My Thoughts on The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

I picked up this book for my IRL book club.  My friend, Ani, was so in love with this book and surprised by its ending so we’re reading it. Once I was done, the only thing I could think of was what did I just read? LOL. This is the second twisted family story I’ve read this year and it was definitely twisted.

The story follows Hal (or Harriet). She’s down on her luck. Her mother died a few years ago and she doesn’t know who her father is. She’s been living in her apartment alone and reading Tarot cards on the pier to make ends meet. But life is super hard for Hal and surviving is a daily struggle.

When she comes across a letter saying her grandmother recently died, Hal is intrigued. While she knows her grandparents passed 20 years ago, she’s curious as to why this lawyer is telling her another grandma just passed. Is it her father’s mother? Is it a huge mix up? She decides to spend the last of her savings to get to Trepassen, the estate her grandmother lived in, and find out the truth (and maybe take a little inheritance).

When she gets there, she uncovers truths about her mother, her father, and the rest of her family. It’s definitely up there with twisted, but it’s difficult to explain without reading the book.

I’ll start by saying this book was a slow burn. It almost reads literary because you’re following Hal around and seeing her try and discover the truth. Honestly, I didn’t think anything “thriller-y” was going to happen and then it did at like 90% (I read this on my Kindle). Throughout the story, I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop. When is the big thriller part going to happen? It really takes its time and I get that people aren’t happy about the pacing. It really irks me more.

But I absolutely loved Hal. I almost thought this book was literary because you’re following Hal and the character-driven journey to find the truth. There’s not a lot of actual action, so you’re waiting in suspense for what happens to Hal. She’s like your best friend in this entire situation; the confused character that you follow along with to find the truth. But she’s also a bad ass.

The ending is definitely worth the wait of the whole book. While I wouldn’t call this a thriller in its traditional sense, the atmospheric suspense and the ending feeds whatever you wanted out of a thriller at the end. I would strongly say read this book, take your time, get to the end. You will not regret it.

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