Review: The Death of Mrs. Westaway

Title: The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
Pages: 368
Rating: 5 stars

What would you do?

If you were alone in the world with no one to help you.

If you were so broke, you could barely get money to buy food or pay rent.

If you one day received a letter, stating that you were about to receive an inheritance from a dead relative.

If you knew that this was a case of mistaken identity, and that the fortune did not belong to you.

Would you ignore the letter, or would you play along in order to get the money?

  Hal (Harriet) is all alone in the world after the sudden death of her mother. Since her mother’s death, she’s been trying to survive but her luck is running out. Her job at the pier as a tarot reader just does not pay enough to meet her needs. She is unable to buy enough food, or even pay her rent. In addition to all these problems, Hal is in trouble with a loan shark who is sending people to threaten her. So what was she to do when she received a letter informing her that she was going to inherit a fortune from a dead grandmother?

"You have two roads ahead of you, but they twist and turn. . . . You want to know which you should take. . . ."

After a nasty altercation with one of the debtor’s men, she decides to take the chance. If anyone could pull it off then it was her.

"If anyone can pull this off, it’s you..."

She was skilled in the art of deception. She relied on it daily in her tarot reading business when she had to tell her customers their “fortunes”.  The problems however start when she finds out that nothing is exactly the way she thought it would be. Her new relatives, the Westaways, are a deeply flawed family with dark secrets and a dark past.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway was a book that truly surprised and thankfully lived up to my expectations. Not exactly a fan of mysteries, I was not sure what I was getting into. In fact I had thought that this was a horror book until I began reading it. There was nothing to prepare me for how awesome this book was. It was a crazy, mind twisting read.

Many have pointed out that this is
Ruth Ware’s best work so far, and I can’t help but agree. The writing was utterly flawless. The author skillfully kept me guessing until the end because I didn’t know what to expect. This is the kind of book that will have you suspecting everyone until the end when the bad guy is caught.

What I really loved about this book was:

The pacing: I guess this is common with mysteries and thrillers but it was good to read a story with no lull in the middle. The book started off slowly, and gradually grew into a fast paced story with an exciting climax.

The characters: These characters were well written. I could easily picture them exactly in my mind. My favorite character was Ezra (one of the uncles) until the ending happened, aaaand now it’s Hal. Hal was one very complex character.  It was interesting to see her back and forth with her guilty conscience. On one hand she wanted to stop the deception on the other hand she needed the money to get her life in order.

The writing: I couldn’t keep up with what was happening. I mean how do authors even come up with this stuff? Just when I was sure I knew what was happening, then the author added a new spin to the whole thing! The book is written using Hal’s point of view although we get glimpses of her mother’s diary entries as a teenager which heighten the suspense factor.

The ending: While I think it felt a little hurried, the ending of this book was just so good. The revelation was shocking although I had my suspicions about Hal’s dad. I don’t even think I was breathing properly while reading through that last chapter. It was like watching the climax of an action movie. I couldn’t relax until the final moment when everything was concluded.

 I had a lot of fun reading this book and I definitely recommend it to everyone and I mean EVERYONE. I’m off to find more books by this author.

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