The actor who loses his grip on reality, the writer who believes her own lies – they’re lost. This is a fantasy – never lose sight of that, however much you want to believe.
This was one of my most anticipated books of May 2018 and there was a bit of a line at the library since Ruth Ware has become more of a household name. I was so excited to get it last week and yes it was worth the wait!
The Death of Mrs. Westaway tells the story of Harriet Westaway, a down on her luck tarot card reader, who receives a random letter in the mail from an attorney explaining that her Grandmother has passed away and she is due to inherit some portion of her large estate. Harriet knows this is too good to be true. She knows both her Grandparents died long ago & she had never heard of the Trepassen estate or of this family she is meant to be related to. But Harriet is desperate so she decides to put her cold reading skills at work and she if she can come away with a small inheritance – even though she knows it doesn’t really belong to her. Of course when she gets to the English countryside, she discovers that the Trepassan Westaway’s have a slew of their own secrets and the more she digs, she discovers that perhaps she has a connection Mrs. Westaway after all.
Westaway was filled with Ware’s signature twists and questions. Ware weaves the entire story is such a way that you think you may be guessing an answer, only to have your theory shattered by the narrator as Harriet makes the same connections only pages later. I love that Ware always has you guessing and changing your mind right up until the very end.
…the cards do not predict the future. All they can do is show us how a given situation may turn out, based on the energies we bring to the reading. Another day, another mood, a different set of energies, and the same question could have a completely different answer.
We have free will. The answer the cards give can turn us in our path. All I have to do is understand what they are saying.
It is such a quick read, even at nearly 400 pages I finished in less than two days. Still, this one was not perfect. I hate to be hard on Ruth Ware because I am such a fan and I feel almost as if I’m nitpicking a little but there were a few things I didn’t love.
Harriet Westaway was not my favorite character. Don’t get me wrong, I loved that Ware gave her a conscience. Hal felt extremely guilty about attempting to deceive this family for most of the novel but I almost feel like she overdid it a little. I think we spent a good 150 pages of the novel where not much happened besides Hal lamenting her decision to come to Trepassen. This middle section lagged a bit. You could tell there was something up with this family but it didn’t seem dangerous or even that thrilling until after we reached the halfway point. Ultimately, what kept me going was my faith in Ware.
So even though the pace of this novel is fairly slow for a thriller (the whole thing takes place over the span of about a week), I’d still recommend it to fans of the genre or fans of Ware. At the very least, you’ll learn a lot about tarot.