#BookReview: The House of Ashes by Stuart Neville @stuartneville @bonnierbooks_uk

Hi everyone! Today, I have a book review for a read I picked up via NetGalley. I haven’t come across this writer before, but I’ll be checking out more of his work >>>

57660446. sy475 About the Book:

For fans of Gillian Flynn and Tana French, a chilling story of a Northern Irish murder sixty years buried

Sara Keane’s husband, Damien, has uprooted them from England and moved them to his native Northern Ireland for a “fresh start” in the wake of her nervous breakdown. Sara, who knows no one in Northern Ireland, is jobless, carless, friendlessโ€”all but a prisoner in her own house. When a blood-soaked old woman beats on the door, insisting the house is hers before being bundled back to her care facility, Sara begins to understand the house has a terrible history her husband never intended for her to discover.

Through the counterpoint voices of two womenโ€”one modern Englishwoman, one Northern Irish farmgirl speaking from half a century earlierโ€”Stuart Neville offers a chilling and gorgeous portrait of violence and resilience in this truly haunting narrative.


My Review:


Many thanks to NetGalley and Bonnier books for a free advanced review copy of this book.

A perfect portrayal of a controlling, abusive husband and a psychologically damaged wife.

“Glass breaks downstairs and she freezes in her bed, the blankets tight around her.” From this opening line, the reader is taken on a dark journey in both the past and the present.

I enjoyed this crime thriller immensely, and for me, the element of the unsettled ghosts added to the fun of the read. While it’s a dark tale, much of the heavy stuff happens off page, so the reader knows what’s going on but doesn’t have to suffer through it with the characters.

The narrative is through the lens of different characters but primarily from present day Sara and the young (decades ago) Mary. I really felt for the characters in this book and found the situations all too believable. Here are some lines that stood out for me:

“Not real sleep, not the warm dark that brings light, but the dim hinterland where bitter memories surfaced to torment her.”

And …

“Then she imagined having to explain it to her husband, and the idea drained away like the drink she had just poured out.”

And …

“… an ache of sadness passing between them.”

The ending felt a little too open-ended for my liking, but otherwise this was a gripping and satisfying read, and I felt that certain characters got what was coming to them. I give The House of Ashes a solid five stars.


NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER โ€” Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! โ€” An okay read. Didnโ€™t love it. Didnโ€™t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS โ€”Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA โ€”Lots of issues with this book.

I’d love to hear what you think of this review. Thanks for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚


For anyone interested, here are the Amazon links …

UK … https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08R8XRTB2/

US … https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08R8XRTB2/


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Miriam Hurdle

Fantastic review, Harmony. I like closure at the end. I’m okay with the open-ending with a little clue. Thank you for sharing.

Beem Weeks

A fantastic review, Harmony. I’m intrigued by dark and compelling tales. I will have to grab a copy.

Mae Clair

Nice and intriguing, Harmony. And I’m appreciating open endings more than I used to!

D.L. Finn, Author

Sounds like a read that would immediately pull me in. Thanks for sharing your review, Harmony!

Jan Sikes

I love psychological thrillers and this one sounds like a really good read. A plus for me – it’s set in Ireland. Thank you for sharing, Harmony!

CS Boyack

Sounds like plenty of intrigue.

Staci Troilo

Sounds like a book I’d enjoy. Thanks for sharing, Harmony.

Joan Hall

This sounds like something I’d enjoy reading. Thanks for the review, Harmony.

Sarah Stuart

Or I tried. It’s on pre-order.
Just as well. It stopped me hitting “buy”. ยฃ7.19 is too much for an eBook.

Sarah Stuart

I always read your reviews, Harmony, and sometimes make a note on my exceedingly long TBR list, but this time, I’ve bought the book.

John Howell

A super review, Harmony. Thanks

Priscilla Bettis

It sounds dark and disturbing, in a compelling way. Great review, Harmony!