The Whistling by Rebecca Netley

About the book

Alone in the world, Elspeth Swansome has taken the position of nanny to a family on the remote Scottish island of Skelthsea.

Her charge, Mary, is a strange child. Distracted and secretive, she hasn’t uttered a word since the sudden death of her twin, William – just days after their former nanny disappeared.

With her charge defiantly silent, Elspeth turns to the islanders. But 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?


What I thought

This story reminded me in some ways of The Lost Ones by Anita Frank so if you’ve read that and enjoyed it you will probably love this equally.

It is certainly atmospheric especially with its period setting of mid 1800’s. There are so many vivid descriptions – of Iskar the old and crumbling house with its many empty rooms and corridors, the remote island of Skelthsea with mists that roll in off the sea and where Elspeth spends much of her time with mute Mary on the beaches and rocks that surround the island. Added to that are the strange noises that Elspeth hears in the old house. The singing of a lullaby out in the corridor by her room at night, the quiet whistling that she sometimes hears and generally things that tend to go bump in the night.

Perhaps just over mid-way I did feel it started to get a little slow. The story didn’t seem to be moving on. I don’t believe in ghosts but I do love the idea of there being something that brings spirits back, however I began thinking that perhaps it was all a bit too typical ghostly type things going on. I’m glad I have patience to push on with a book even if I think things are not moving along because it would have been an absolute travesty to have given up on it.

Push on, keep reading because the last third of the book is so worth it. Things really begin to pick up and it becomes quite chilling with revelations slowly coming to light. I was really glad I carried on because I loved it in the end, a really satisfying read which I very much enjoyed overall. There is so much more to this book than simply a ghost story, it’s emotional, full of mystery and many unanswered questions – until you get to the end, brilliant!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

♥ Happy Reading ♥

Thank you to the publisher, Michael Joseph Books for an advance review copy of the book via Netgalley.

The book is out today 14 October and is available in e-book and hardback and is available from Amazon and all other book retailers.

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