Sunday 17 October 2021

Book Tour | The Whistling by Rebecca Netley | prettylittlewriter

 A brilliantly atmospheric and eerie ghost story.

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

Her charge, Mary, hasn't uttered a word since the sudden death of her twin, William - just days after their former nanny disappeared.

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?


I was so incredibly excited when I got the email asking if I would like to participate in the book tour for this highly anticipated novel. I’d had my eye on it for some time, so I jumped at the chance to take part!


The novel starts out with our main character, Elspeth Swansome, arriving at the isolated island of Skelthsea (just off of Scotland) to start a new job as Nanny to a young girl called Mary.

Elspeth discovers upon her arrival that young Mary has been through a lot in recent months, firstly losing her mother, then her previous Nanny Hettie abandoned her and her brother, William, and then poor William also died under strange circumstances.


As Elspeth gets to know Mary, even though Mary is mute and they can only communicate through body language and facial expressions, Elspeth grows very fond of Mary and forms a close bond with her.

Elspeth herself has had loss in her life, after losing her younger sister Clara, whom Mary often reminds her of.


There are many tales from the residents of the island surrounding the house she is living in, and the possible ghosts that live within.


As time goes by, Elspeth starts hearing strange whistling sounds, and footsteps in empty corridors. All is not as it seems at Iskar, and Elspeth is determined to protect Mary at all costs.


This is a wonderful historic ghost story with so many creepy gothic elements that make it a perfect read for spooky season. There is also an element of whodunit, as it is not clear from the offset that the death of William was truly an accident.


I truly felt a connection to Elspeth and Mary, and I so desperately wanted them to both be okay, and for Mary to let Elspeth in so she could protect her. Their relationship was a sweet one, with a true bond between them both.


I was not expecting the twist at the end, I already had a character in mind for the ‘baddie’, but I was wrong.


It took me longer to read this book than I expected, mainly due to the fact I was reading it late at night for all the spooky vibes but ended up almost falling asleep each time!


Netley’s writing is beautiful; she creates vivid imagery of the island and its characters, and the story gives me ‘Haunting of Hill House’ vibes.


Overall, I would highly recommend this spooky tale to anyone who enjoys a slow burn spooky story.


Thanks again to Ella Watkins from Penguin Michael Joseph for allowing me to read early and participate in the tour!

5/5 stars

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