By Eliza Maxwell: Published April 14th by Lake Union Publishing (NetGalley Review)

Eliza Maxwell’s The Caretakers is aptly described as “chilling” and I may add, unsettling too. It’s an excellent read, but prepare to be on edge.

Filmmaker Tessa Richardson’s career is gaining momentum until the subject of her latest documentary, a man she helped free from prison, kills again. In quick succession, her mother passes away unexpectedly and her sister becomes hostile and challenging.

In the aftermath of such terrible circumstances, Tessa discovers she’s inherited a crumbling mansion. Seeking refuge in its isolation, she soon discovers its macabre history may not provide the solace she desperately needs.

I’ve loved gothic fiction and ‘haunted’ houses for as long as I’ve been able to read. The promise of an old mansion full of macabre secrets immediately attracted me to Maxwell’s novel, and it didn’t disappoint. I initially felt curious if The Caretakers would be another version of Amy Lloyd’s excellent The Innocent Wife, but this was no copycat tale of a documentary maker and a subject who isn’t what they seem.

Eliza Maxwell’s ability to convey Tessa’s horror, anxiety and emotion through her writing was brilliant. I was instantly drawn into the story, tense with anticipation and compelled to read into the night. Her descriptions of Fallbrook are so vivid, I could virtually see and smell the deteriorating mansion.

If you’re in the mood for a thrilling, disconcerting read then I implore you to pick up The Caretakers. Ideal for a grey afternoon or late night binge, this is one book you don’t want to abandon in your ‘to be read’ pile.

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