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]

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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?

OR THE SECRETS OF THE LIVING . . . ?

MY THOUGHTS

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

Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys #bookreview

I’ve finally got round to reading Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys which has been on my TBR pile for a while now. I’m sharing my thoughts on my blog today.

Dangerous Crossing: The captivating Richard & Judy Book Club page-turner by [Rachel Rhys]

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England, September 1939
Lily Shepherd boards a cruise liner for a new life in Australia and is plunged into a world of cocktails, jazz and glamorous friends. But as the sun beats down, long-hidden secrets begin to surface. Her heart beats faster for the attention of handsome Edward, but is his heart already taken?

Australia, six-weeks later
The world is at war, the cruise liner docks, and Lily’s desire for Edward is untameable. But something else is awry on this ship and Lily is determined to find out ….

MY THOUGHTS

I loved Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys. It’s been sitting on my TBR pile for quite some time now, and I’m so pleased that I’ve finally got round to reading it. The world is on the brink of war; tensions in Europe are rising high. It’s 1939, and Lily Shepherd has boarded a cruise liner and plans to begin a new life in Australia. She quickly becomes friends with a group of other travellers, but tensions simmer and a shadow seems to be following them in the background.

I loved the opening of this book which immediately drew me into the story. On page one, we are actually there at the point of arrival in Australia, but a woman is being led off the gangplank in handcuffs. Who is this woman? What has she done?

Then we are taken back to the starting point, and we see events in the lead up to this moment begin to unfold. I was constantly looking at the characters wondering who it was who could be this mysterious person being led off the ship by police officers. I loved Rachel Rhys’ attention to detail. I felt as though I was there on the ship and with the group in the places they visited. Rachel Rhys really brings her characters to life.

This is, of course, a historical fiction novel, but there are elements of a thriller to it as well. I wanted to know what was going on, especially when strange things start to happen in Lily’s new friendship circle on board. But an investigation conducted by the steward’s uncovers little evidence as to who could be the culprit and if the reported incidents actually took place.

Towards the end of the voyage, and as we get to understand who the woman was at the beginning of the novel and what she has done, it does feel very claustrophobic on board the ship. There is a brilliant twist that turns the novel on its head. I thought the way how Rachel weaved it into her plot was really clever.

I was utterly gripped by Dangerous Crossing. If you haven’t yet got round to reading it yet, then I highly recommend that you do so.

Publisher: Transworld

Publication date: 23rd March 2017

Print length: 364 pages

Dangerous Crossing is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the stunning new novel by Stuart Turton, The Devil and the Dark Water.

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An impossible murder
A remarkable detective duo
A demon who may or may not exist

It’s 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported from the Dutch East Indies to Amsterdam, where he is facing trial and execution for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Travelling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent, while also on board are Sara Wessel, a noble woman with a secret, and her husband, the governor general of Batavia.

But no sooner is their ship out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A strange symbol appears on the sail. A dead leper stalks the decks. Livestock are slaughtered in the night. And then the passengers hear a terrible voice whispering to them in the darkness, promising them three unholy miracles. First: an impossible pursuit. Second: an impossible theft. Third: an impossible murder. Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes?

With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent and Sara can solve a mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board.

MY THOUGHTS

I was a huge fan of Stuart Turton’s debut novel, The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, so I couldn’t wait to see what he would come up with next. As I was reading his latest book, The Devil and the Dark Water, it put me in my mind of both, Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles and Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s quite a long book, but don’t let that put you off, I thought the writing was highly addictive, and I flew through it. I finished it much quicker than I thought I would.

A ship named the Saardam is about to set sail on an arduous seven-month voyage for Amsterdam from Batavia. For some of the passengers, they are put up in luxury cabins, but the majority are staying in cramped and horrific conditions. But even before the voyage begins, there are rumours of a demon, known as ‘Old Tom.’ It is believed that this demon is already on board the ship. There are some who are desperate to make sure that this ship doesn’t sail. Right from the beginning, Stuart Turton creates a real sense of mystery and atmosphere. Is there really such a thing as ‘Old Tom?’ Or is this just the minds of some of the passengers going into overdrive? But it is clear to some that this ship will never reach its destination and danger awaits everyone on board. Soon mysterious things begin to happen, strange symbols start to appear, animals are slaughtered, and then a body is found. That makes everyone on this ship a suspect, and it also means that everyone else is in danger until they are caught.

Throughout the book, the pace never lets up. Stuart Turton has created a cast of characters who pull you into the story. They are all very different, and you get a real sense of palpable fear among them on board the ship. This is particularly when rumours about ‘Old Tom’ begin to swirl. It makes for some gripping reading. I began to wonder just how the passengers were going to react as the tension between them begins to grow. This is especially when they all begin to suspect each other of harbouring ‘Old Tom,’ and there are calls for executions. It appears to be the only way of making sure that ‘Old Tom,’ is vanquished once and for all.

Also onboard the ship is the world’s most famous detective, Samuel Pipps. However, he is incarcerated in chains when he first boards the ship. So when the strange happenings begin to occur on the Saardam, it is his assistant, Arent Hayes who has to do the investigating. This is what reminded me of the friendship between Watson and Sherlock Holmes as I was reading.

This book will definitely take you on a wild ride. I really enjoyed it. If you are looking for something original and totally unique, then this is the book for you. It is a read that you can purely escape in to. Stuart Turton is a master storyteller and plotter, and I can’t wait to see what he writes next.

Publisher: Raven Books

Publication date: 1st October 2020

Print length: 576 pages

The Devil and the Dark Water is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones