The Death of Mrs. Westaway

by Ruth Ware

Due to the number of Gothics I read in my youth, this novel did not hold very many thrills, chills or surprises for me. I guessed most of the main mysteries very much ahead of poor Hal, our heroine, and all except one of them before the big reveals. And as far as Gothics go, it wasn’t a very good one. It had no romance or humor to sweeten the pot. Hal was a disappointment. It started off like I would really like her but she was so stupid, despite her constantly telling us how good she was at her skills, that at one point I suspected her of being an unreliable narrator. It is so lame when authors say a character is one thing, like clever, or witty, or charming, but they don’t talk or act how they are described.

“Fuck.” It was out before she had considered it, and she bit her lip. The word was not in keeping with the image she was trying to present to the Westaways—meek, unassuming little Harriet, butter wouldn’t melt. Swearing wasn’t part of the deal, and she felt as cross with herself as if she’d sworn at a client. The pink on her cheeks was real, though it was a flush of annoyance at her own unguardedness, rather than shame.

She makes lots of slipups like this. It was full of stock gothic characters and situations. I’m giving it 3 stars, generously, because it kept me reading, hoping for a shocker or an emotional jolt. But no. At least it did not have a tragic ending, but what happened to her mother before the book started was extremely sad.**3 stars out of 5**

June 5, 2019

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