Book Review│The Island House by Amanda Brittany

Get ready to be immersed in a atmospheric, Gothic-esque tale of a young girl who is struggling to remember the early years of her life and the lives of two siblings, Verity and Hugh, living in their strange island home with their ventriloquist/magician father who has hired a trail of nannies to care for them, only they never last too long…

In the vein of And Then There Were None, Alice arrives on the island following the hit and run death of her mysterious father. She is eager to solve a family mystery and purposefully travels back to her family’s old home, now a hotel. Only, once she arrives everything falls apart. Guests start being murdered one by one and a storm sweeps in, trapping the survivors in the hotel. This creepy and anxiety-filled setting lends well to the mental state of the main character as she navigates surviving as well as uncovering her family’s story as well as their lives.

The story moves from the present day back to the story of Hugh and Verity and their upbringing at Flynn House. Their story lends well to the creepy, dark feeling of the hotel, the island and the murder mystery unfolding before us.

This was definitely one I could not out done and eagerly finished in one sitting after I put my kids to sleep. It’s a perfect locked-room mystery for a quiet Friday night with a glass or two of wine.

Book Information

The Island House by Amanda Brittany was released on August 11, 2021 with ISBN 9780008362898 from HQ and HQ Digital, an imprint of Harper Collins UK. This review corresponds to an electronic galley supplied by the publisher in exchange for this review.

Book Review│The Companion by Kim Taylor Blakemore

the companionIn the same vein as Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace, we meet a young woman, accused of a horrible crime, but even when she begins to tell us her story, we can only help but wonder just how innocent and truthful she really is. Kim Taylor Blakemore delivers with The Companion. Set in 1855 New Hampshire, The Companion, follows Lucy Blunt as she is set to hang for a double murder. However, as readers, we are kept in the dark as to who she is actually accused of killing and the events the led up to the murders.

Instead, we spend the novel feeling tense and isolated as the story of Lucy Blunt unfolds. She is a sheltered servant who is spending a winter at a remote estate– the Burton mansion– which is almost as cold and isolating as the winter. Lucy arrives at the estate with a fake letter of reference in pursuit of employment. She is taken in by the Burtons and quickly develops a close bond with Eugenie Burton, the lady of the house who is also blind and hyper-aware of her surroundings. This happens in part because her companion, Rebecca, a rather insufferable woman, falls ill early on. When she recovers, there is a clear jealousy between the two women over the affection of Eugenie. This is further fueled by the ideas of class and placement in society– Lucy is just the kitchen help, who is she to be favored by the lady of the house?

The tension is further fueled by the nuances of a lesbian relationship that begins to unfold in the house. The sex scenes are there and they are not graphic or out of the blue. They align with the overall gothic feel of the book and lend to the tension and bleak excitement of the story. Overall, a solid read that will keep you guessing and immersed in the world of 1855 New Hampshire and the gray winter that surrounds and lends to the emotions of much of the novel.

Book Information

The Companion by Kim Taylor Blakemore was released on January 14, 2020 from Lake Union Publishing with ISBN 9781542006392. This review corresponds to an advanced electronic galley that was supplied by the publisher in exchange for this review.