Audiobook Review – The Animals At Lockwood Manor

Title: The Animals at Lockwood Manor

Author: Jane Healey

Genre: Historical Fiction

Goodreads Rating: 3.41

My Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Source: Audiobook

Synopsis:

August 1939.

Thirty-year-old Hetty Cartwright is tasked with the evacuation and safekeeping of the natural history museum’s collection of mammals. Once she and her exhibits arrive at Lockwood Manor, however, where they are to stay for the duration of the war, Hetty soon realizes that she’s taken on more than she’d bargained for.

Protecting her charges from the irascible Lord Lockwood and resentful servants is work enough, but when some of the animals go missing, and worse, Hetty begins to suspect someone – or something – is stalking her through the darkened corridors of the house.

As the disasters mount, Hetty finds herself falling under the spell of Lucy, Lord Lockwood’s beautiful but clearly haunted daughter. But why is Lucy so traumatized? Does she know something she’s not telling? And is there any truth to local rumours of ghosts and curses?

My Review:

I have seen a lot of reviews of this book and have been excited to dive into it for a while. Having only found historical fiction in the last couple of years I am always on the look out for more material.

What I have come to find with a lot of historical fiction books is they take their time to lay out the roots of the story. It usually takes me until 30% in to be fully invested in the story and the characters, this tale was no exception. The beginning section of the book was a little slow paced but I decided to persevere and I’m glad I did. Once it got going I enjoyed watching the story unfold and seeing how events would reach their final conclusion.

I loved Hetty’s character. Considering the period it was set in she was a feminist in her own right. She refused to accept society norms, even if it made her an outcast and ended up being quite a feisty character. As the story progressed I found her confidence in her voice grew but she still chose her battles wisely which gave her a slightly softer side. Her relationship with Lucy was odd at times, I felt that Hetty acted more as a mother than a partner but perhaps that had more to do with Lucy’s personality than anything. Lucy was very naïve and deeply troubled, which isn’t surprising given what she went through during her childhood. I started to grow tired of some of hers and Hetty’s nightmares towards the end and wanted to focus more on the present.

For me the highlight was the level of details about the taxidermy and Lockwood Manor itself. Jane Healey created a beautiful scene and the manor, plus everything in and around it, came to life in my imagination. Her writing is beautiful, gentle and memorable.

This was the last book in my September readathons that got me one more stamp on my coffee card and an extra advanced prompt in the Dare to Dreamathon. I was pleased to end the month with such a beautiful read.

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