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The Manor House by Gilly MacMillan

I wasn’t sure what to think when I began reading this book. I was attracted by the title and cover and had wanted to read a book by this author. At the start, the story didn’t draw me in as much as I had hoped. As I got further into the book, that quickly changed. The Manor House was a slow burn for me that turned into a raging inferno. Once I became engrossed, I couldn’t stop reading.

On the grounds of Lancaut Manor stand two very different mansions, one built of stone and dating back to medieval times, the other modern and made of glass. In the manor live a writer and a yoga instructor with their housekeeper, Kitty; in the new state-of-the-art building, a young couple enjoy their recent lottery win. The neighbors’ lives become intertwined when Nicole, the newly rich wife, discovers her husband’s body in their pool and runs over to Sasha and Olly’s manor house for help.

Told from the point of view of each main character, including the detectives investigating Tom’s death, the suspense increases as tidbits of the truth are revealed with chapters alternating between these perspectives. Unfortunately, the characters, other than the female detective and the victim, were not very likeable. I suspect this was an intentional characterization choice on the part of the author, who expertly portrayed how greed, vices, and loneliness drive our actions. Interspersed with the current story-line is the history of the manor and its previous owner. I loved the back and forth in the timeline and the narration, each new revelation an ‘ah ha’ moment as I tried to piece the clues together. 

Although I was torn between giving this a four or five-star rating, and would set it at 4.5,  it left its mark on me. A haunting tale of creepy mansions that seem to control their owners, The Manor House opens its doors to expose the evil living within.

Prepare yourself for a roller-coaster of a ride! Every time you think you have figured out what’s happening, expect another twist thrown your way. 

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