Official Synopsis from Goodreads: An exploration of domestic derangement, as sinister as Daphne Du Maurier’s classic Rebecca, that plumbs the depths of sibling rivalry with wit and menace.
Oh, to be a Beloved—one of those lucky people for whom nothing ever goes wrong. Everything falls into their laps without effort: happiness, beauty, good fortune, allure.
Betty Stash is not a Beloved—but her little sister, the delightful Gloria, is. She’s the one with the golden curls and sunny disposition and captivating smile, the one whose best friend used to be Betty’s, the one whose husband should have been Betty’s. And then, to everyone’s surprise, Gloria inherits the family manse—a vast, gorgeous pile of ancient stone, imposing timbers, and lush gardens—that was never meant to be hers.
Losing what Betty considers her rightful inheritance is the final indignity. As she single-mindedly pursues her plan to see the estate returned to her in all its glory, her determined and increasingly unhinged behavior—aided by poisonous mushrooms, talking walls, and a phantom dog—escalates to the point of no return. The Beloveds will have you wondering if there’s a length to which an envious sister won’t go.
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.
LINKS ***the Amazon link is an affiliate link which means I receive a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase***
Are you intrigued by this read? Do you enjoy ambiguous endings?
4 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Beloveds by Maureen Lindley”
Is this the first book in a series, perhaps?
I also get a Count of Monte Cristo vibe from the synopsis!
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No, I don’t think it’s the first book in a series. I think that the ending just didn’t work. I haven’t seen any other reviews on this book yet (but I’m super behind on blog-hopping), so I’ll be interested to see if any other reviewers have the same issue that I had with it.
Ooh – The Count of Monte Cristo is one of those classics that I need to get to at some point! I’ve seen the movie, and while Dantes does have a legitimate reason for revenge there, in this book I didn’t feel Betty truly had any reason for revenge, so it was more of reading about someone’s downward spiral. While fascinating in parts, it just needed a better ending!
Wonderful review! I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on this book.
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🙂 Thank you so much!
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