Review: The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House by Stephanie Lam

Mystery with a capital M
Mystery with a capital M

Published by Penguin, 28 August 2014, 512 pages, £7.99

Quick description: Mystery and romance novel, set in two different time periods, will leave you HOOKED.

Steam?: Some intense moments.

Plot: It’s 1965 and eighteen year-old Rosie Churchill has run away to the beautiful but run-down Castaway House in the seaside town of Helmstone. But when she uncovers a scandal locked away in the walls of the old house, she soon comes to realise that neither her own troubled past nor that of the house will stay buried for long. . .

In 1924 fresh-faced Robert Carver comes to Castaway House to spend a languid summer in the company of his much wealthier cousin, Alec Bray. But the Brays are a damaged family, with damaging secrets. And little does Robert know that his world is about to change for ever.

As Rosie begins to learn more about Robert, the further she is drawn into the mysterious history of the house, and their stories, old and new, entwine.

Like with my previous review of Coco’s Secret by Niamh Greene, I have been revisiting the old book shelf and seeing what has been left behind. Many books that I have currently lined up for me won’t be published till June so I need to do some filling in the meantime. But Castaway provides pretty good filling.

This novel is BRILLIANT and it got me so HOOKED. I don’t want to say too much about the plot in case of spoilers, because the mystery pretty much kicks in on page one. If you want a well-written mystery that deepens with every page and some romance splashed in, trust me blindly and get it. I would recommend an eBook version, because its quite a thick book and I hated leaving it behind during my commute.

The chapters alternates between the two protagonists; Rosie in the 60s, Robert in the 20s, and one place, Castaway House. Rosie is a young women who is trying to piece together her life after a terrible incident which has left her confused and frightened. Robert is also young and naive, with little knowledge of love and desire. As he immerses himself into the Bray’s troubling issues, Rosie starts piecing together the end of his story and discovering the start of her own.

I loved how the author entwined the time zones together in a fluid motion. The mystery is teased out gradually, but not in an aggravating pace. The reader gets enough to be curious and craving more till the end. I also loved how well the author captures the youth of the Rosie and Robert; the vulnerability, the awkwardness, the energy and the daring strength. There were certainly some passionate moments to get snared in. Great detail had also gone into the secondary characters, and they are more significant than at first glance. (wink)

The revelations are surprising, and the issues are resolved in unexpected ways. Rest assured, you will not have typical ending. You will, hopefully as I have, face more mysteries in terms of the enigma and ever underestimated power of love.

Connect with the author: @StephanieLam1

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