The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware, New York : Gallery/Scout Press, 2018.
Harriet “Hal” Westaway is living day to day, hoping her landlord will continue to give her some leeway on her past due rent, as all of the other bills continue to pile up with past due notices. Her mother’s sudden death a few years ago, shattered her reality so badly that in her grief she had turned to a loan shark to get through it all. Now, all her money is sucked down the black hole of repayment and she’s still getting pursued by his scary loan collector.
When a letter arrives about an inheritance from the death of a long-lost grandmother, Hal knows a mistake has been made. Her grandparents were long dead, before she was even born. But when a late night visit from her loan collector scares her into fleeing from her problems, the only place to run is the one place no one knows anything about her. And although she knows that it’s wrong, her desperation leads her into using the skills she’s learned as a tarot card reader to begin the greatest deception and biggest payout of her life.
Welcomed as the long-lost niece to the remaining sons of Mrs. Westaway, Hal is given the attic bedroom by the cranky old housekeeper, the one with bars on the window and locks on the outside of the door. If that isn’t a sign of what lays ahead, the shocking reading of the will that leaves everything to Hall and nothing for her ‘uncles’ throws all plans of a few thousand pounds and a quick escape right out the window. Trapped in her lies, with unknown ‘family’ and in an old, remote estate with secrets around every corner, Hal must navigate her wish that these people were truly her family with the emotional bombshells hidden in the families’ past.
Ruth Ware has woven an intricate and thrilling ride of family secrets, love and loss that leave you with a feeling eager to find out what happens next. Hal is a wonderful, empathetic protagonist that makes you hold your breath with wishes to succeed and yell aloud your frustrations at times. Uncover the truth in this suspenseful thriller full of spellbinding menace and family secrets waiting to be discovered.
Susana Goldman is the Director of the Alamance County Public Library. She can be reached at (336) 513-4753 or firstname.lastname@example.org.