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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.1 out of 5
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  • Atmospheric with a gothic feel

    This book is described as ‘Big Little Lies meets Picnic at Hanging Rock’ on its blurb. Well, for once, it’s not a bad comparison. Four school mums decide to take a small holiday together, with their children but no husbands. McCausland uses the atmospheric setting of their holiday destination to great effect. They stay in a hotel which in its heyday of the 1940s was frequented by a clientele of the rich and elite. However, the fortunes and popularity of the hotel faded (along with the popularity of the surrounding once-thriving townships) when the local mine near it closed. And now it only opens for the occasional event -- the isolation of the hotel's Blue Mountains valley location blamed for the infrequency of those. I pretty much liked all four of the mums. Of course, all four have issues they are attempting to hide from the world and, as the story moves along, the reader soon learns they all struggle to make sensible decisions in relation to their lives/issues. But it's not all a big soap opera. McCausland adds a mystery/thriller plotline when one of the women goes missing (which, obviously, causes the troubles of the other three to escalate to another level). Besides the four mums, we also follow the plot of Jean, a resident of the town in the 40s. Although I found Jean a bit annoying at times, I was still intrigued enough to find out how her story, and also that of another woman who went missing from the hotel at the same time that Jean visited, would connect with the present. The book had a very gothic feel to it. McCausland did a great job of making the hotel, and its staff, very creepy. Locked doors, ghosts, torrential rain causing roads to flood, no internet or phone coverage -- McCausland managed to up the chills pretty well. The vastness and remoteness of the Australian bush/landscape were also key factors in pulling off the 'in peril but isolated' trope too. There were quite a few themes covered in amongst the thrills, such as domestic violence, alcoholism, adultery, bullying, homophobia, and Aboriginal genocide. Overall I would recommend this book

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  • Unable to put down

    Loved, loved this book. Characters are so relatable in how women have their insecurities. Read this in a day and a half. Will be reading this author’s other book in the coming days!

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  • Interesting

    I have stayed at the Glen Davis hotel in the early 80s and found the story very interesting and understood the eerie feeling of the valley.

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