Book Review: The Guest House by Robin Morgan-Bentley

“KEEP YOUR FAMILY SAFE.
WHATEVER THE COST…”

Set to be released on 23rd June, The Guest House by Robin Morgan-Bentley follows Jamie and Victoria who are expecting their first baby. With a few weeks to go, they head off for a final weekend break in a remote part of the North Pennines. The small and peaceful guesthouse is the ideal location to unwind together before becoming parents. Upon arrival, they are greeted by Barry and Fiona, the older couple who run the guesthouse. They cook them dinner and show them to their room before retreating to bed themselves. The next morning, Jamie and Victoria wake to find the house deserted. Barry and Fiona are nowhere to be seen. All the doors are locked. Both their mobile phones and car keys have disappeared. Even though it’s a few weeks early, Victoria knows the contractions are starting. The baby is coming, and there’s no way out.

Rating:

Thank you to NetGalley for a free advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A fast-paced and intriguing mystery, The Guest House is a chilling and tense story that will leave you breathless in the race to find out what actually happened at the ominous guest house.

While I enjoyed this overall, there are two main things that prevented me from engaging with it more, so I’ll get those out of the way. The first is a personal preference as I find it really difficult to read about infants in danger, and there was too much of that here for me. While I’m all for dark thrillers that can instil that sense of dread in you and I believe there are ways around this subject that can invest you in a story more emotionally, it’s the one thing that I find too uncomfortable to read about and I don’t think the threats felt necessary enough here.

My second issue is that book includes one of my thriller pet peeves, which is when an early chapter is revealed to be a false account that couldn’t have happened once you know the outcome. I love when a narration tricks you into believing something else, but when you’ve read something that obviously didn’t happen in that way at all, I find this a lazy way to add a shocking twist, which left me annoyed rather than shocked.

But there’s a lot of great potential in this story at the same time. I loved the atmosphere, the mystery, and the duo timelines work really well alongside each to build up to the truth. However, The Guest House is one of those books that you will love or hate, as it relies on your personal connection to the story and how you think they would react in the same circumstances.

At first, I thought everything was far too ludicrous, but I kept up some hope that the answers at the end would justify everything going on. And for the most part, the end did provide me with the answers that I needed and there are some extra twists that I really wasn’t expecting. But overall, I’m left feeling fooled rather than deceived, and it didn’t work well enough for me in the bigger context of the story.

Details:

The Guest House by Robin Morgan-Bentley
Release Date: 23rd June 2022
Print Length: 343 pages
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Orion

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