publication: January 12th 2021 by Berkley Books
From Goodreads…The USA Today bestselling author of The Au Pair returns with another delicious, twisty novel--about a grand estate with many secrets, an orphan caught in a web of lies, and a young woman playing a sinister game.
1988. Beth Soames is fourteen years old when her aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall, a rambling manor in the isolated East Anglian fens. The Averells, the family who lives there, are warm and welcoming, and Beth becomes fast friends with their daughter, Nina. At times, Beth even feels like she's truly part of the family...until they ask her to help them with a harmless game--and nothing is ever the same.
2019. Sadie Langton is an actress struggling to make ends meet when she lands a well-paying gig to pretend to be a guest at a weekend party. She is sent a suitcase of clothing, a dossier outlining the role she is to play, and instructions. It's strange, but she needs the money, and when she sees the stunning manor she'll be staying at, she figures she's got nothing to lose.
In person, Raven Hall is even grander than she'd imagined--even with damage from a fire decades before--but the walls seem to have eyes. As day turns to night, Sadie starts to feel that there's something off about the glamorous guests who arrive, and as the party begins, it becomes chillingly apparent their unseen host is playing games with everyone...including her.
Come to Raven Hall and take part in pretend weekend party. Something sounds fishy about this, but the price is right, the payment would help, so you go. The weekend party is not all that it cracks up to be. It is a who-dun-it and the only clues you get are sealed envelopes and stories the hostess tells.
I loved that there were two timelines. The present timeline of Sadie arriving to attend the party, meet the guests, and enjoy her time at Raven Hall was interesting. The murder/mystery parties have been happening for a while around here and I have always thought they sounded fun. This party starts out fun but quickly Sadie realizes that something is off, something is not right, and something bad is going to happen. The 1988 timeline of Beth being invited to come stay at Raven Hall as the best friend for Nina had me wondering what else was going on. Why was Beth truly invited? I also wondered how the two timelines would come together when only the location of Raven Hall seems to be the same.
Emma Rous did a wonderful job of pulling the entire story together. She kept the timelines easy to follow, easy to tell which time you were reading about, and when the story came together it was seamless. There are no gaps in the story, no wondering what happen, and (for me) no wishes that it would have gone differently. The Perfect Guests is the perfect mystery, thriller, who-dun-it story.
**Thank you Dache’ Rogers at Berkley for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
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Meet Emma Rous
Emma grew up in England, Indonesia, Kuwait, Portugal and Fiji, and from a young age she had two ambitions: to write stories, and to look after animals. She studied veterinary medicine and zoology at the University of Cambridge, then worked as a small animal veterinary surgeon for eighteen years before switching to full time writing in 2016. Emma lives in Cambridgeshire, England, with her husband and three sons.
The Au Pair is her first novel, published in eleven countries in ten languages. The Perfect Guests is her second novel, due out in January 2021.