Hey there, Book nerds!!
I am incredibly excited to introduce y’all to Eliza Maxwell’s newest psychological thriller The Caretakers! I fell hard for this novel and its serpentine twists, so please take a moment to read my review and find out why!
And make sure you enter the giveaway below for a chance to win YOUR very own signed copy and a $25 Amazon gift card!
The Caretakers by Eliza Maxwell
Title & Author: The Caretakers by Eliza Maxwell
Genre: Psychological Thriller/Gothic Fiction
Release Date: April 14, 2020
Publisher: Lake Union Press
Series Details: Standalone
Page Count: 307 pages
Opening Lines: “The screams have long since died away. The bloodstains, like the memories, have faded brown with time, obscured beneath a fine layer of dust.”
In the isolated estate she’s found the perfect getaway. But there’s no escaping the past in this chilling novel from the bestselling author of The Unremembered Girl.
Filmmaker Tessa Shepherd helped free a man she believed was wrongly imprisoned for murder. When he kills again, Tessa’s life is upended.
She’s reeling with guilt, her reputation destroyed. Worse, Tessa’s mother has unexpectedly passed away, and her sister, Margot, turns on her after tensions from their past escalate. Hounded by a bullying press, Tessa needs an escape. That’s when she learns of a strange inheritance bequeathed by her mother: a derelict and isolated estate known as Fallbrook. It seems like the perfect refuge.
A crumbling monument to a gruesome history, the mansion has been abandoned by all but two elderly sisters retained as caretakers. They are also guardians of all its mysteries. As the house starts revealing its dark secrets, Tessa must face her fears and right the wrongs of her past to save herself and her relationship with Margot. But nothing and no one at Fallbrook are what they seem.
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Thank you so much to Lake Union Press, LSBBT, and the author for providing me with an advanced ecopy in exchange for an honest review.
“Our choices…they can change us, can’t they?”
At its heart, The Caretakers is a novel about choices. Whether it’s the seemingly mundane decisions made throughout our daily lives or the selections that lead to major milestones, our choices matter. And as you’ll see in Maxwell’s twisted tale, each and every choice we make comes with a consequence.
“Something is rising. If only she could remember what it is.”
Toggling between dual timelines and narrators, The Caretakers centers on two pairs of sisters and the secrets that haunt their flawed families.
Tessa, a renowned filmmaker, is not only hiding from her past and her estranged sister, Margot, but also from the frenzied media that flock to her after the man her documentary helped free from prison releases a video confession of a new murder.
Kitty, an octogenarian with a sunny disposition, is living out her days in the remains of her childhood home. Her elder sister, Deirdre, shares the burden of maintaining the grounds — and the memories — as caretakers of Fallbrook, a once prominent home lost to the world after the horrific murders that took place within its walls.
But WHY has Oliver, a wrongly accused and recently freed man, implicated himself in the death of Valerie Winters? Is he capable of murder? Was Tessa wrong about him? And if so, does that mean Valerie’s blood is on her hands?
And WHO was responsible for the murders all those years ago at Fallbrook manor? Why would someone take out an entire family save an infant crying alone upstairs? And HOW does that surviving infant link Tessa and Kitty?
Once their paths are merged, bringing their reluctant siblings along for the ride, we get our answers. Secrets are revealed, lives are lost, and each new twist escalates until that final mind-blowing conclusion.
“It’s not a pretty tale…but one drenched in heartache and blood.”
Like the desolate woods that surrounds the decaying Fallbrook, it’s easy to get lost in this dark mystery. Told in short, highly digestible chapters, The Caretakers hooked me from the prologue. Exposed to Maxwell’s expressive writing style full of crisp descriptions and lingering details, it didn’t take long before I was compulsively turning the pages in my obsession for answers.
With two primary mysteries to solve, a full-cast of supporting characters, and a duo of timelines, The Caretakers was an ambitious project for Maxwell. With so many threads and conflicting character motivations this easily could have become a giant, tangled mess. Instead we’re gifted with a story woven into a transportive tapestry that slowly, but surely reveals its intricate and completed image.
That impressive attention to detail is what truly blew me away. Every last detail is clean, polished, and presented with a purpose. Nothing is trivial and nothing is as it seems. And your appreciation for Maxwell’s tricks and deception only grows the longer you’ve been exposed to the truths within the text. In fact, as I was writing this review and going over my notes, I was blown away by the sheer number of passages filled with double meanings; hints that Maxwell sprinkled throughout the story chapters before I sensed a clue. Even the cover art is in on the game! And all you have to do to play along is pick up this addictive read yourself.
Like every great thriller, The Caretakers was a nonstop, action-packed experience. Even as we get our closure, we’re served some last-minute reveals that leave us stunned with no more pages left to turn. So start writing your next mind-boggling thriller, Maxwell, because I — like others — am hungry for more.
All quotes were taken from an advanced copy of this collection and may not match final release.
Eliza Maxwell is the author of The Shadow Writer, The Widow’s Watcher, The Unremembered Girl, The Grave Tender, and The Kinfolk. She writes fiction from her home in Texas, which she shares with her ever-patient husband, two impatient kids, a ridiculous English setter, and a bird named Sarah. An artist and writer, a dedicated introvert, and a British-cop-drama addict, she enjoys nothing more than sitting on the front porch with a good cup of coffee.
One Winner: Signed Copy + $25 Amazon Gift Card
Two Winners: Signed Copies
April 14-25, 2020
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