In 1988, 14-year-old Beth is being driven by her aunt to a family willing to take her in. Sure, they’re calling her a “companion” for their daughter, which is kind of weird, but her parents are dead and her aunt is too busy to move her in. So this is her best option. And when they pull into the long drive of a full-on estate called Raven Hall, Beth feels a little hopeful that this might be a permanent solution. Months later, she isn’t so hopeful.
In 2017, Sadie is frustrated by her stagnant acting career. Her mom is gone and now Sadie has to deal with all her possessions while trying not to think about her dwindling bank account. That’s when her agent calls with a strange booking: someone new has bought Raven Hall and is turning it into a murder mystery inn. Would Sadie like to come for the weekend and act as a guest for a trial run? After hearing the payment, yes, Sadie would like to, very much. But when she gets there, something is wrong, and the events of the past seem to be colliding with the present.
I picked this up because I had to stay the night a few hours from home to take an exam in the early morning (thank you, engineering career) and needed something to occupy my night at the hotel. I love big old houses and mysteries, so while I wasn’t expecting the world from this, it was still disappointing.
Maybe I was just looking for what I wanted to see on the back of the book, but I was definitely hoping for more about Raven Hall. I’m very into the Gothic version of houses and buildings: old, derelict, a reflection of the fractured family within. You could take this plot and with no substantial changes make it take place in a seaside bungalow.
There were twists, but nothing that really shocked me. Maybe I’ve just read too many thrillers.