Title: The Perfect Guests
Author: Emma Rous
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: January 12, 2021
The USA Today bestselling author of The Au Pair returns with another delicious, twisty novel–about a grand estate with many secrets, an orphan caught in a web of lies, and a young woman playing a sinister game.
1988. Beth Soames is fourteen years old when her aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall, a rambling manor in the isolated East Anglian fens. The Averells, the family who lives there, are warm and welcoming, and Beth becomes fast friends with their daughter, Nina. At times, Beth even feels like she’s truly part of the family…until they ask her to help them with a harmless game–and nothing is ever the same.
2019. Sadie Langton is an actress struggling to make ends meet when she lands a well-paying gig to pretend to be a guest at a weekend party. She is sent a suitcase of clothing, a dossier outlining the role she is to play, and instructions. It’s strange, but she needs the money, and when she sees the stunning manor she’ll be staying at, she figures she’s got nothing to lose.
In person, Raven Hall is even grander than she’d imagined–even with damage from a fire decades before–but the walls seem to have eyes. As day turns to night, Sadie starts to feel that there’s something off about the glamorous guests who arrive, and as the party begins, it becomes chillingly apparent their unseen host is playing games with everyone…including her.
1988: Beth is a fourteen-year-old orphan who is sent to live at Raven Hall with a family who also has a fourteen-year-old daughter. The girls quickly become friends and do everything together. Then one day everything changes when the parents ask Beth to dress up as their daughter.
2019: Sadie is a struggling actress. When she’s invited to work at a murder mystery party for a weekend, she can’t resist the good paycheck. She’s given instructions and costumes to wear. However, the clues that she’s given seem to get more personal as the party goes on. Sadie starts to wonder if there’s a reason all of these guests were brought together at Raven Hall for the party.
I love it when the setting of a story becomes a character. Raven Hall was important in both narratives. It seemed to take on a life of its own, in the way that it drew people in and wouldn’t let go. The area of England where this story was set, called The Fens, has an interesting history which was explained at the end of the book. This damp, marshy land added to the suspense of the story.
This was such a suspenseful story. I couldn’t put it down, but I also didn’t want it to end so soon. I could have easily read it in one sitting. I highly recommend this thriller!
Thank you Berkeley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
The Au Pair by Emma Rous
The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
Have you read The Perfect Guests? What did you think of it?