My dear bookish friends!
As the days are getting shorter and Halloween is nearing, are you looking for some books that put you in the mood for the spooky season? Well, you don’t need to look any further. The Whistling by Rebecca Netley will chill you to the core, then warm you up, and then make the little hairs on the back of your neck rise again. Ever since I saw the book trailer I knew I had to read it, and what better time is there than now? It will be out on 14th October, just in time for Halloween – so mark that day in your calendars or preorder now! Be sure to keep on reading to find out what The Whistling is about, and for my detailed review!
Alone in the world, Elspeth Swansome takes the position of nanny to a family on the remote Scottish island of Skelthsea.
Her charge, Mary, hasn’t uttered a word since the sudden death of her twin, William – just days after their former nanny disappeared.
No one will speak of what happened to William. Just as no one can explain the hypnotic lullabies sung in empty corridors. Nor the strange dolls that appear in abandoned rooms. Nor the faint whistling that comes in the night . . .
As winter draws in and passage to the mainland becomes impossible, Elspeth finds herself trapped.
But is this house haunted by the ghosts of the past?
OR THE SECRETS OF THE LIVING . . . ?
Wow, ok, I had to light all the lights in the house now to write my review because this book sent shivers down my spine!! I was sucked in from the first page – a nanny starts her new position at a huge mansion in the middle of nowhere, with only very few people in the house and her charge, a little girl who, since her twin brother’s death, has stopped speaking. The setting on the remote Scottish island, the house close to the cliffs and the fact that the air seemed to be thick and heavy with secrets made it clear from the start that I would end up loving this book, because I love this kind of premise of a Gothic story. And I wasn’t wrong!
The Whistling is chilling, it is cleverly constructed, it appears like a classic but has its own very special touch to it. Once started, I couldn’t put the book down. It was as if I was spellbound, shackled to the page, and even when the day passed and it was time to get up and turn the lights on it had me bound to my spot, even when the darkening room gave me more chills as I was hooked to the spooky story. There are many mysteries tangled with superstition and the past tragedies of Elspeth’s new working place, and every time I thought I had the right trace, a bit later on I was proven wrong.
It is often that we read mysteries in which we are sure from the start we know what’s going on. Who the murderer is, who the innocent victim is, what happened when and why. In The Whistling, I was feeling as helpless as Elspeth throughout the story. There were times when I was scared of Mary, the little girl she is taking care of, and other times when I thought Elspeth must surely just imagine the sound of the whistle blowing in the empty corridors. When she then learned about the former nanny Hettie and how she came to leave her position, I was angry at the former nanny together with Elspeth – how could one leave such young children behind after what they had been through?
But after a while, Elspeth learned a different take to the story, and with her I got confused. Which one is the right one? The same happened with the death of young Mary’s little brother. After at first, no one was ready to speak about it at all, the stories spun around his untimely death then got more sinister and cruel every time Elspeth asked somebody else, and my head was spinning with every new twist! Was such a young child really capable of what they were accusing him of?
I instantly liked Elspeth – she is a great main character. Deeply affected by the loss of her younger sister, she has come to Skelthsea in order to outrun the ghosts of her past. But soon she finds that maybe, her new working place might be just as haunted, or maybe even worse so… At first I wasn’t sure how Elspeth would do in her new job. After all, at her arrival she finds out that she hasn’t been prepared for the true difficulty of her tasks at all. But after a while it became clear to me and all the characters in the book that Elspeth was the best choice to be Mary’s new nanny. With her loving and good-natured personality and her strong will to figure out what ghosts are troubling Mary and the whole place, there couldn’t have been a better choice than Elspeth.
The ending took me by surprise. I was thinking of something else entirely that would be happening, and was shaken to the core when I found out who (or what) was really behind all the strange sounds, the creaking, the shadows at the windows, the weird dolls with no faces that turned up everywhere, the turned-around shoes, the accidents, the whistling…
This book has everything a spooky read needs: An isolated setting, a tragic past, myths and superstition, death, the weird children storyline, a new character brought into a tight-knit and strange community of people who all seem to be hiding something, and many, many secrets and mysteries that need to be unraveled. On top of that, The Whistling is beautifully written, and managed to captivate me from page one.
This is a perfect read in the lead up to Halloween, perfect for fans of Gothic tales! It reminded me a bit of Mrs England featuring a more sinister, eerie backdrop – 5 stars from me!
Big thank you to the crew at Penguin Michael Joseph for my spot on this tour.
Thank you all so much for reading, and do let me know if you will pick up The Whistling soon!