Book Review Tuesday: The House Keeper by Natalie Barelli, Possession by Katie Lowe #psychologicalthriller #psychologicalfiction #bookreviews

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over image

Happy Tuesday! Once again, I have two books to share today. One held me riveted the other was…eh.

I have mixed emotions about the second book because it had plenty of good points. I’ll let you judge from today’s reviews. I will mention that Natalie Barelli is an author I discovered last year, and she immediately went on my auto buy list. I’ve scooped up several of her back issues as well. If you enjoy psychological suspense, she always delivers a good tale. Sometimes the circumstances require a suspension of belief, but for sheer entertainment value, they always deliver.

BLURB:
She’s a liar. She’s a stalker. She’s in your house.

When Claire sees Hannah Wilson at an exclusive Manhattan hair salon, it’s like a knife slicing through barely healed scars. It may have been ten years since Claire last saw Hannah, but she has thought of her every day, and not in a good way. So Claire does what anyone would do in her position—she stalks her.

Hannah is now Mrs. Carter, living the charmed life that should have been Claire’s. It’s the life Claire used to have, before Hannah came along and took it all away from her.

Back then, Claire was a happy teenager with porcelain skin and long, wavy blond hair. Now she’s an overweight, lazy drunk with hair the color of compost and skin to match. Which is why when Hannah advertises for a housekeeper, Claire is confident she can apply and not be recognized. And since she has time on her hands, revenge on her mind, and a talent for acting…

Because what better way to seek retribution—and redress—than from within the beautiful Mrs. Hannah Carter’s own home?

Except that it’s not just Claire who has secrets. Everyone in that house seems to have something to hide.

And now, there’s no way out.

MY REVIEW:
This is a quick read and an easy one, but highly entertaining. Despite how messed up the main character is, you get sucked into her life. Claire had it all when she was young. A happy home life, rich parents, tennis lessons, pony rides. Then Hannah waltzed into her world as a nanny for her younger brother and her life took a nosedive. I’d say more about why, but that’s part of the story, and I don’t want to spoil anything.

Fast forward ten years and Hannah is now married to a wealthy doctor, living the high life in a beautiful house. She’s in need of a housekeeper who will also help care for her infant daughter from time to time. Through a series of pretty “out there” circumstances, Claire changes her appearance, assumes another identity, and lands the job. She’s there to upend Hannah’s life and exact revenge.

This is a juicy read which alternates for the reader between disliking Claire and cheering for her. Written in first person POV, there is plenty of snarky asides sprinkled throughout, as well as a steady build of suspense and tension. There aren’t many characters to keep track of, but all play an integral part in the story, and the ending is well worth the ride. This is my second book by Natalie Barelli, but I like her work so much, I’ve already picked up another two for my Kindle.

5 STARS

BLURB:
Ten years ago, Hannah’s husband was knifed in their bed. Hannah was questioned but was unable to recall anything about the night of Graham’s death. Someone else was charged with his murder and sentenced to life in prison. Now, ten years later, Hannah is living with her boyfriend, Dan, and her teenage daughter, Evie. A true crime podcast with a reputation for overturning wrongful convictions begins to pick Hannah’s story apart, determined to get to the bottom of what really happened ten years ago.

MY REVIEW:
Talk about a compelling plot! The premise of this book immediately intrigued me. Hannah’s life begins to unravel when she’s judged in the court of public opinion, one sensationalized podcast episode at a time. This is a slow-burn suspense read with several elements that play exceptionally well, including Hannah’s spotty memory. Did she or didn’t she? Even she doesn’t know if she’s a killer. That keeps the reader wondering, too—right up until the end.

Another thread involves the ruins of a Gothic insane asylum where Hannah’s grandmother was incarcerated for killing her husband and daughter. Hannah is drawn there when she learns someone is interested in renovating the property. The scenes in the shell of the old building are some of my favorite, played heavily for atmosphere.

There are numerous snaking plot lines that weave together at the end. Kudos to the author for juggling so many intricate puzzle pieces. I thought the ending was brilliant.

What I didn’t like, and found implausible, is that Hannah—a professional psychiatrist—would be such a doormat for her husband and her ex-boss. Her behavior, especially in the past, didn’t ring true. Though most of the book takes place in the present, there are numerous scenes where the reader is treated to Hannah’s married life with Graham. The more I was exposed to her past, the more annoyed I became. In the present, some of the actions of the police left me scratching my head. I had some other issues as well, but it’s hard to say more without giving away spoilers.

The overall tone of the book is dark. I honestly found it depressing. This is one novel that will come down to a matter of personal taste. If you like dark, twisty reads, this is well-written and well-plotted though it does moves slowly. For me, it didn’t quite work.

3 STARS


I can’t believe it’s the last Tuesday of April already, and somehow I’m still not caught up on sharing my book reviews. I’d love to hear your thoughts on The House Keeper and Possession. Intrigued or pass? As always, happy reading!

47 thoughts on “Book Review Tuesday: The House Keeper by Natalie Barelli, Possession by Katie Lowe #psychologicalthriller #psychologicalfiction #bookreviews

  1. The House Keeper sounds fun, and nothing you said about Possession scares me off from the book. I’d probably roll my eyes at the police thing, and in real life, I’ve known ace professional women who are a mess at home or came from a messed up background, so . . . that actually works for me. Two great reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Priscilla, there have been a lot of great reviews for Possession. I’m probably in the minority with it being so-so for me. It definitely had a lot of great features, so I wish you happy reading. And the House Keeper was a blast!

      Like

  2. The Housekeeper sounds chilling – she’s right there in your home! Taking care of your baby! With the second, I’ve come across books like that where the character’s actions seem inconsistent. When that happens, it’s like the story hits a sandbar for me. Two fab reviews, Mae!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Teri. The House Keeper was definitely a page-turner. I couldn’t put it down. Surprisingly, I read Possession pretty much the same way, but my reactions were different to how everything played out.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mae, I just love your reviews and look forward to them.every week. I read The Housekeeper and absolutely loved it! It pulls you in immediately, from the cover blurb to the end. I may just read it again now! As for Possession, I agree the plot sounds delicious and like one I would read. Dark and twisty doesn’t bother me, so. . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, Maura Beth, you made my day with that comment about my reviews 🙂

      And I’m thrilled to meet another reader who loved The House Keeper as much as I did. Like you said, it really sucks you in.

      If you like dark and twisty, Possession fits the bill. There was a lot I loved about it, just overall, the fit wasn’t ideal for me. Happy reading!

      Like

  4. I’ve been wondering the specifics of how you felt about Possession. I’m so glad you posted it! Definitely valid points and I can see how different approaches to reading the book would definitely have very different outcomes. So sorry you found it depressing 😢. But so glad you found wonderful books like The Housekeeper. It sounds chilling ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tessa, Possession was still a good read. There are parts of it I thought were absolutely brilliant, and the blurb sold me from the moment I saw it. The “fit” just wasn’t right for me. Fortunately, there’s always another book to love and enjoy–like the Housekeeper. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Your response made me realize I read book like a Counselor, which is a vastly different take than someone who isn’t a counselor – like I was busy analyzing the main character not reacting to her choices. Knowing this will improve my communication about books, I think. Thank you ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think your reviews are always well-presented, Tessa. Given your background, it’s possible you could have been viewing the MC that way, but it may also just come down to reader opinion. I know there are books I’ve loved that others have not liked at all. It’s a good thing there is so much variety for us! 🙂

        Like

  5. The Housekeeper sounds like a great read. I will have to check it out. And Barelli is a new author to me. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and I have to agree with everyone else – lots of Hannahs. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. These sound like good books, especially The Housekeeper, but I’ve bought so many suspense books lately after reading your reviews, I’ve overloaded myself. I only occasionally read them, but you make them sound so good, I’m tempted. You do love them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! The Housekeeper was great, but I do tend to devour books of this nature. I’m glad my reviews have tempted you, but I fully understand having an overloaded TBR. It’s so hard keeping up. Whatever you’re reading, Judi, I wish you many enjoyable hour of escape in your Kindle 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great job on the reviews, Mae. I will have to check out Natalie’s books. Sorry to hear that the second one fell a bit flat for you . . . it sounds like it started out well. Interesting that the MC in both was named Hannah.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hannah appears to be a very popular name Mark, LOL.
      The second book did start off with a bang. It was only toward the end that I had issues with it. As for Natalie–she tells an awesome story.
      Thanks so much for checking out the reviews!

      Liked by 1 person

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