Jo was seven when her nanny, Hannah, disappeared without saying goodbye. Her relationship with her parents was stressful and as soon as she could, Jo left home. She is forced to return home to the family's estate, bringing along her young daughter, Ruby. Jo and her mother still have a very strained relationship and the tension is palpable.
Human remains are discovered in the lake on the family's property and suddenly their world is turned upside down. Jo must figure out what has happened, who is keeping secrets, and who she can trust, if she is to save herself and Ruby. The sudden return of Hannah to their lives has everyone acting like damn fools, and I loved every minute of it. Jo is ecstatic to see her beloved nanny who can now help care for Ruby, and Lady Virginia Holt looks as though she has seen a ghost, and acts accordingly throughout.
I must say, I really enjoyed this one a lot. Even though I could slowly see how the pieces were all coming together, I was not entirely sure of the ending until one scene in particular. Even then, that did not diminish my enjoyment one bit and I had to keep reading to see how it would all end.
As many have said, this is not a fast-paced, race-to-the-end thriller. It is much more psychological, with all the mind games being played, and that in itself is what makes it all the more engaging and tense.
None of the characters are all that likable all the time except Ruby, but they still manage to do what they need to do to save themselves and their loved ones. Lady Holt and Jo constant argue over Hannah, and given her history with her mother, Jo is always quick to side with Hannah, having such fond memories of their time together when she was young and her parents could not be bothered to pay attention to her because society called.
The story is told in multiple points of view: Jo, her mother Virginia, the lead detective, and an unknown narrator. I LOVED that part especially, as I tried to figure out who our mystery guest actually was. The unknown character was especially important as bits and pieces of history are exposed, and the tension built to almost maddening peeks. It might have been nice to have Ruby's perspective too, but that might have given things away - or better yet, it might have muddied the waters further.
The pace was a bit slower than the thrillers I usually read, but in this case it works well because that build-up to the revelations is incredibly important. We plod along with Jo as she tries to make a new life for her and her daughter in the wake of her husband's death - the thing that sent them back to the family home all the way from California to begin with. The pace served a good purpose, showing the dysfunction in the Holt home over the years, and how Hannah's presence disrupted things, or perhaps made them better...
Jo and her mother were equally frustrating, and sometimes I wanted to bonk their heads together to know some sense into both of them at once. Jo was especially infuriating when it came to the safety of Ruby, though Lady Holt did herself no favors in her own reactions to the goings-on in her home upon Hannah's return.
A good solid read and I will look for more of Macmillan's work in the future.
I listened to this book a few months ago. I enjoyed the mystery and did not mind the slow pacing since I felt that it added to the story. However, I highly disliked Jo and the lead detective. I wanted to shake Jo for not listening to her daughter and I wanted to punch the detective for his constant whining about the aristocracy.ReplyDelete
Yeah, the detective was such a drag! I am glad that the police investigation did not play a central role - I could not handle any more of him than was already written! I also wanted to shake Jo and knock some sense into her.Delete
Excellent review. You've really given us a good sense of this book.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Dorothy!Delete
as soon as i saw the cover i thought this would be a good one and your great review convinced me i was right. happy readingReplyDelete
sherry @ fundinmental
I think you would like it, if you have a chance. The cover is perfectly creepy and a perfect fit.Delete
Sounds like a good read.ReplyDelete
It was! Even when some of the characters did stupid things to annoy me, I get why they did. Still frustrating, but adds to the tension and pressure.Delete
I'm glad to see that you enjoyed this one! For some reason, your blog has not been appearing on my bloglovin feed, so I've been missing out on all of your posts. I've got a lot of catching up to do now!ReplyDelete
I wondered where you had been! But with school starting back up I have not been around to many other blogs. Will hopefully catch up soon, myself!Delete
I was really glad I liked this one more than I thought, after our little conversation.