Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
[DEBUT] London crime writer Leonora (or Nora as she now calls herself) Shaw is puzzled when she receives an email inviting her to a weekend hen party in Northumberland to celebrate the engagement of Claire Cavendish, a childhood friend she hasn't spoken to in ten years. Nora is hesitant. Why is Claire contacting her now? Still, Nora's curiosity overcomes her doubts, and she heads north with her school friend Nina. It's a decision Nora soon regrets when she wakes up 48 hours later in the hospital, badly injured but aware that something terrible happened at the party. Someone died, but who? And was Nora responsible? Why can't she remember? Verdict This middling debut psychological thriller mixes tropes popularized by such suspense novels as S.J. Watson's Before I Go to Sleep and Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl-the amnesiac protagonist, the unreliable narrator, the charming sociopath-with Agatha Christie touches-a small party of guests stuck in an isolated snowbound country house. Although the characters are a bit stock (Claire is the stereotypical mean girl) and the clumsy red herrings fail to distract the reader from identifying the culprit early on, Ware writes with verve and energy, building up the suspense and keeping the pages flying. An imperfect but entertaining poolside read. [Library marketing.]-Wilda Williams, Library Journal © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
At the start of Ware's solid but somewhat derivative first novel, a psychological thriller, crime writer Leonora Shaw leads a solitary life in London but receives an invitation to Northumberland to celebrate the impending marriage of Clare Cavendish, a friend she hasn't seen in 10 years. Nora and Clare were once inseparable, but something drove them apart. Nora and her sarcastic school chum, Nina da Souza, another invitee, decide to make the trip to the remote cottage known as the Glass House, the site of the hen party weekend. Flashbacks show Nora in the hospital, where she's recovering from an accident that she can't quite recall and wonders whose blood is on her hands. From the catty conversations at the party, secrets from Nora and Clare's past emerge, particularly relating to Nora's former love, James Cooper. Ware does a competent job ratcheting up the suspense, but the revelations aren't as exciting as the buildup. Agent: Eve White, Eve White Literary Agency (U.K.). (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In a highly readable, atmospheric thriller, debut novelist Ware tells of a hen party that goes terribly wrong. Reclusive British crime novelist Nora Shaw can't figure out why she's been invited to Clare Cavendish's bachelorette party. Although they were best friends in high school, she hasn't seen Clare in years. Her curiosity gets the better of her, and she soon finds herself in rural Northumberland in a gleaming modern house set deep in the woods. But there's no cell-phone service, the hostess is gratingly perky, and Clare delivers a bombshell by revealing whom she is about to marry and that all occurs before Nora lands in the hospital with some very serious injuries and no memory of what happened. Ware not only conjures a sinister atmosphere, made all the creepier because it is such a beautiful house in a beautiful setting, but she also cleverly plays off the fraught dynamics of a hen party where no one seems particularly happy for the prospective bride. And the fast pace and intriguing secondary characters add a good deal of texture to the mix.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2015 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
In Ware's debut, a reclusive crime writer reunites with a long-lost friend during a weekend hen party that goes horribly wrong. When Leonora Shaw wakes up in the hospital with memory gaps and a head wound, one of the first questions she asks is, "What have I done?" Through flashbacks, Ware slowly unspools the mystery, setting a truly spooky scene as six relative strangers gather at the isolated Glass House, celebrating the upcoming marriage of Nora's former friend Clare Cavendish, with whom she had lost touch 10 years before. Nora, sensitive and skittish and nursing some great secret about her past and her lost friendship with Clare, wants nothing more than to leave, but she feels trapped by curiosity, guilt, and obligation to Flo, the woman who planned the weekend and takes any complication as a personal affront. In classic Agatha Christie fashion, the first half of the novel is masterful in the slow build of suspense. Clearly, something is very wrong, but it's unclear whether it's Nora, Clare, Flo, or some outside intruder who is responsible for the chills and the deepening unease. Unfortunately, as Nora's memory returns, the truth and the climax ultimately disappoint, and Nora's timidity and secrecy become frustrating. The final reveal is pretty predictable. However, the success of the first half of the novel does speak to Ware's ability to spin a good yarn. Recalling such classics as And Then There Were None, she creates a unique setting for the psychological scares, and her characters, while somewhat stock, have enough depth to fool even savvy mystery fans for a while. Like the Glass House itself, this novel is "a tiger's enclosure, with nowhere to hide" and with a constant undercurrent of danger. Read it on a dark and stormy nightwith all the lights on. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.