Book Review: The Death of Mrs. Westaway

My summer reading list this year has included some seriously hard hitting books. I wanted to lighten things up, so this week I’m bringing you three great beach reads. So pack your bags with these selections, and get ready to be drawn in to the drama!


Author: Ruth Ware
Published: May 29, 2018
Genre: Mystery
FLW Rating: 3.5/5

If you have come here looking for a repeat of the action of The Woman in Cabin 10,  I need to let you know you have come to the wrong place. The Death of Mrs. Westaway is fundamentally different from the rest of Ware’s mysteries, in that the main character in this book goes looking for trouble. And not only that, but the tone of this book is different too. I didn’t feel the same kind of raw fear and suspense that I felt in her first two, but I found this to be a truly unique and almost “cozy” mystery.

The protagonist of this book, Hal is a tarot card reader in London, who runs in to financial trouble. With no known living relatives and no way to increase profitability of her business, she feels like she doesn’t have any way to get herself out of that hole. As the situation starts to look more and more bleak, Hal receives a letter letting her know that her grandmother (who she didn’t know was still alive) had passed away and she was named in the will. Seeing this as a potential solution to her financial woes, Hal decides to go to the reading of the will and accept what she is to be given. However, when she gets there she has to introduce herself to the family and while getting herself caught in a tangle of lies, she also discovers a lot about this family that they did not necessarily want to come out.

I really enjoyed seeing this side of Ware’s imagination and hearing a bit of a different story from her. While a little on the long side, this book kept me engaged, entertained, and busy postulating my hypothesis.

My biggest qualm for this book is really a need to readjust Ware’s genre in my head.

After reading her previous works, I put her squarely in the “thriller” category, but I would have to classify this one more as a cozy mystery than a suspense, which is what I have come to know Ware for. The plot was never fear inducing or exciting, but always quietly convoluted. I think the expectation of suspense led me to feel let down at anything else, including this moody mystery that developed in its place. That being said, I definitely think this would make a great book to read on the beach if you’re looking for a unique and interesting mystery.

Have you read this? Let me know what you thought!

 

Book Review: The Lying Game

Hello Bookish Friends! It’s been a little since my last post – mostly because I am currently SO immersed in The Hearts Invisible Furies! A review should be coming pretty soon because I finally crossed the 500 page mark. But I digress…

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware was one of my most anticipated reads of the summer! When I first heard that Ruth Ware was coming out with another thriller, I added it to my Goodreads so I wouldn’t forget, texted my best reading friend, and waited patiently.

The wait for The Woman in Cabin 10 from the library was literally several MONTHS long, so I expected this to be the same situation, until I saw that Book of the Month was offering it for $9.99 with my August box! Sold!

In addition to The Woman in Cabin 10, I also read In a Dark Dark Wood by Ware, and I came to expect that a Ware thriller can be an unputdownable experience where you care deeply for the characters and truly question their survival. I set my expectations very high and I  was, honestly, disappointed.

The Lying Game is the story of four friends who witnessed a crime during their boarding school days, did not immediately realize the guilt they assumed by association, but refused to speak a word of it for the rest of their days. Until it became relevant again nearly seventeen years after they had all parted ways. 

For me, the character development fell through on this one. I felt in the dark throughout a lot of the story, without being given enough to keep me hanging on, but rather scratching my head and thinking ‘Am I missing something?’.

I felt that the plot could have been resolved easily by just saying HEY something happened when we were younger and we made some mistakes. The fact that noone in the story tried to do that, but let this lying game continue, really frustrated me.

So in the end, this was probably just a 3 Star read for me. I’ll probably read the next book Ware come out with, but I think I’ll borrow it from the library next time.

Your Turn:

Did you read this book? What did you think?

Do you think it’s hard for a writer to continue to produce great books after great books?

My mom had a saying in high school regarding high school sports, in which she said ‘It’s hard to win three times?’ Do you agree in the context of books?

Book Review: In A Dark, Dark Wood

Happy Fourth of July!

After almost two months of reluctant reading, I am feeling back in the game. The last three books I’ve read, I’ve read in about three days flat. The most recent of those being – In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware.

The Woman in Cabin 10, also by Ware, was a very popular Book of the Month selection last August. Unfortunately it was right after I had selected a different thriller and during the SAME month as All the Ugly and Wonderful Things (to date, one of my most favorite books). After continuing to hear amazing reviews about The Woman in Cabin 10, I finally was able to check it out from the library and enjoy it for myself. I was absolutely taken by the writing style and the suspense, and swore I would read whatever else Ware had published.

It took me six months, but I finally got around to opening Ware’s debut novel, In a Dark Dark Wood, and from the moment I opened it, I couldn’t put it down. I don’t pride myself on being a fast reader, but I couldn’t believe how fast the pages were turning; how quickly the book was progressing; how I felt like I couldn’t start the next chapter fast enough. This book was nothing like I expected and truly a thrilling experience.

Synopsis:

Leonora, known to some as Lee and others as Nora, is a reclusive crime writer, unwilling to leave her “nest” of an apartment unless it is absolutely necessary. When a friend she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years unexpectedly invites Nora (Lee?) to a weekend away in an eerie glass house deep in the English countryside, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. Forty-eight hours later, she wakes up in a hospital bed injured but alive, with the knowledge that someone is dead. Wondering not “what happened?” but “what have I done?”, Nora (Lee?) tries to piece together the events of the past weekend. Working to uncover secrets, reveal motives, and find answers, Nora (Lee?) must revisit parts of herself that she would much rather leave buried where they belong: in the past.

I [shockingly] don’t have a ton to say about this book, except it was one of my favorite binge-thriller-mystery-suspense reads in recent history, but for tradition sake let’s go through the rundown briefly.

What I Liked:

The pace. This mystery was 100% feel good. It wasn’t heavy or deep and there wasn’t that much to figure out. It all unfolded in front of you on the page as you read it, at a pace that felt fast but easy to keep up with.

One thing that I noticed in Ware’s writing is the use of dramatic irony, in that you know what a bad situation the protagonist is in and you know they don’t deserve to be there. Yet you can’t imagine a way out, and that feeling keeps you on the edge of your seat.

What I Didn’t Like:

This may have been extra apparent because I read it so fast, but there were a couple things that happened twice and Ware used the same language both times without acknowledging that second time was the second time. I.e. Nora’s phone goes missing twice, and Nora reacts the same way both times without acknowledging how weird it is that this happened twice. There was no exclamation of ‘Why am I so bad at keeping track of my things?’ or ‘Who the hell is taking my phone?’ This definitely confused me and for the first time in the novel made me feel like maybe I was the one who was losing it.

A couple of the characters felt under developed for me. Tom in particular. What was his deal? Was he just there to add to the suspect list? That confused me.

Conclusion:

Overall, I am so happy I picked this one up right before a holiday weekend and was able to absolutely devour it. I HIGHLY recommend it if you’re in the mood to not overthink things and go for a wild ride. It was truly an adventure. Enjoy!!