I am flying through books right now and absolutely loving it. I am very very nearly up to date on ARCs. I think I have one left that is past published date and then I’m back on track. All will be well in the world and I will feel much better.
Stina and Jack have had enough of city life and move to a rural cottage in Avoncote in search of a more peaceful and serene life. The cottage needs some work, especially when compared to their widowed neighbour’s. But Mrs Barley doesn’t judge them and in fact is very welcoming and friendly.
Stina starts to become unnerved when she repeatedly sees a strange man in Mrs Barley’s garden, but nobody else seems to be around whenever she spots him. When she starts to hear weird noises during the night from the cottage next door she starts to question if Mrs Barley is as friendly as she seems. All of the other villagers appear to dislike her and when all of this is put together, Stina worries whether or not Mrs Barley can or cannot be trusted.
General Thoughts 🤔
Throughout this book I had no idea where the story was going to go. I knew that it was a thriller but there were times when I started to think that I was mistaken and it was actually a horror. I completely understand why Stina got so spooked by the cottage next door because I would have been the same. Living in an old property is lovely but what you don’t know is all of the secrets that are held within the walls. I liked that Stina brought her own secrets with her to add into the mix.
If Mrs Barley was my neighbour, I’d have a problem on my hands. She was so creepy and strange I don’t think I could have been as polite as Stina and Jack were. On top of that, she was downright rude a lot of the time and that’s not something I think I’d have been able to bite my tongue about. Having finished the book I can see why Mrs Barley was the way she was; sometimes people’s secrets get the better of them and alter their entire life.
I have mixed opinions about Stina. There were times when I felt a huge amount of empathy for her as I think she was made to feel like she was losing her mind a little bit. Not necessarily anyone’s fault. There were other times I wanted to shake her and tell her to wise up a bit. All of the people who had lived near to Mrs Barley for a lot longer than her gave her lots of warning signs, but she chose to ignore them.
Writing Style ✍️
I liked that this book had a linear timeline and was told from just Stina’s perspective. Don’t get me wrong I love the direct opposite of that but it was nice to read a book and just follow along with the story simply.
I would have liked to have gone a bit deeper into the characters. Although we learnt some of the history, I would have liked to have known more. Especially Mrs Barley as a lot of her history came out right at the end. I appreciate it was part of the story unravelling, but I felt like I would have liked to have known a bit more about her background.
Conclusion & Scoring 🎖️
I enjoyed reading this book and got through it really quickly as once I got into it, everything flowed really easily and it was a gripping story to follow. I half wish I’d left this book for the weekend as it would have been a good Sunday afternoon read to get through in one sitting. Overall I thought this was a pleasant read, with just enough tension to keep me interested.