#TsundokuSquad Book Club – October 2021 – The Whistling

Hello fellow bookworms!

At the start of the year I announced that I had joined a book club (#TsundokuSquad) and today I am sharing our groups thoughts on our 10th read of the year. As it’s Halloween month we decided to go for a recent NetGalley read The Whistling.

Title: The Whistling

Author: Rebecca Netley

Genre: Horror/ Historical Fiction/ Gothic

Goodreads Rating: 4.17

My Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

#TsundokuSquad Average Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Source: ARC


Alone in the world, Elspeth Swansome has taken the position of nanny to a family on the remote Scottish island of Skelthsea.

Her charge, Mary, is a troubled child. Distracted and secretive, she hasn’t uttered a word since the sudden death of her twin, William – just days after their former nanny disappeared.

With Mary defiantly silent, Elspeth turns to the islanders. But no one will speak of what happened to William. Just as no one can explain the hypnotic lullabies sung in empty corridors. Nor the strange dolls that appear in abandoned rooms.

Nor the faint whistling that comes in the night…

As winter draws in and passage to the mainland becomes impossible, Elspeth finds herself trapped.

But is this house haunted by the ghosts of the past?


Chilling, twisty and emotionally gripping, The Whistling is an atmospheric page-turner with shades of the classics, yet a unique character of its own. Perfect for fans of Susan Hill and Laura Purcell.

#TsundokuSquad Review:

As per our usual routine we split the book into 5 sections and discussed every Saturday. A lot of us don’t usually read horror but we fancied something spooky for this months read. We had heard great things about this one so a lot of us were excited to get started and a little nervous about what the book would be like.

Week One

This weeks section ended on a cliff hanger. A lot of us felt that the story had just got going and we were enjoying it so far. We had lots of questions particularly about Hettie and William but we really hoped there was going to be some big twist to the final section. The setting of Skelthsea certainly had an eerie atmosphere and you can tell not all was as it seemed. Greer seemed to be a big focus of our conversation, a lot of us were wondering why she didn’t like Elspeth. Was she jealous of Hettie? Like I said we had a lot of questions and couldn’t wait to start the next part.

Week Two

This is proving to be the perfect October read, I love the spookiness and eerie atmosphere! Our chat this week focused around Mary. Some of us were questioning her involvement in what happened with Hettie and William and some of us wondered if she was the key to all the answers. Elspeth is a formidable character and a lot of us commend her for sticking out the job and not running a mile! We love that she it trying to rationalise everything that is happening and refusing to believe it could be supernatural, it makes it all the more realistic for us readers. Elspeth’s history with her sister was intriguing as well. Could there be more to that than meets the eye? We were also wondering what was going on between Violet and Greer. They obviously have a connection and we’re interested to learn the backstory of Violet’s scar.

Week Three

We finally got some answers to Hettie’s disappearance and Violet’s backstory but we now have more questions! I’m starting to think that Mary is just an innocent bystander in all of this and has been scared into silence. I’m not sure by who but she has clearly decided that not speaking will keep her safe. We were saddened to see how keen Violet was to send Violet away which only makes her seem more guilty in our eyes. Greer is still a hot topic of conversation and we’re wondering if she’s being painted as an accomplice but it actually not involved at all? Some of the group feel that things are moving a little slow at the moment. We’re not sure if this is because our weekly sections are quite small but we hope that the final two weeks start to up in action and we get a satisfactory ending.

Week Four

I thought this week left us with a big cliff hanger and that made me want to read the next section asap. We finally learnt more about Greer and I can see now why she is the way she is but I’m still not convinced that she is responsible for the murders. I’m starting to cast the guilty light elsewhere and wonder if Alias is as helpful as she seems? Who knows what will happen but I have a feeling the final revelations will surprise us all. As a group the majority are enjoying this one and we love that none of us can tell where it is going. Some of us have also been terrified by the scenes in the attic and the whistle, it has certainly made our skin crawling and got the heart racing!

Week Five

Suffice to say I didn’t see that ending happening. The culprit was not who I thought it was and it was nice to be surprised. The final section built to a climatic ending and we finally had our answers to all of our questions. The most touching moment for me was how the relationship between Elspeth and Mary developed throughout the story. From her actions you could tell that Mary felt most secure with Elspeth and the final scenes only demonstrated how far they had both come. I also enjoyed the conversation between Elspeth and Greer, it was enlightening and gave some vital answers to our questions. For me this was a great read that held all the spooky, eerie vibes you’d expect from a gothic story. It’s a slow burning read with an atmosphere that quietly sneaks up on you and completely engulfs you, by the end I wasn’t sure what I did and didn’t believe.


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