June 2021 book of the month club (Poll) - The Death of Mrs Westaway

Vote for the book we should read in June 2021

  • The Death of Mrs. Westaway

    Votes: 5 71.4%
  • The Woman in Cabin 10

    Votes: 2 28.6%

  • Total voters
    7
  • Poll closed .
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  • #61

rubysmama

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Oh dear.. I'd better go and refresh my knowledge of the book.. I've read about eight since this one.
Maybe once we start discussing it, that will help refresh your memory too.

Keeping it fresh in my mind shouldn't be a problem this month, as I'm still reading it. Guess I better get a move on. :lol:
 
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  • #63

rubysmama

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Everyone can start talking about the book without using spoiler tags now.

I just finished it last night, so my timing is right for a change. Will be back later to post my thoughts / review.
 

verna davies

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Well what a truly disfunctional family. Mrs Westaway was so controlling and Mrs Warren was an updated Mrs Danvers.

Enjoyed the book although too much written about the tarot cards for me. I couldn't quite understand why Hal kept reading into them for the answers she needed when she didn't really believe.

I suspected at about a quarter way through the book that although Maggie was Hal's birth mother, it was Maud that had brought her up and that Maggie was dead but I thought Harding was her father.

Obviously Hal wasn't entitled to the legacy at the beginning but on finding out that she was a cousin, does anyone feel that she was entitled to at least a share?

It became obvious at the end that Mrs Westaway knew who Hal's father was which explained why she left the house to her favourite son's child. I was surprised that she and Maud had been in contact but it explained her knowing Hal's address.

At the beginning, when Hal was given £60 ( 4 x the usual fee) I found it a bit unbelievable that she gave it all to charity as she was in such a financial mess, anyone else feel the same?

I would give this book 3.5 🌟, would be 4 if not for the constant inclusion of the tarot cards.
 
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  • #66

rubysmama

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This was my first book by Ruth Ware, and I think I'll be reading more. Probably "The Woman in Cabin 10" next, as that was the one I thought sounded more interesting of the 2 choices we had for this month's book. It will be interesting to see which I end up liking more.

Like you, V verna davies , there definitely was too much written about the tarot cards. Perhaps the author took a crash course in Tarot and wanted to write about all she learned, however, the editor should have realized it would be boring for readers not interested in the topic, and should have cut several of the paragraphs.

I wondered early on if Hal was actually Mrs. Westaway's granddaughter, but wasn't sure how it came about. I didn't really clue in, though, until it was obvious that Maud was not Hal's biological mother, and that Maggie was missing / dead.

and Mrs Warren was an updated Mrs Danvers.
Yes, Mrs. Warren was an updated Mrs. Danvers. That was even mentioned in the book, by one of the sons, wasn't it.

At the beginning, when Hal was given £60 ( 4 x the usual fee) I found it a bit unbelievable that she gave it all to charity as she was in such a financial mess, anyone else feel the same?
I think, maybe, for the same reason her conscience wouldn't let her defraud the brothers, she felt guilty taking that woman's money, based on advice from a fake reading.

Obviously Hal wasn't entitled to the legacy at the beginning but on finding out that she was a cousin, does anyone feel that she was entitled to at least a share?
Probably, and maybe once the will was re-worked, she could have put in for her share of the estate.

One thing I thought was neat, and though we didn't "see" it, there was a maze on the Westaway property, just like in the last book we read.

I'll probably think of more to write as others post their reviews, but one thing I think this book could have benefited from is an epilogue, as too many things were left hanging.

1) Did Hal ever pay Mr. Smith back? Or is she in hiding hoping his goons never track her down.
2) Did she sell the house? Tear it down? Move in? Turn it into a B&B?
3) What did she end up doing with her life? Still a Tarot reader, or did she do something else.
4) Did she stay in touch with her uncles?

I'll also give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.
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gilmargl

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After the first few chapters, which I hated (blackmail and lies turn me off a book or film immediately and then the tarot cards!) I did find this book exciting to read. I had some theories that everybody was lying since the sentence, "Don't believe your own lies" came up so often. But. it was only at the end that it was obvious that any interest in the story was because we were being misled by the author:
Mrs Warren was warning Hal, though we were led to believe she was threatening her. And we were allowed to believe that Hal recognized Maggie as her mother in the photo. The very strange uncles were hardly convincing and the over-maternal Mitzi was superfluous.
So, either the book was brilliant since it managed to deceive the reader or a fraud!

I found it had no sense of period - the house and characters, Brighton Pier, made me feel we were perhaps in the middle of the 20th century, so the cell phones and modern cars seemed entirely out of place. I would have preferred not to have a fight and flight at the end .... evidently murder sells especially when the underdog (Hal) wins! Hurrah!
But, as I said, it was exciting and better than "The Woman in Cabin 10".
I'm feeling generous and give it 3 ⭐
 

Boris Diamond

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It wasn't my cup of tea. I was not fond of Hal. Her plan to deceive this family for money was cheap. I do understand being in great need, and I can see that to her this might seem a somewhat harmless deception when she thought all she might receive would be several thousand pounds. And she had not met the people she might be hurting. I did not enjoy her constantly agonizing about her life. She was young, and I hope at some point she got over this destructive behavior. Somewhere around page 150, she started dragging herself over the coals again. I decided not to read any more at that point.
 

Mia6

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I really enjoyed it. Yes, Hal was flawed, but aren't we all to a certain extent? Because of the surgery that caused
my condition, I know what it's like to be so broke that you have no food but I received help and when my SSD was
approved things improved. I never thought of misleading people or defrauding anyone but that is the plot of this book.

I sense Hal was in close contact with her family in the future I hope she gave up the Tarot cards.
 
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  • #70

rubysmama

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I found a short video where Ruth Ware discusses the book. Wish it came with closed captioning, though, as I find her accent very strong and hard to understand.

 

mani

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Do you want me to translate? Sorry, not translate, but to write her speech down. She doesn't say that much. :lol:
No, she doesn't really say much that we don't know from reading the book.
I don't find it difficult to understand, but I guess it depends where you're from. :)
 
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  • #73

rubysmama

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Do you want me to translate? Sorry, not translate, but to write her speech down. She doesn't say that much. :lol:
No, it's fine. I could make out most of what she said, if I listened really hard. I'm just terrible understanding accents, and for some reason I find some British accents extra difficult. :dunno:

So mani mani , have any of our comments helped refresh your memory on the book? If so, do you have anything to add?
 

DreamerRose

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I found a short video where Ruth Ware discusses the book. Wish it came with closed captioning, though, as I find her accent very strong and hard to understand.
You can turn on closed captioning. Just click on the CC icon at the bottom of the screen.

I finished it a long time ago, but I also thought it was somewhat implausible. I picked up early on that Maud wasn't her mother and that Maggie was missing, so it was interesting to see how that turned out. I hated the Hal nickname; I don't know or heard of anyone using that nickname.
 

GoldyCat

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This is the first book by this author that I've read, and will probably be the last. It was like wading through molasses just to get past all the angst in the first 2/3 of the book. It did start to get interesting toward the end, but not enough for me to want to try another.
I hated the Hal nickname; I don't know or heard of anyone using that nickname.
That bothered me some as well. I thought Hal was only a nickname for Harold.
 

mani

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[QUOTE="rubysmama, post: 5378473, member: 65762"
So mani mani , have any of our comments helped refresh your memory on the book? If so, do you have anything to add?
[/QUOTE]

Interesting premise, exciting ending I didn't see coming.

I have no problem with the Tarot inclusion.. it's like another character and is really important to the story, as far as I'm concerned... It's not that she doesn't believe; it's a little ambiguous and her relationship with it was an interesting play on how the mind works.

No problem with "Hal" as nicknames can be anything and are more interesting when they're not the generic one .. Hattie would be the go for her name which doesn't suit her at all and it could hardly be shortened to 'Har'.

I agree with V verna davies about the $60 (No 'pound' icon on my computer)... she was so desperate and prepared to rip off the family and yet she wouldn't take the money?

But I'm absolutely with GoldyCat GoldyCat about the 'angst'. I was about to come here to write that exact word and the sentiment. Her constant working through her feelings with such repetitive passion drove me spare. I think it occurred for most of the book, not just the first two thirds. Yes, there was a lot of angst to be had, but a good writer can portray that without going over, and over, and over it.

So, an interesting read, but the superfluous hand-wringing anguish was irritating and felt like padding; the book suffers from a lack of angst-editing.
 

verna davies

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mani mani . I too found her inner battle of do I don't I irritating, it was too much. I wanted to shout "make your mind up and just get on with it,". I have no time for faffing.
 
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  • #78

rubysmama

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You can turn on closed captioning. Just click on the CC icon at the bottom of the screen.
:doh: Please tell me that hasn't been an option, like forever. :rolleyes3:

I have no problem with the Tarot inclusion.. it's like another character and is really important to the story, as far as I'm concerned... It's not that she doesn't believe; it's a little ambiguous and her relationship with it was an interesting play on how the mind works.
I still think there was more of it included than needed to be, however, once we learned the woman raising her and constantly telling her not to believe the cards, was non-believer Maud, then it became possible that Hal had inherited her beliefs / talents for reading them from Maggie.
 
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  • #79

rubysmama

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Todays the last day of June, so guess that's it for Mrs. Westaway. Thanks to everyone who read along with us, and joined in the discussion. It was great, as well, to see some new "faces" this month. Hope you'll join us again.

In July we will continue our visit in England with Paths of Glory by Jeffrey Archer. As always, everyone is invited to read along with us.
Here's the link to the thread: July 2021 book of the month club
 
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