Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous ~ New Release and Review

The USA Today bestselling author of The Au Pair returns with another delicious, twisty novel—about a grand estate with many secrets, an orphan caught in a web of lies, and a young woman playing a sinister game.

1988. Beth Soames is fourteen years old when her aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall, a rambling manor in the isolated East Anglian fens. The Averells, the family who lives there, are warm and welcoming, and Beth becomes fast friends with their daughter, Nina. At times, Beth even feels like she's truly part of the family...until they ask her to help them with a harmless game—and nothing is ever the same.

2019. Sadie Langton is an actress struggling to make ends meet when she lands a well-paying gig to pretend to be a guest at a weekend party. She is sent a suitcase of clothing, a dossier outlining the role she is to play, and instructions. It's strange, but she needs the money, and when she sees the stunning manor she'll be staying at, she figures she’s got nothing to lose. 

In person, Raven Hall is even grander than she'd imagined—even with damage from a fire decades before—but the walls seem to have eyes. As day turns to night, Sadie starts to feel that there’s something off about the glamorous guests who arrive, and as the party begins, it becomes chillingly apparent their unseen host is playing games with everyone...including her.

Emma Rous is the USA Today bestselling author of The Au Pair. She grew up in England, Indonesia, Kuwait, Portugal and Fiji, and from a young age she had two ambitions: to write stories, and to look after animals. She studied veterinary medicine and zoology at the University of Cambridge, and worked as a small animal veterinarian for eighteen years before starting to write fiction. Emma lives near Cambridge in England with her husband and three sons, and she now writes full time. Author photo © Brian Rous

Elizabeth's Review

3.5 stars - Worth a Reader's Time

Review Copy Provided by Publisher via Net Galley

Not one, not two, but three storylines tie together in this intriguing book centered around Raven Hall.

Ms Rous does an excellent job of starting with two seeming straight forward stories of Beth and Sadie set roughly 30 years apart. As both stories begin to have odd occurrences pop up, a third older story is woven in to paint an even stranger picture of events surrounding this old estate.

The craft around The Perfect Guests is solid. There are bread crumbs that hint to connections and oddities that up the tension level, but answers don’t appear until the author is ready to pull the various strings together.
One key issue kept this from being a full 4 star read for me. While most questions are answered, there was one big issue not fully addressed. This unanswered question doesn’t derail enjoyment of the overall story, it just creates a lingering “why?” that is a bit unsettling.

Overall, this is a solid somewhat twisting read. I look forward to seeing what the author has coming next.

View all my reviews

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