Thursday, August 1, 2019


Rating: 3/5 stars

I was in the mood for a thriller so I picked this up, but Ruth Ware’s books are more slow-burn mysteries than thrillers so that was my bad because I ended up being a bit disappointed at the pace of the book. The beginning did set a nice tone for the story and give good background information about Hal and her financial situation and motivations for going to the estate, but I was still hoping for something a bit quicker-paced.

The way Hal is so focused on money, how getting caught in the rain means she’ll have to use more heat when she gets home and that will cost her money that she doesn’t have, that is so relatable. The beginning was quite a bit darker than I wanted it to be, but I really do think it was necessary in this book to set the right tone.

I liked The Death of Mrs. Westaway more than The Woman in Cabin 10, but this one, like that one, starts out grim and gritty, and I have realized I don’t really like reading contemporaries that dark. Both of those books’ protagonists have someone break into their home at the beginning of the story, and I don’t want to read about dark real-world problems like that; that does not lend well to escaping into fiction when it feels so real. So that’s a personal preference, not a fault of the book or author, but it did make me a bit hesitant to pick up this book at times, although it did get more enjoyable for me as the story went on.

Unfortunately, The Death of Mrs. Westaway felt like a lower quality and less engaging version of a Kate Morton book. I love Kate Morton’s books so much, and while The Death of Mrs. Westaway had a lot of similar aspects as Morton’s books, it’s just not as well-written with fewer twists and turns in the mystery and a less satisfying ending.

One aspect of the story I did really enjoy was the tarot card motif, how Hal looks at cards throughout the story and even though she tells herself not to believe them, the cards still foreshadow what’s to come in the narrative.

I guessed the ending, but I guess I still don’t understand the motivations. Why were secrets kept? I don’t think it was all that exciting, like everyone should have just told the truth from the beginning; what was there to cover up when the people they were trying to hide the information from knew it anyway? The ending was pretty underwhelming, honestly, and it left me wishing there was more to the story.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway was a decent book; I enjoyed it but I didn’t love it. I don’t think Ruth Ware’s writing style is quite for me, and I don’t know that I’ll be reading any future books from her when there are other similar books that I know I’ll enjoy so much more.

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