The Death of Mrs. Westaway

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Jul 2018

Member Reviews

Ruth Ware is one of my favorite writers. This was a highly entertaining Gothic mystery. I liked the character and empathized with her plight to find security in a desperate situation.. When I finished reading it I realized it was the first time in a very long time I'd read a book (other than a children's book) that didn't have a romantic subplot tacked on and that was remarkably refreshing!
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Thank you Netgalley, the publisher and the author.
I enjoyed reading this book but I thought it dragged at times so I kept loosing interest in the middle of it.
I couldn’t wait to see if the main character was related to the Westaways family and what the matriarch knew that we didn’t.
The first third  of the book was interesting, the second third dragged while the end was very interesting and not at all what I expected.
A surprising ending which I didn’t expect at all.
Overall recommend. 3.5 rating
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I was really looking forward to reading the latest Ruth Ware novel  I have read previous Ruth Ware novels and really loved them - this one is no exception.  Great character development and kept me on the edge of my seat.
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I came into this book a little leery of the tarot card aspect to the story and wasn't certain how I would respond to it, but I surprisingly didn't mind it.  I found the story dragged on at times, but picked up in the last third of the novel.  I liked the main character and her growth throughout the story and really liked the character of Mitzi and how there was more to her than meets the eye.

I would have liked more explanation into the motivations of the murderer; I was underwhelmed with the explanation, although people have killed for lesser reasons, I know.  I was left thinking the murderer was just a not very nice person at heart, hence the actions.

There were a surprising number of twists in this book - the identity of the murderer; the main character's search for her father's identity; the back story of Hal's mother and the long-lost Westaway sister. I always enjoy a good twist!
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I received an ARC of this from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I couldn't put this book down! Ruth Ware did not disappoint with her latest mystery/thriller novel. The storyline and the family trees were a bit complicated and it took me a few tries to set things straight. I liked the tarot card aspect to the storyline as I think it added that little paranormal touch. The author kept me guessing throughout the book as more and more clues were revealed but I still managed to figure out who the man in question was but I loved the back story that went with all of it.
Well done. I'd totally recommend this.
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I stuck with the book because although it was slow at the start it picked up and had me wanting to know what happened. I connected with the main character and was interested in seeing where her path would take her. The story was well written and plot developed nicely. I didn't guess how it would end until the author got me there. I had some suspiciouns but nothing concrete. I even stayed up till 1am to finish the book because I was hooked.
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5 stars!  The chilling and eerie atmosphere in this novel was like a character of its own!   

It didn’t take long for me to feel completely immersed in this haunting tale.   The damp and dark weather.   The old, crumbling mansion.  The family full of lies and long hidden secrets.   This is my kind of book!  I have read every one of Ruth Ware’s novels and this is by far, my favourite! 

This book revolves around twenty-one year old Harriet Westaway “Hal”, who took over her mother’s tarot card reading business after she passed away three years ago.  Years of being alone and struggling to pay the bills have left Hal frustrated and desperate.  One day, she receives a mysterious letter advising that she has been left a substantial inheritance from Mrs. Westaway, a grandmother she has never heard of.  Hal travels to the Trepassen House estate where she meets the family of Mrs. Westaway.   

The writing was perfection!  I was glued to the pages from start to finish!  Ruth Ware kept the tension, mystery and suspense building as each page turned, all the while keeping the dark and unnerving atmosphere brooding.  Each character brought forth a new aura of intrigue and secrecy.   

I read this along with the Traveling Friends which was a pleasure!   

A big thank you to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster Canada and Ruth Ware for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

The Death Of Mrs. Westaway is AVAILABLE NOW!!!
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I was given this ARC by the publisher in return for an honest review.
This is the second mystery book I read in late spring in an attempt to satisfy my craving for a good contemporary mystery story, alas in vain. I saw this story greatly promoted before its publication and I felt so special for having received an ARC. Plus, this story is set in Cornwall, a place I recently was fortunate enough to visit and admire.
I must apologize in advance for perhaps coming across a bit strong, but I have a great pet peeve when it comes to stories that keep introducing characters well towards the halfway point. This is exactly what happened in this story. We spent an awful long time being introduced to the main character, her situation and her troubles. Then in rapid succession the reader meets over half a dozen characters with half the story almost over. The protagonist herself does not appear to be the main character of her own story; a very passive aggressive young woman, whose indecisiveness drove me, personally, absolutely crazy with frustration.
The plot, I guess, should have been a straight forward telling of a mystery story, but got gloriously lost in the many details and characters to a point where I could not have cared any less for any of it.
The writing was supposed to create a sense of melancholy and sadness, considering the protagonist’s background, but combine the constant drone of a narrative tone with the long introduction and then endless list of new characters and the air of mystery quickly evaporates.
Overall, this story had so much potential, so much working for its successful creation of a great mystery set against the landscape of Cornwall, but it got sadly lost along the way. My search for a good contemporary mystery this year continues and I would not recommend this story.
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The Death of Mrs. Westaway is a creepy and slow-burning mystery novel. Ruth Ware once again manages to create a very Agatha Christis-esque atmosphere, where even in quiet scenes, you can feel a tension building. She  fleshes out her characters to make you feel for even those who you would probably despise if you met them outside of the pages of a book.
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I loved this dark mystery novel. I'm a fan of Ruth Ware and I enjoyed her new one. The style is different than A women in cabin 10 though.
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Absolutely loved the cover of this novel and it's symbolism. It was a good story that peaked my interest early on. A very atmospheric setting with the old manor house in Cornwall, England. There was a creepiness to this book..from the old house (especially Hal's room up in the attic) to some of the characters.

Hal (Harriet) is a young lady who's mother has recently passed away. She's a tarot card reader on the pier in Brighton (loved this added to the creepiness of the story.) She receives a mysterious letter from a lawyer informing her that her Grandmother has passed away and she has inherited an estate. Hal is confused as she has never known any family. It was always just her mother and her. She is curious and in need of money so she decides to go up to Cornwall for the funeral. There she meets other family members and the creepy Mrs. Warren who is the housekeeper of the estate. From this point on the story sort of changed for me. Perhaps it was a little slow moving. It did keep me guessing but I was also a little confused trying to keep the characters in order.

I liked the writing. Ruth Ware does not disappoint there. It's just that this particular story lacked intrigue for me. I have read Ruth Ware's, "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and enjoyed it. I also have "The Woman in Cabin 10" and "The Lying Game" that I plan to read. I know many people really enjoyed this one so I'd still recommend it. It was a satisfactory read.
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This new mystery from British writer Ruth Ware (The Woman in Cabin 10 and In a Dark, Dark Wood) is a lot of fun from start to finish. I keep think it’s like a grown-up Nancy Drew mystery (in a good way!), with a more realistic and nicely flawed heroine caught in a web of deceit and murder. Hal Westaway is 21, living alone in Brighton three years after her mother was brutally killed by a hit and run driver. With no income and few options, she picks up her mum’s tarot cards and continues her business on the pier. During a slow period, with bills piling up, she turns to a loan shark for help, and they are demanding more than she can pay back. So when a solicitor’s letter arrives letting her know her grandmother has died and left her some money, Hal is thrilled. Except she knows it’s a mistake; her grandmother has been long dead. But faced with the threat of bodily harm from the loan shark’s collector, she decides to go in hopes of getting a few hundred pounds from a rich family that won’t miss it. But nothing goes quite as she planned, and soon Hal is caught between her ethics, her desire for family, and clues suggesting her past is not at all what she thought it was. The pacing is slow and steady, with events building up the tension as we start to realize what’s going on, only to be thrown by a new bit of information. I was sure I’d identified the killer early on – nope. Then I thought I’d figured out the twist – nope again. And the setting is perfect – creepy old house, dark and shut-up rooms, a sinister housekeeper with a clicking cane, and confusing clues all wrapped up in lousy cell service. Ware is clearly influenced by Agatha Christie and Daphne Du Maurier for this one, and does a fine job of honouring the great dames of mystery in creating an atmospheric, gothic thriller in a modern setting. Loved it! And with such a young heroine, this is a great choice for transitioning teen readers to the adult mystery genre. My thanks to publisher Simon & Schuster Canada for the digital reading copy provided through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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Hal is a young woman who seems to always be down on her luck. The story starts off with Hal, going through her current mail, and seeing all of her bills are pretty much all final notices. Invoice after invoice, Hal realizes that she’s running financially on empty. While she is going through her mail, she finds a hand written letter informing Hal that she is the heir to a somewhat large fortune. This doesn’t seem to make sense to Hal as she lost her mother in a tragic hit and run accident before Hal could finish high school. Her loss put her in emotional turmoil, and swept the only thing that was secure right out from under her feet. The loss of Hal’s mother forced her to have to change, and grow up fast. She takes up her mother’s business to attempt to make ends meet. Provides tarot card readings, and palm readings as she has witnessed her mother do many times over.

Hal finds herself in a tight spot when she first took over her mother’s pier side kiosk. She was having a slow month, and couldn’t find a way to make ends meet. She ends up taking a loan out through a shady individual Mr. Smith. Hal does her best to repay the debt, but she has a couple more slow months, and is unable to make her repayments. Mr. Smith becomes tired of waiting for a payment from Hal, so Hal has a visitor come to her kiosk close to closing time.

 This book has been enjoyable since the day I cracked it open. I honestly appreciated how Ruth Ware introduced Hal into the story. I honestly don’t think I would have appreciated Hal’s story if the author started with the career path that poor Hal was forced into. Making the reader come to appreciate the common struggles that Hal faces, and while staying true to the character and her life style. I appreciated how the author kept the book coming back to her set of cards, while maintaining a sceptical view on what the cards are ‘revealing’.

This story has managed to keep me entertained while reading it. This book is by far a solid (*)(*)(*)(*)/5. The story is interesting enough to keep the reader wondering and the pages turning.

I found that this book has been a subtle side step for Ruth Ware, and perhaps some literary growth for the author. She manages to maintain the mystery while managing to present another story dynamic at the same time. With that said, by no means is this book what I expected to read, I think for some strange reason I was hoping this book might have been a little faster paced. There were plot twists, and emerging questions that kept me reading on. This book was enthralling enough that I found myself in grocery stores picking up unsold copies, finding where was, and reading it while I waited for my turn in line. So at the end of it all.. Ruth Ware fails to disappoint, once again this book is amazing. With its many ‘what ifs’, and plot twists. If you haven’t read, or started reading this book… you should run out, and pick up your copy now.
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With echoes of the favourite books of my past, “The death of Mrs. Westaway” was very appealing. A young woman in a dire financial situation coupled with a mysterious family, an old manor house in Cornwall and an unexpected inheritance. It certainly ticked all the boxes for me. 


First we meet Hal (Harriet) Westaway. In her early twenties, she lost her mother to a hit and run driver just a few years ago. She never knew her father. With all hopes of further education quashed along with her mother’s sudden death, Hal takes up the reins of her mother’s career as a Tarot card cold reader in a booth on the iconic pier in Brighton.

She is barely able to support herself with the meager income she gets working on the pier. As a result she made the unwise decision to borrow from an unscrupulous money lender and now, though she has paid the loan in full and then some, they are hounding her for an additional 3000 pounds in ‘interest’. They have threatened her physically and entered her flat when she was not at home.

“She was always tired from working, and always hungry, and most of all…  most of all she was lonely”.

Hal is surprised to receive an unexpected letter from a solicitor in Cornwall. It seems she is the recipient of a legacy from a Mrs. Westaway. Knowing that this MUST be a mistake, Hal nonetheless considers accepting the legacy. Her increasingly desperate financial situation has overshadowed the dubious moral considerations. She feels that because of her cold psychic reading skills she might be able to con herself into a much needed financial windfall.

“How could it be right that some people had so much, while others had so little?”

Using the last few pounds in her possession, Hal travels to Cornwall and attends the funeral of the unknown Mrs. Westaway. Following the funeral she goes on to the gloomy and gothic Trepassan House and meets the Westaway family and their dour and disapproving elderly housekeeper Mrs. Warren. During the drive up to the house she spies several magpies and learns that the house was named for the birds. She is given an attic room with iron bars on the windows and bolts on the outside of the door. Such are the things from which nightmares are born…

“She had made the choice she needed in order to survive, and now the only way out was to push forward – deeper into the deception.”

Expecting a legacy of a few thousand pounds, Hal soon learns that her inheritance exceeds her wildest dreams. But at what cost?

“silent malevolence”

Trepassan House is definitely a place of secrets. The question is – Do the secrets impact Hal, or are they someone else’s concern? What has she stumbled into? She soon learns that her very life might be at risk.


This is the second Ruth Ware title I have read. Her debut novel “In a dark, dark wood” was a very enjoyable read so I had high expectations of this, her fourth novel. I was not disappointed (even though the author included a telling clue within the first chapters).

I liked Hal’s character and was invested in her plight. Family secrets are always a draw for me, and this novel was rife with them. Secrets, lies, deception and betrayal in an atmospheric setting make for an enjoyable thriller.
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One Group / Two different Coulees 

Norma and I started off lost in a coulee with five of our Traveling Sisters. By the time we finished this story, we ended up in different coulees with how we felt about this story. Norma and I were left in the our heads are spinning barren coulee with 2 sisters, while three sisters were left sleepy from staying up all night and dancing in the garden lush coulee. 

Ruth Ware does a great job of creating an engaging and intriguing story, and this story had all the elements to make it an interesting story for us all. We loved the gothic feel, the old mysterious mansions with creepy rooms that hold secrets, a shady family with an inheritance and one of our favorite characters an angry and unfriendly housekeeper. Lots of creepy good to this story. 

We all started off intrigued and really liked our interesting main character tarot card reader Hal. We all soon grew to like housekeeper Mrs Warren who really gave a mysterious creepy feeling to the story as well for us. We soon meet the shady family members and that's when we started to go our separate ways in the coulee. For some of us, our heads started spinning in confusion with trying to piece together who is who and who is connected to who. We were engaged enough in the story to hold our attention till the end, however, we just gave up trying to put the pieces together. For the rest of the sisters, they found it exciting and intriguing putting those pieces together and couldn't put the book down till they were done. Leaving them reading to the wee hours and feeling a little book hangover the next day. 

In the end when we all came together for our final discussion as we tried to piece everything together and our heads kept on spinning till one sister rescued us with helping us figure it all out. The Death of Mrs. Westaway lead to a fun, entertaining and interesting discussion and for that reason I recommend for group discussion. 

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster Canada and Ruth Ware for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the book in exchange for a review!

This is Traveling Sisters GR Reading Group Review and it can be found posted on our themed book blog Two Sisters Lost In A Coulee Reading.
Coulee: a term applied rather loosely to different landforms, all of which refer to a kind of valley. Coulee references are symbolic to our reading experience
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Until now, I'd always enjoyed Ruth Ware's writing, but her books never quite did it for me. This has finally changed with The Death of Mrs. Westaway. 

The story focuses on Hal Westaway, a young woman who has fallen on tough times. A few years earlier, her mother had been killed in a hit-and-run, which left Hal penniless and without many choices. She takes over her mom's booth and begins to do tarot card readings at the pier, but this doesn't bring in a solid paycheque, so she also takes on a loan from a shady figure and her debts continue to mount. She receives a mysterious letter regarding the estate of Hester Westaway, mistakenly believed to be her grandmother. Hal decides to commit fraud in the hope for a small inheritance that could help her out of the tough spot that she is in. Once she reaches the family estate, Trepassen, she finds a crumbling mansion and learns that nothing is as it seemed. She is quickly exposed to danger, a super creepy housekeeper, and is drawn into various family intrigues. 

As always, I loved Ware's writing. The story has a lovely atmospheric setting of a crumbling mansion in Cornwall and the mystery itself worked for me. I especially had a soft spot for the character of Hal. She'd made some bad choices, but you could sense the desperation of a young woman who was left alone in this world and was left to fend for herself. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for the opportunity to read an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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2.5 stars!  Ruth Ware in my opinion has the absolute best sinister, gothic, and enticing covers ever! They have always grabbed my attention and gave me that feeling that I just HAD to read the book.  It is just too bad that my excitement didn’t follow through to the end of this story though.    

THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY by RUTH WARE is a slow-building, dark, atmospheric, and gothic mystery that had me somewhat engaged, entertained, and interested enough throughout this book to keep me turning those pages but I was never truly invested in this story though.

When reading a thriller &/or suspense novel I like to be able to work out the why and how and be pleasantly surprised by the little pieces of puzzles that were left along the way that I either missed or didn’t think were important to the twists or reveals. I thought some pieces of that puzzle were left out here and in some instances didn’t match-up so therefore this novel just didn’t work for me.

I also had a little problem with keeping all the characters straight as they all just seemed to roll up into one and it was really hard to differentiate between who was who, which I found rather distracting.

I will say though that I absolutely loved the setting of creepy Trespassen House and the atmosphere of this novel though!  I also thoroughly enjoyed Hal and her tarot card readings.  I thought the explanations and the meanings behind the cards were quite thought-provoking and had me really interested.  However, unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough to make this story really work for me. Even though I feel like I wasn’t quite the right reader for this one, I still recommend giving it a try! 

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster Canada and Ruth Ware for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the book in exchange for a review!
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This was an amazing novel. The main character, Hal is a tarot card reader at Brighton Pier. When Hal receives a mysterious letter naming her the heir to her grandmother’s estate, she decides this might be the answer to her financial woes. The start of this novel is slower but still engaging with the gloomy feel of the dreary Trespassen House, the family estate and the mysterious Westaways. Hal’s new home is a crumpling old mansion and her new family seems to be hiding many secrets about her dead mother and a missing cousin. This novel is full of twists and turns that had me guessing until the very end. 5 huge stars!
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LOVED this book! Definitely her best book yet!
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I loved it. It was an incredibly adictive read. Could not put it down. I just found myself wanting to know all of the westaway's family secrets, I loved all the twist ans turns of the story.
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