- The Heir of Westmacott Hall, by Gillian St. Kevern
The Heir of Westmacott Hall, by Gillian St. Kevern
Newt Grimshaw lives by the scientific method. His current hypothesis is that transforming his former family home, Westmacott Hall, into a school will:
A) remove him from poverty
B) restore the ruined reputation of his chemist parents, and:
C) silence the rumours connected to Westmacott Hall for good.
But Westmacott Hall contains even more secrets than cobwebs. Someone is determined to prevent Newt from claiming his inheritance—and then Newt witnesses a dead man walking the halls of his family estate.
Alive, Griffin Winsor was determined to destroy the credibility of the Grimshaw name. Sudden death but an end to his campaign—or has his desire for revenge brought him back from beyond the grave? Newt doesn’t believe in ghosts, but Griffin is his only hope of uncovering the truth behind his parents’ tragic deaths.
To make his school a success, Newt must solve the mysteries of Westmacott, or risk becoming a failed experiment himself. As Newt grapples with the facts, will his adherence to science save him—or will Westmacott Hall claim another victim?
The Heir of Westmacott Hall is the brand new offering of the Read by Candlelight series. Despite being the fifteenth book, it still manages to bring new characters, new charm, and new mysteries to the series, without relying on old plots or pathways. Paving the way for an enemies-to-lovers story with a twist, and adding on a scientifically paranormal experience that is reminiscent of Book 2, but still entirely new and engaging.
With Newt such a staunch believer in science vs paranormal, it took me a little time to warm up to him and grow familiar with his motivations. Once I did, I loved him as a main character. He was so set in his ways that when the unexplained occurred, he had a complete crisis of confidence. As a parallel, the irascible Griffin reminded me of Cross, way back in Book 1 – brash, opinionated and refusing to be taken for a fool, he added a counter-balance to Newt that both refreshing and charming.
I won't lie, seeing more of Pip and Cross – especially after the events of the last few books – was like a balm to my soul. This book takes place some time before the last two books, and gave us a reminder of why they're so well suited to each other. I look forward to hearing mention of Westmacott Academy, and its headmasters in future books, even if in passing.
I'll admit, I was a bit surprised that the blurb mentioned the newly deceased Griffin, and yet he didn't die in the book until 20% in. But, seeing him on page before that point let me fall for his charm, and made it all the more important when his ghostly apparitions made an appearance to Newt. Another book I read recently, had this same thing – something mentioned in the blurb that didn't happen until late in the book – but here, I can see the purpose of that and that it's entirely important to the plot as well as relevant to Newt's journey. Including it in the blurb was almost unavoidable.
When it comes to the danger and mystery of the plot, I'll admit that I was convinced that a certain two characters were no-good from the start, but it took some time before I even suspected a third possible culprit. Unable to say who, or what I mean, because I won't risk spoiling the plot, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised by the ending and the resolution to Newt's problem.
And, it really wouldn't be a Read by Candlelight book if there weren't some incredible women in the cast. Nanny and Muriel were astoundingly brilliant, and without them the story would have been missing that final flair of charm and drama that I love so much.
“Either something is wrong with my eyes, or my brain is disordered.”