Some secrets are unspoken. Others are unspeakable . . .
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?
Part love story, part mystery, The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey is a gripping and atmospheric tale of family madness, long-buried secrets and hidden desires.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
It is not long since the second world war has broken out with the threat to London becoming a target for a bombing campaign being imminent. The National History Museum make the decision to ship their collections to various parts of the country that can house some of the rare items. The mammal collection is to be transported to Lockwood Manor along with 30-year-old Hetty Cartwright to keep it safe and secure. This is quite a responsible position for a woman, who are normally employed on a volunteer role only. One wrong move could cost Hetty the career that she longs for.
Lord Lockwood isn’t the easiest of men to get on with and clearly has a disrespect for women. When some of the animals go missing Hetty is frantic that she will be sacked and neither Lord Lockwood or the Housekeeper is any help. Hetty strikes a friendship up with Lucy, Lord Lockwood’s beautiful daughter, putting her on yet another very dangerous path.
The forces of nature seem to be working against Hetty as much as Lord Lockwood himself with the added complication of her own hormones running pretty steamy too.
This is the author’s debut novel so I was really impressed. The time period seemed to be captured spot on with the women being “allowed” to take on higher position roles in the workplace that in peacetime were thought of as something they weren’t capable of doing. The story has that edgy feel about it where you are waiting for something to go wrong at every turn. Quite a surprising end for me.
I wish to thank NetGalley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
Jane Healey was named after Jane Eyre, but was initially too frightened of the ghost in the red-room to read beyond the second chapter. She returned to it – successfully – when she studied English Literature at Warwick University.
She has been shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize 2013, the Costa Short Story Award 2014, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2016 and the Penguin Random House WriteNow mentoring programme 2017.
The Animals at Lockwood Manor is her first novel.
She lives in Edinburgh.