don’t read the same novel twice. 

Furthermore superstition also plays a key part in the novel, from tarot cards to magpies that swarm the grounds. This could challenge the reader’s beliefs of what is believed and what is fact. It is this concept that is consistently returned to when trying to uncover the secrets throughout the novel. What are the facts and what is it that you want to believe?

The Death of Mrs.Westaway is a perfect choice for readers who loved Rebecca or are curious about superstition. However if you enjoy a good mystery but would wish they kept you guessing, then again, you’re looking at your next read.

If you are still not entranced by this novel then, through the words of Mrs.Warren Get out while you still can.

Although we already know what you are going to read next, don’t we?
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Hal is a struggling young women trying to make ends meet after her mum had died in a hit and run accident, only leaving her with the opportunity to continue making a living from tarot card readings on the pier. She had fallen into debt, with no option other than borrowing from a money leader with no hope of ever repaying the loan because of ridiculously high interest rates. So when she receives a letter telling her that she has been named as a benefactor in her grandmother’s will, a grandmother so knew nothing about, then she decides that it must be a mistake but one that she must grab with both hands. Perhaps there could be enough money to clear this debt once and for all!
This is my first Ruth Ware novel and it was fabulous. I liked Hal straight away, independent and compassionate. As she dealt with the general public through her work, I thought that she would hold her own pretty well with her new relatives, that she had been summoned to meet up with at the departed Mrs. Westaway’s house. Well house I say loosely as it was more a mansion, albeit run down and need of substantial repair. Hal was to meet her uncles and extended family who welcomed her with open arms convinced she was the daughter of their sister that ran away years before. The housekeeper, Mrs Warren, was another matter entirely, she came with a warning to Hal!
This story moves from one of mystery to one of a more sinister and deadly nature as secrets from the past are woken up as Hal begins to delve into family history.  A proper whodunit and who could do it again mystery. A brilliant dark and compelling read!
I wish to thank NetGalley for an e-copy of this book, which I have reviewed honestly.
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I struggled with this one, it wasn't keeping my attention unfortunately. It was a shame as I have read some great ones by this author but this one wasn't the one for me.
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The storyline was intriguing: our protagonist, Hal receives a letter, tempting her with the promise of an inheritance she knows isn’t hers. It's a good read (although I guessed the plot too early), with enough twists and turns to keep those pages turning.
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A good page turner, but a bit far-fetched at times! But overall a well-written and very readable thriller.
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I've read all of Ruth Ware's others books so of course when NetGalley offered up a copy of her latest novel I wasn't going to say no!  The Death of Mrs Westaway features an old country estate, a feuding family, dark secrets, and my favourite bit - tarot cards!  Harriet Westaway makes her living reading tarot cards for people on the pier in Brighton.  She is totally self-sufficient following the death of her mother in a hit-and-run accident some years earlier, and her father has never been made known to her.  One day she receives a letter from a solicitor to say that she has been named in her grandmother's will and must travel to Cornwall to find out what the bequest is.  

Hal (as she likes to be called) is somewhat sceptical, her grandparents are both dead, so surely the solicitor has made some sort of error.  However, with very little income, and a fierce loan shark on her back Hal thinks that she can probably scam the family into believing she really is the granddaughter they believe her to be.  After all she makes a living out of telling people their fortunes based on their appearances alone, so surely she can use this skill to her advantage?

Arriving at Trepassen House is nothing like Hal expected, and for the first time in ages, she is suddenly part of a family; albeit not an especially cosy one, but it feels right.  The housekeeper, however, seems to have taken an instant dislike to her and Hal isn't sure if she has already seen through her plan.  With trip wires, bulbs that are removed in the dark, and things that go bump in the night, Ruth Ware has conjured up a gothic style mystery for the modern day.  Families are never quite what they seem, are they?!
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The Death of Mrs Westaway was one of my anticipated books and I was happy when I got approved to read it. 

I found the book atmospheric, Ware's writing is absolutely beautiful and her creepy atmosphere really sucked me in. It was so eerie at times, something I really loved.

I felt there were some loose ends as well and also me working stuff out before Hannah figured it all out was a little bit of a letdown. 

But... despite of those comments, I did enjoy this book and think it could be a lovely gift to those, who love creepy reads as the author slightly messes up with your mind and creates a very atmospheric, eerie read.

I would like to thank both the author and the publisher for letting me read this book.
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Oh goodness, I love Ruth's books, so it pains me greatly to say I just couldn't get on with this one. I've had this on my kindle months (hence the late feedback) and I kept thinking if i tried it another time it'd work, but in the end you have to give in. 

It was nothing to do with Ruth's writing why I didn't enjoy it; her usual fantastically gothic and eerie style was right there as always which I love, it was more on a personal level where I just didn't click with the character and I just found it a wee bit too far fetched. 

I appreciate the chance to review this and again apologise for my lateness (but it's only because I wanted to love it and kept picking it up and trying!). I still can't wait for Ruth's next book and she's still one of my very favourite authors.
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A lovely book by Ruth Ware telling the story of Hal who works on Brighton Pier as a tarot reader. Since the death of her mother, Hal has struggled to fend for herself. When she receives a solicitors letter telling her she is to receive a bequest from her grandmother, despite knowing it is a case of mistaken identity, her stricken circumstances lead her to decide to play along and accept the money.
Although she is making this decision, Hal is an incredibly likeable character and this kept me intrigued as to what would happen next and how the story would resolve and what would happen to Hal.
An intriguing mystery full of twists.
Highly recommend.
Thanks to NetGalley for a Kindle copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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The Death of Mrs Westaway is a fast-paced, engaging gothic mystery... if slightly annoying and prone to narrative leaps that are frankly, too far-fetched and extraordinary to be fully believed. That is not to say that I did not enjoy it, because I did. In fact, I sat in my living room and read it in its entirety over the course of an afternoon. And sometimes, that is all that I need from a mystery/thriller — not for it to be a literary masterpiece or a marvellous work of fiction, just an intriguing whodunnit that will help a few hours pass by. But with that being said, I will probably not be picking up another Ruth Ware book in the future, if the rumours are to be believed and that this is the strongest of all of her novels, because The Death of Mrs Westaway was a level of average that I could handle, but anything worse than it? That would be a whole different story.
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I think this is probably my favourite Ruth Ware novel to date. A great setting, likeable main character and a whole cast of others worthy of an Agatha Christie novel. I really enjoyed the story and not trying to second guess everything.
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What a great read this was, spookiness and mysterious going one from beginning to end ...a. bery enjoyable book
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This was the first Ruth Ware book I have ever read and I'm clearly going to have to check out her back list. I loved the setting - creepy, crumbling old estates are definitely my jam, The displaced heiress trope could have been a bust but wasn't because the MC had so much agency and personality. It's so nice to see a heroine who was practical and would do anything to survive. The plot was satisfyingly twisty and well paced. The prose was plain and unadorned. This was a thoroughly enjoyable book, even if the ending was a little predictable after all that wonderful build up. Really enjoyed this.
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Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. I’ve read all of Ruth Ware books, and they’re always a rollercoaster of a treat. 
This follows Harriet, a young woman who works as a tarot reader on Brighton Pier. She’s still dealing with her mother’s death, paying off crippling debt, and living in a tiny flat that she’s struggling to maintain, when she receives a letter from a solicitor inviting her to Penzance, as her grandma has died and she’s due to an inheritance. But this must be a mistake because Harriet’s grandparents have already died...Desperate she decides to pretend to be the long lost grand-daughter and goes to Cornwall...
This was a fast gripping read. I highly enjoyed the characterisations of Harriet (I found her motivations believable) and the squabbling uncles. I particularly loved the setting: most of the story is set in Mrs Westerley’s creepy, isolated and enormous estate, with dashes of a cold and rainy Brighton. My only gripe was with the last 10%. I personally found the climax predictable and cliched, filled with tropes I’ve seen many times. 
On the whole this is a good pass-time mystery. It’s 3.5 from me.
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Plot: Hal, Harriet Westaway, a cold-reading fortune teller on Brighton’s pier, receives a letter telling her of the death of “her grandmother” and bequeathing her an inheritance. The problem is that she knows this relative may not really be her own. Still, she travels to strange and eerie Trepassen House for the funeral, meeting her “uncles” and their families, where it quickly becomes clear that, in fact, she does have a connection to the family after all. Can she keep up the ploy, using her cold-reading skills, or will she give in and admit the truth?

My thoughts: I LOVED the setting of this novel at Trepassen House – crumbling estates with a creepy history are the best, and this one does it very well. On top of that, the slow unraveling of the plot with a variety of kindly and, frankly, quite creepy characters was excellent. It’s a book with several layers and clues hidden and planted among them all that come together in the end. I’ve read criticisms that it has a lot of plot holes, but honestly, those that may have appeared to me weren’t so significant that it ruined the reading for me – in fact, this spellbinding novel has become one of my favourites of late.
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Although the 'gimmick' of appearing in place of a heiress is hard to wear, and it does not work entirely well for the heroine Hal. In fact she is meant to be there! In the end, it was  the bare style of writing that impressed me, strangely - matching Hal herself in some ways. No flounces or light wit but just straight ploughing forward. It's the strength of the writing and after a while, it began to feel to grim - I did not like Hal, really. And I think I am meant to admire her grit and her capacity to survive. We get immessed with her in a family when there is a surprising discovery - her father! - so perhaps the letter did not go astray??!!  And murderous intent that did not entirely convince me. Extremely impressive and professional writing -  however, i just did not warm to it ...
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Deeply atmospheric, and steeped in the Gothic, The Death of Mrs Westaway is by far the best book Ruth Ware has written thus far (and I say this having read all of them bar The Lying Game but I'll assume my statement will still stand after reading that one too). 

Harriet 'Hal' Westaway is a tarot reader at the Brighton Pier. Broke, in trouble and alone she receives a letter from a mysterious benefactor bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. With limited options and a loan shark on her back, Hal decides to fradulently claim this inheritance as her own, but when she arrives as the Westaway family home, she quickly finds herself immersed in a rich family history breaking apart at the seams. There's something dark and sinister at bay in this family built upon betrayal and greed. 

I truly cannot rave about how much I loved this book enough. Gone was your typical unreliable (and often alcoholic) narrator and instead was Hal Westaway: brazen, headstrong and determined to survive. She had depth and relatability and was such a joy to read. I couldn't rest until I had my answers, and even though Hal's real father was glaringly obvious from the moment she met the Westaway's, the reveal itself was shocking and a delightful twist. 

If Ruth Ware continues to write more books like this one then I will be impatently waiting for every new release because I need more books like The Death of Mrs. Westaway.
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This one didn't work quite as well for me as The Lying Game; I found the characters were not as engaging and the pacing felt a bit off at times. However, it is still an engaging and enjoyable story with lots going for it: an old family home falling into disrepair, an unexpected inheritance, a dysfunctional family with lots of secrets
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I am a great fan of Ruth Ware and have read every book she has published.  I always await the next publication and jumped at the chance to read The Death of Mrs Westaway. And yet again the author had delivered a phenomenal read. 
Thoroughly enjoyed this book and it comes with a high recommendation
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The Death of Mrs Westaway is, in my opinion, Ruth Ware’s best book yet. It is part gothic mystery, part psychological thriller, part whodunit and part whatisgoingon!

I found Hal to be a very sympathetic character – she’s grieving, she’s torn about how she makes a living but she’s trying to do her best. I found the descriptions of the tarot deck and her cold reading techniques fascinating. It was a bit like watching Hustle – you know she’s doing something unethical, probably illegal, but you’re still cheering her on to succeed throughout the book.

The supporting cast of characters are all well drawn and each brings something crucial to the narrative. The story itself is brilliantly plotted, running back and forth in time with dual narrations, allowing a complex web of secrets, lies and tragedy to be gradually exposed and some great twists to surprise you.

The locations are all very atmospheric, from cold, wet and windy Brighton and Hal’s small flat to gloomy, run down, forbidding Trepassen House, with its creepy rooms, grounds and lake. I could clearly picture it all and could see The Death of Mrs Westaway making a great mini series.

I loved this book and am hugely grateful to NetGalley and Random House UK, Vintage Publishing for the ARC of The Death of Mrs Westaway.
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