- Author: Rebecca Netley
- Series: Standalone
- Genre: Horror
- No. of pages: 400
- Dates read: 20.09.21 – 21.09.21
- Star Rating: 2 stars
- ARC Publisher: Michael Joesph
- Date Published: 14.10.21
Plot: Alone in the world, Elspeth Swansome takes the position of nanny to a family on the remote Scottish island of Skelthsea. Her charge, Mary, hasn’t uttered a word since the sudden death of her twin, William – just days after their former nanny disappeared. No one will speak of what happened to William. Just as no one can explain the hypnotic lullabies sung in empty corridors. Nor the strange dolls that appear in abandoned rooms. Nor the faint whistling that comes in the night. . . As winter draws in and passage to the mainland becomes impossible, Elspeth finds herself trapped. But is this house haunted by the ghosts of the past? OR THE SECRETS OF THE LIVING. . . ?
So, first off I want to thank both Netgalley and Michael Joesph for a copy of this ARC in an exchange for an honest review.
As you can probably tell by the star rating, I didn’t love this book. Going into it I had no expectations but recently I had been really enjoying haunted house novels but I feel sometimes these stories can end up predictable or repetitive. And this was the case with this novel.
In terms of the writing, I felt it was easy to read, it flowed really nicely and had a good pace. While I wasn’t enamoured with the plot as a whole, the story was super easy and accessible to read so I didn’t have an issue with continuing on to the end. Netley’s strongest elements were creating suspense and intrigue within her writing, especially at the beginning she did a great job of getting you hooked.
In terms of plot, this book did nothing that I haven’t seen before. The first 100 pages felt very quick but I felt that she slightly rushed the first part of the novel so many important plot points didn’t feel set up properly. And then when certain reveals happened further down the line I didn’t really feel that it had the impact that the author intended, to me the reveals fell flat or I didn’t really understand why it was important until the author basically explained it all to me. Sadly, since this book did nothing new or really surprised me in any way as I read it, I didn’t feel super connected to the story and I just wanted to get to the end and pick up a new book which was such a shame.
The characters in this book were really interesting. I felt we got a good variety of characters, especially female characters, but the characters I wanted to highlight were that of Elspeth and Mary and their growing relationship. I really enjoyed watching these two characters interact with one another, I enjoyed watching them grow together and I enjoyed all their scenes. This was also a highlight of the novel.
Overall, this was a novel with so much potential but certain plot choices and structure decisions led to it falling flat.
The next book I will be reviewing is Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria.