BOOK REVIEW: The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House by Stephanie Lam

It's 1965 and eighteen year old Rosie Churchill has run away to the beautiful  but run-down Castaway House in the sea-side town of Helmstone. But when she uncovers a scandal locked away in the walls of the old house, she 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 forever.
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.

Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 504

The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House is Stephanie Lam's first book and it is a corker. At 504 pages, it is a book that you can really get your teeth into; the writing is extremely alluring and I was quickly engrossed in the events at Castaway House.
Stephanie Lam flits between the two main characters, Rosie Churchill in 1965 and Robert Carver in 1924. I really enjoyed having both a male and female narrator; it very clearly defined the two time periods of the book.
Rosie has run away from home and is hiding away in Castaway House. The house has been converted into now decaying flats but Rosie can see how beautiful the house must have been. Rosie has several secrets of her own but she discovers that her new home has many skeletons in the cupboard. As she begins investigating, Rosie uncovers scandals and secrets from the past that are still affecting those in the present.
Robert Carver spent the Summer of 1924 at Castaway House. It belonged to his wealthy cousin Alec Bray and Robert is looking forward to spending time with Alec and taking advantage of the sea air. However, upon his arrival, Robert is shocked to discover that Alec has taken a wife. Clara Bray is a glamorous and mysterious character. She has brought many secrets to the house and Castaway seems to be full of scandal and damaged relationships. Robert's Summer at Castaway House is not what he expected at all and it will alter his future forever,
The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House is an enticing andMy Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier on several occasions.
mysterious read. Although the story is different, I felt that it reminded me of
I found both parts of the story interesting and I felt that Stephanie Lam tied them together very well. She lays down very subtle clues throughout the story and I enjoyed working out what had happened and how the characters were linked. Not that this book is predictable, the twists at the end took me completely by surprise and provided an excellent ending.
I very much hope that Stephanie Lam will write more books and I urge you to read her brilliant debut.

Many thanks to Katie at Penguin for sending me a review copy, The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House is out now. 


Nadia said...

This book sounds so good! It sounds like the perfect book to curl up with this winter :) I love the dual perspectives from different time periods - sounds like it adds a richness to the location and story. I can't wait to read it! Great post, Dot!!

Cleopatra Loves Books said...

I really enjoyed this one too - the time periods chosen were excellent

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

I'm not familiar with the book or author, but it sounds terrific with the dual perspectives.

Kim said...

This book sounds excellent and if it made you think of My Cousin Rachel, then it is definitely one for my (ever-growing) wish list. Thanks for a great review, Dot!

Dot said...

Nadia- Thanks lovely, I think you should definitely read this!

Cleo- It was good wasn't it, I enjoyed both time frames.

Holly- It's her debut but I thought it was excellent!

Kim- Thank you lovely lady, It's a really good read!

Karen said...

A great review,thanks for sharing. I have this waiting on my Kindle and am looking forward to it.

jessicabookworm said...

I love Daphne du Maurier and I like the sound of this too.

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