Happy Thursday (my favourite day of the week). I’ve been continuing on my spooky read endeavour the last few days in honour of halloween. I may have to take a small break after this one though as I’m in a constant state of tension. I also watched The Chestnut Man on Netflix this week which hasn’t helped matters. If you haven’t watched that, then I highly recommend it.
Thank you to @Rebecca_Netley and @MichaelJBooks for this advanced audio copy of The Whistling in return for an honest review. The Whistling is published today (14th October 2021) and you can get a copy here now.
Elspeth Swansome has nobody in the world so in an effort to make a life for herself, she accepts a job as a nanny on the remote Scottish island of Skelthsea. Mary; the child that she is hired to care for has suffered her own devastation having lost her twin brother and only a short time before her previous nanny. Since the day her brother William died, Mary has not spoken a word.
Nobody will share the full details of what happened to William with Elspeth. Nor can anyone explain the soft lullaby that Elspeth hears in the empty hallways or the strange dolls that seem to appear around the house or the faint whistling that she can hear during the night. As winter draws in, Elspeth is trapped on the island and within a house that she fears is inhabited by ghosts of the past.
General Thoughts 🤔
I didn’t read the blurb for this book before I started, it was the cover that caught my attention. If I had read the blurb I’m not sure that I would have gone for it as ghosts and ghouls aren’t really my thing. I’m so glad that I didn’t read it because I loved this book. It wasn’t overly supernatural and erred more on the side of making me question whether the tragedies that happened were caused by ghosts or by humans. I went back and forth with what I thought had happened and by whom and the end of the story was done so very well (no spoilers)
I grew very close to Elspeth. I felt her fear as she felt it, I felt her sadness as she felt it and I felt her joy as she felt it. Her relationship with Mary was so sweet and I was willing Mary to let down her guard and trust Elspeth. As the trust between them grew, the love shared between them actually made me feel quite emotional. I thought that Elspeth was incredibly brave and kept her resolve in search of the truth when she could have easily bailed.
There are numerous characters I’d love to talk about in some detail, but I don’t want to give any spoilers. The characters were written so cleverly that I questioned and suspected everyone on the island. With such a small number of people inhabiting the Skelthsea, everyone was a suspect to me for both moral and legal crimes.
Writing Style ✍️
Rebecca Netley has done such a fantastic job of making this entire book feel chilling and gripping, encouraging a constant state of paranoia in me as a reader. There was never a moment where I felt sure about the truth and that made me empathise hugely with some of the characters who must have felt the same way. I really liked the descriptions of the island, I thought they were beautifully written and gave me a very clear picture of the look and feel of Skelthsea.
I listened to the audiobook of The Whistling and the narration was brilliant. @LoisChimimba read the story so beautifully and her voice was perfectly suited to Rebecca Netley’s words. I could feel the eeriness from her voice and it only made this book even more unsettling.
Conclusion & Scoring 🎖️
I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s a perfect Halloween read and I’m sure that it will bring out all the same feelings in every reader as it did for me. It sends chills through the bones and grips from the very beginning. Fantastic writing of a brilliant story.