Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense
Setting: Set near Bath, England in modern day
***I received an eARC copy of The Beloveds from the publisher, Gallery Books, via NetGalley***
*** this post contains affiliate links ***
Review: Unsettling and mysterious, but it lacked an ending. The Beloveds by Maureen Lindley started out excellent, and unfortunately, just worked it’s way downward from there. Told in first person, from Betty’s unreliable perspective, The Beloveds is written beautifully. Hooking the reader from the beginning, it winds in and in towards what I assumed would be a thrilling ending.
The synopsis mentions a comparison to Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, and I think this is an accurate statement. Like Rebecca, there is an uneasy air to this, in which the reader brings their own fears and suspicions to the book, and I think each reader will read this and react to it a bit differently. Many of my suspicions and hunches in this book did not pan out, although I was right about a few surprises along the way.
As Betty plots her revenge against her sister, Gloria, and Gloria’s husband, Henry, the book gains momentum, but sadly that momentum never comes to a satisfying conclusion. About halfway through the book I started to get irritated with Betty and the repetitive “woe is me, everyone is out to get me, I’ll get my revenge”, etc etc etc routine. There is also a section towards the end, involving some neighbors in London that felt like an afterthought and didn’t fit in with Betty’s obsession with her childhood home that the rest of the book was about.
And now to that ending (or lack thereof) I mentioned above. I was so confused at the end, to the point that I thought my copy of the book was missing the last few pages. I usually enjoy an ambiguous ending, but I really didn’t get it here and I felt unsatisfied and irritated when I finished the book. So, what started off as an excellent read turned into an annoying one at the end. Which is really frustrating! But, if you enjoy atmospheric, eerie reads that require a bit of thought and contemplation and you don’t mind an unreliable narrator or ambiguous endings, you may really enjoy this book! Usually those items are things I love in a book, but here it didn’t quite work for me.
Bottom Line: Mysterious and captivating, but the ending disappointed me.
Are you intrigued by this read? Do you enjoy ambiguous endings?