Monday 9 March 2020

Book Review: The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey (Historical Mystery)

Title: The Animals at Lockwood Manor
Author: Jane Healey
Mantle (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Publication Date: 10 March 2020
Historical Mystery
ARC from Publisher


Some secrets are unspoken. Others are unspeakable . . .

August 1939.

Thirty-year-old Hetty Cartwright is tasked with the evacuation and safekeeping of the natural history museum’s collection of mammals. Once she and her exhibits arrive at Lockwood Manor, however, where they are to stay for the duration of the war, Hetty soon realizes that she’s taken on more than she’d bargained for.

Protecting her charges from the irascible Lord Lockwood and resentful servants is work enough, but when some of the animals go missing, and worse, Hetty begins to suspect someone – or something – is stalking her through the darkened corridors of the house.

As the disasters mount, Hetty finds herself falling under the spell of Lucy, Lord Lockwood’s beautiful but clearly haunted daughter. But why is Lucy so traumatized? Does she know something she’s not telling? And is there any truth to local rumours of ghosts and curses? 

The Animals at Lockwood Manor was an engaging read in many ways, not least due to Healey's atmospheric prose. I liked the story's premise, and Hetty was a delightful character who I could really get behind as a reader. Although pegged as a Gothic novel, I found those elements a little forced, and for me it never really came across as suspenseful in a supernatural way. But the mystery, as it was, held my attention throughout, and I was keen to discover the truth behind the unfolding events. The LGBT aspect of the story was nicely handled. It felt natural for the characters and not just a throw in for the sake of it. All up, this is a book I'm glad I had the opportunity to read, even if it's not one that will stay with me forever. Recommended for fans of historical mysteries. 3.5 stars.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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