Genre: Psychological Thriller / Gothic Fiction / Sisters Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Press
Date of Publication: April 14, 2020
Number of Pages: 317
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In the isolated estate she’s found the perfect getaway. But there’s no escaping the past in this chilling novel from the bestselling author of The Unremembered Girl.
Filmmaker Tessa Shepherd helped free a man she believed was wrongly imprisoned for murder. When he kills again, Tessa’s life is upended.
She’s reeling with guilt, her reputation destroyed. Worse, Tessa’s mother has unexpectedly passed away, and her sister, Margot, turns on her after tensions from their past escalate. Hounded by a bullying press, Tessa needs an escape. That’s when she learns of a strange inheritance bequeathed by her mother: a derelict and isolated estate known as Fallbrook. It seems like the perfect refuge.
A crumbling monument to a gruesome history, the mansion has been abandoned by all but two elderly sisters retained as caretakers. They are also guardians of all its mysteries. As the house starts revealing its dark secrets, Tessa must face her fears and right the wrongs of her past to save herself and her relationship with Margot. But nothing and no one at Fallbrook are what they seem.
“Suspense fans will be satisfied.” —Publishers Weekly
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This is a very compelling story from the moment the reader first meets Tessa, a documentary filmmaker who is riding high in the aftermath of being instrumental in getting Oliver released from prison after so many years of being imprisoned for a murder he swears he didn’t commit.
Then suddenly her world implodes when Oliver has gone on a killing spree. Her career is over. Tensions with her sister Margot escalate. Tessa has to get away. Somewhere where the clamoring press can’t find her. Somewhere where she can think. So she goes to an old, isolated estate that was left to her and her sister by their mother. Fallbrook seems like the perfect refuge, despite the fact that it is in horrible disrepair. Tessa clears a corner of a room from the dust and cobwebs and fallen timbers from a roof that is an unintentional solar panel, the best she can, and makes a nest for herself.
Then she meets Kitty and Deirdre, the two elderly ladies who have been kept on at Fallbrook as caretakers. Their history with the estate is tangled in tragedy and tangled in Tess’s family history;and that story unfolds in bits and pieces through memories that float in and out of Kitty’s mind.
The book is written from multiple points of view, sometimes we are with Tessa or Margot, and sometimes we are with Kitty or Deirdre, or a few other characters who take the stage. The move between those points of view, as well as time periods, is smooth and flawless, and as the story ramps up, the tension ramps up as well.
The care-taking in this book is wonderfully layered. From the most obvious of Kitty and Deirdre being caretakers of a property; to being caretakers for our sisters; to being caretakers for ourselves. Through her journey from the lowest point in her life to stepping toward hope for the future, Tessa learns ultimately that it is up to her to take care of herself. People are there to help, to offer support, but her choices are the ones that impact her life the most.
I loved every aspect of this book, from the believable and varied characters, to the many surprises that made me stop a moment to say, “oh, my gosh!” to the wonderful use of language throughout. In describing the vagaries of Kitty and Deidre’s ability to recall the past, especially Kitty’s, the author wrote, “Truth and memory are slippery animals that creep around them these days, haunting the shadows then fading away again.”
At another point when Kitty has said something that has upset her sister, Kitty thinks about how she would like to take those words back. The moment is described this way, “She’d eat them raw and choke on their bitterness if she could erase the hurt on her sister’s face.”
This is definitely a five star book, and I highly recommend it to readers who enjoy psychological suspense.
Eliza Maxwell is the author of The Shadow Writer, The Widow’s Watcher, The Unremembered Girl, The Grave Tender, and The Kinfolk. She writes fiction from her home in Texas, which she shares with her ever-patient husband, two impatient kids, a ridiculous English setter, and a bird named Sarah. An artist and writer, a dedicated introvert, and a British-cop-drama addict, she enjoys nothing more than sitting on the front porch with a good cup of coffee. For more information, visit www.elizamaxwell.net.
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Lone Star Book Blog Tours Tour Schedule
April 14-24, 2020
Starting 4/14, schedule also found at:
|4/14/20||Review||Tangled in Text|
|4/14/20||Review||Momma on the Rocks|
|4/15/20||Audio Review||Librariel Book Adventures|
|4/16/20||Review||All the Ups and Downs|
|4/17/20||BONUS Post||Hall Ways Blog|
|4/18/20||Review||Rainy Days with Amanda|
|4/19/20||Review||Reading by Moonlight|
|4/20/20||Audio Review||Forgotten Winds|
|4/20/20||Audio Review||KayBee’s Book Shelf|
|4/23/20||Review||The Page Unbound|
|4/24/20||Review||It’s Not All Gravy|
|4/24/20||Review||That’s What She’s Reading|
2 thoughts on “Book Blog – The Caretakers #LoneStarLit”
Great review! I love what you said about the idea of the caretakers being representative of many different elements of the book. Thanks for the post!
Thanks for stopping by, Kristine. I loved the way the theme of care-taking was threaded through the story, touching each of the lives.