Wednesday 6 October 2021

The Whistling by Rebecca Netley BLOG TOUR @Rebecca_Netley @MichaelJBooks @ellamwatkins #TheWhistling #BookReview


Alone in the world, Elspeth Swansome takes the position of nanny to a family on the remote Scottish island of Skelthsea.

Her charge, Mary, hasn't uttered a word since the sudden death of her twin, William - just days after their former nanny disappeared.

No one will speak of what happened to William. Just as no one can explain the hypnotic lullabies sung in empty corridors. Nor the strange dolls that appear in abandoned rooms. Nor the faint whistling that comes in the night . . .

As winter draws in and passage to the mainland becomes impossible, Elspeth finds herself trapped.

But is this house haunted by the ghosts of the past?


The Whistling by Rebecca Netley is published on 14 October 2021 by Penguin Michael Joseph. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review, as part of this Blog Tour 

The Whistling is the perfect read for the halloween month of October.  Atmospheric, tense and really quite dark, it's the sort of story that pulls the reader in, takes them on a twisted and eerie journey and leaves them with a feeling of huge satisfaction at the end.

It's the year 1860 and young Elspeth Swansome leaves Edinburgh to take a live-in nanny position on the remote isle of Skelthsea. Her charge, Mary has not spoken since the day that her twin brother William died. The children were orphans, losing their mother not long before William's death. Their father died years ago and Mary is in the care of her spinster Aunt. 

Elspeth bears her own sorrows, her own tragic past is slowly revealed throughout the story and adds an edge to this gothic chiller. 

If The Whistling were a film, it would be one of those movies that is made up of creepy shots, set in dark rooms with corners that hide secrets. This story has all the ingredients that make up a chilling ghost story, with unexplained whisperings,  strange dolls that suddenly appear and of course, the whistling noise that haunts Elspeth.

It becomes clear that the local people have much to hide, with Elspeth beginning to fear, and suspect many of them. Who knows who she can trust? What really happened to the children's previous Nanny, and was William really quite as evil in life as is reported to Elspeth?

At times, the story is quite a slow mover, but the author takes great care in her creation of character and place. The darkness of the story matches the bleakness of the setting and the sense of place is outstanding. 

Beautifully written and wonderfully crafted, The Whistling is a story best enjoyed as you are tucked up safely, out of the wind and the rain, and preferably with the lights on!  Recommended by me.

Rebecca Netley grew up as part of an eccentric family in a house full of books and music, and these things have fed her passions.

Family and writing remain at the heart of Rebecca's life. She lives in Reading with her husband, sons and an over-enthusiastic dog, who gives her writing tips.

The Whistling is Rebecca Netley's debut novel and won the Exeter Novel Prize.

Twitter @Rebecca_Netley

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