352 pages ~ ★★★☆☆ ~ Netgalley eArc
To protect the museum animal specimens during World War 2 bombings, Hetty Cartwright has been tasked with moving as many of the transportable exhibits to Lockwood Manor. Upon their arrival, Lord Lockwood proves to be instantly disagreeable while his daughter Lucy enthusiastically welcomes Hetty and her animals. It isn’t long before Hetty notices strange events, starting with the disappearance of a jaguar, start happening, stories of the ghost of Lockwood emerge as well as accusations that nothing of this sort happened before Hetty and her museum collection arrived.
First off, I loved the premise of this book, I don’t know if evacuating museums is something that actually happened (probably should have checked before writing this) but it’s such an interesting setup for historical fiction and perfect to bring these characters together, there’s a great contrast and similarities between Hetty and Lucy; both single later than life than would have been expected at the time but treated very differently for it. Their relationship was my favourite thing about this book particularly as it wasn’t something I expected going into it.
The novel comes to a head during a meal Lord Lockwood organises to showcase the specimens he’s been keeping at the manor; while initially against the idea Hetty is persuaded on the basis that some of the guests are likely to go on from the meal to donate to the museum after the war. The pace of the book took a complete turn in the last chapters and I couldn’t put it down; I wasn’t expecting any of the revelations they came out and for me they made the book make so much more sense however because of that I really wanted them to have played out more.
>Overall I enjoyed it, a little slow-paced for the most part but I enjoyed the setting and thought the characters and their relationships and its the sort of story I think could be wonderfully adapted for a Sunday night BBC series.
The Animals of Lockwood Manor∆ is set for release on 5th March and you can currently pre-order for Kindle or in Hardback; thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with a copy this in exchange for an honest review.