The Whistling by Rebecca Netley #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Rebecca Netley, The Whistling.

The Whistling: A chilling and original new ghost story by [Rebecca Netley]


On the remote Scottish island of Skelthsea, Elspeth Swansome takes on a position as a nanny.

Her charge, Mary, hasn’t uttered a word since the sudden death of her twin, William – just days after their former nanny disappeared. But no one will speak of what happened to William.

Just as no one can explain the lullabies sung in empty corridors.
Nor the strange dolls that appear in abandoned rooms.
Nor the faint whistling that comes in the night . . .

As winter draws in, Elspeth finds herself increasingly trapped.

But is this house haunted by the ghosts of the past?



I absolutely loved The Whistling by Rebecca Netley. If you’re looking for a ghost story that will give you shivers then I highly recommend this one. It’s creepy, atmospheric and Rebecca’s writing draws you effortlessly into the story. It’s crying out to be a TV drama, perfect for the autumnal months and as winter draws in. 

We meet Elspeth Swansome who is taking up a new position as a nanny in a house on the remote isle of Skethsea. It is a big change for her as she has been used to living in the city of Edinburgh and the remoteness of the island comes as quite a shock to her. I thought Rebecca Netley did a fantastic job with the sitting. She managed to create the feeling that the island and islanders were cut off from the rest of civilisation and that anything could happen there. I thought this really helped in adding another element to the mystery.

As Elspeth becomes acquainted with the young child, Mary, she is supposed to be looking after, it is clear that there is something chilling and very scary going on here. Mary, who lives with her aunt, hasn’t spoken since her twin brother, William died. Shortly before William’s death Mary also lost her mother. There is a very sinister atmosphere in the house. Soon Elspeth begins to notice the strange happenings that are occurring and it terrifies her. I really wanted to know what was going on here.

There were definitely a few places, while reading this book, where I felt the same fear that Elspeth did. I could really imagine just how scared she was as she began to realise that something wasn’t quite right in the house. Rebecca Netley creates a very creepy atmosphere.

Elspeth’s relationship with her charge, Mary, grows over the course of the book and I liked how Rebecca Netley developed this. When they first met each other, I did wonder if Elspeth would ever be able to get through to Mary. I was interested to see how things would develop between them and if Elspeth would decide to stay there.

The Whistling is such a chilling read and I highly recommend it if you enjoy a good ghost story. I’m sure this is one I will return to when Halloween comes around again.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 14th October 2021

Print length: 358 pages

The Whistling is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones

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