“A strange encounter
Neve comes across a troubled woman called Isabelle on Waterloo Bridge late one night. Isabelle forces a parcel into Neve’s hands and jumps to her death in the icy Thames below.
An unexpected gift
Two weeks later, as Neve’s wreck of a life in London collapses, an unexpected lifeline falls into her lap – a charming cottage in Cornwall left to her by Isabelle, the woman on the bridge. The solution to all her problems.
A Twisted secret
But when Neve arrives, alone in the dark woods late one night, she finds a sinister-looking bungalow with bars across its windows. And her dream home quickly becomes her worst nightmare – a house hiding a twisted secret that will change her life forever…” (Source: Goodreads)
In a Cottage in a Wood by Cass Green releases tomorrow and I definitely look forward to seeing what my fellow Littens have to say about the title when they get their hands on it. For myself, I’m still a bit mixed. There are some things that Green does really well in this book and there are others that, quite simply, take far too long to unfold.
The main character in In a Cottage in a Wood is Neve Carey. After her relationship fails, she finds herself in a tenuous relationship with her sister and brother-in-law, who she’s been living with for a bit. Her fairy godmother appears in the form of a woman moments before she commits suicide, which begs the question: why? Thus readers follow Neve along as she stumbles through her sub-par life, whilst wearing her victim name-tag proudly.
Personally, I don’t care for Neve. Everything that has happened to her is a direct consequence of her own actions. In many rays, she reminds of me of The Girl on the Train‘s Rachel. A person cannot make poor life choices and then blame everyone around them for what follows – but Neve appears to do just that. And then, magically, she gets what she needs: a creepy cottage in the middle of nowhere. Because that is totally how life works. (Actually, I guess it kinda is. In many ways, those that need help can’t get it and those that don’t end up with more.) Her neighbors and family aren’t much better, and for that I must applaud Green’s ability to write some absolutely horrid individuals.
If you’re looking for an edge of your seat thriller, In a Cottage in a Wood is not what you want; however, if you want a slow simmer that builds up to an incredibly frustrating, heartrending finale, this is your book. While there are times where it feels as if the plot simply drags on, Green’s command of suspense is just enough to keep a reader hooked until the last page. The final twenty percent of the book flies by incredibly fast, revealing revelation after revelation. When it comes to plot twists, I’m not an easy person to take by surprise and yet Green has done just that.
It’s hard to decide what I want to rate this title. I’ve teeter-tottered between three and four skulls, but ultimately I feel there is a lot of potential that isn’t quite met. There are things that I think would have made excellent additions to the story and while I’d love to share them, I can’t unless I want to give out spoilers. Without that, I think I’ll settle on three. It’s definitely a title I’d buy.
Thanks to Edelweiss and HarperCollins for providing me with an advance copy of this novel for the purpose of unbiased review.