Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Review: The Death of Mrs. Westaway, by Ruth Ware

So, at the bookstore where I work part-time, we employees are allowed to check out any hardcover book, with a sleeve. (welp! this meant "no" to the leather hardcover classics collection).

Gleeful at this knowledge, I went searching the shelves.

Still feeling satisfied from my recently finished reading of The Drawing of the Three (Dark Tower, Bk. 2), but wanting to take a short break before starting book 3 . . . and owning it at home, which meant no fun for this search . . . I went looking for more Stephen King thrillers.

Well, all those which were hardcover were several inches thick, and I had walked to work, and couldn't fit it in my bag . . . so chose to scan the shelves for something else to catch my interest.

The elegant and yet foreboding gate on this cover first drew my attention, and it seemed to be in my preferred genres, which include mystery.

So, I gave it a shot . . . and found myself glad I did.

This book is about Harriet (Hal) Westaway. She is a poor young lady, whose mother died in the past few years. She works in her own booth, on a pier in Brighton, doing Tarot card readings.

I know what you're thinking, because I was too: a bit New Age cheesiness. Gosh Hal must be so dark and mystical . . . .

Soon you come to realize, however, that Hal is a skeptic of sorts who hardly believes in mystical things, and is merely carrying on the job her mother did, as the only way she sees to pay the bills - plus, she happens to be good at it, at reading the cards AND the people. But this is not enough. Hal is in debt with some unsavory folks and needs a lot of cash, really fast.

She then receives notice that she is a benefactor to an estate she knows nothing about, from a family with the same name, but whom she has never heard mentioned in her entire life. She is sure this is a mistake but "if anyone can pull it off, you can."

So she travels with her last bit of money, to a funeral of a woman whom she has never heard of, yet alone met, desperate to get even just a little cash to catch up on her debts and avoid "broken bones, and broken teeth."

However, the nature of her connection to this woman and her calloused, and relieved-to-see-her-go children slowly comes to light, in a way which keeps the reader pushing on, wanting to see the truth revealed. The chronological storyline is broken up by the diary writings of a desperate and tragic young lady, whose true identity and fate is brought into focus alongside how it relates to Hal.

I thought I knew what the truth of the situation was on a few different occasions, and didn't completely miss the mark, but the truth was more grim and was revealed to the reader in a way so that their surprise was in-time with Hal's.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

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