The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware | Book Review

A twenty-something girl gets a letter that she’s named heir in a will and while she’s sure it’s a case a mistaken identity, she’s broke and desperate enough to follow the trail and see if she can claim the fortune. What happens next will test her tarot card skills but ultimately pull her into a tangled web no psychic could predict.
I enjoyed the historical and literary references, the nursery rhyme inclusion, the gothic dark-and-stormy-night setting complete with a creepy housekeeper and more family drama than one might expect.

In a few of my recent reads, I have felt dissatisfied by the way interesting stories were resolved and The Death of Mrs. Westaway was yet another example of a book that left me wanting, not necessarily because I was so thrilled with the story, but because not enough time was devoted to resolving the various plot points. In this one, Ruth Ware spends a lot of time exploring the characters’ backgrounds, revisiting former relationships, even cataloging receipts and birth certificates and including journal pages from a diary written two decades prior, to show the lead-in to the current circumstances. Yet, when it was time to explore what would become of the characters, the writing felt rushed, characters started disappearing as if to add intrigue even after the mystery was solved. Including about five more pages at the end could have made this a much more satisfying book.

Ultimately, I rated the book 3 out of 5 stars.

Stars gained:

  • The basic plot outline of mistaken identity was well conceived
  • The literary and psychological elements were very entertaining
  • The author’s exploration of multi-generational conflicts was intriguing

Stars lost:

  • The family dynamics weren’t completely explained, even at the end
  • What amounted to disposable characters seemed to disappear too conveniently

Book details

  • Title: TheDeath Of Mrs Westaway
  • Author: Ruth Ware
  • Genre: Suspense
  • Pages:368
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Publication Date: May 2018


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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Vernitra says:

    I am always so disappointed when the ending does not resolve the story in a satisfying way. I need to keep this in mind as I write my own material!


    1. Run Wright says:

      Absolutely. I read fiction with both my reader and writer eyes. Hopefully, we can incorporate some of these lessons when we write stories ourselves.


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