“When Harriet Westaway receives an unexpected later telling her she’s inherited a substantial estate from her Cornish grandmother, it seems like the answer to her prayers. She owes money to a loan shark and the threats are getting increasingly aggressive : she needs to get her hands on some cash fast. There’s just one problem – Hal’s grandparents died more than twenty years ago. The letter has been sent to the wrong person. But Hal knows that the cold reading techniques she’s honed as a seaside fortune teller could help her con her way to getting the money. If anyone has the skills to turn up at a stranger’s funeral and claim a bequest they’re not entitled to, it’s her. Hal makes a choice that will change her life forever. But once she embarks on her deception, there is no going back. She must keep going or risk losing everything, even her life…”
The book starts with Harriet in her life in Brighton. She lives in a very small flat on the top floor of an old building and she reads tarot cards for tourists from a room on the pier. Harriet, or Hal as she is referred to, is in trouble financially. She struggles to make enough money to pay her bills and at some point in the past has taken a small loan out from a loan shark which is now worth about 100 x more than what she ever borrowed. She has tried to avoid the debt now and is in trouble, being threatened. Aside from the loan threats she receives a letter from a solicitor in Cornwall who informs her that her grandmother has died and that there is an inheritance. She knows that this woman in Cornwall is not her grandmother but is so desperate for the money to pay off this loan that she figures that if she can read people well enough to tell them their futures then she can read this family in Cornwall well enough to convince them that she is the lost granddaughter.
Hal travels down to Cornwall on the train and finds herself in the middle of a large family who have gathered to pay their respects to their mother and grandmother. It seems that this is a messed up family with a lot of hatred for each other. The family all stay at the family house whilst they await the finalisation of the will and start getting to know each other. Does Hal convince them?
I found this a really great read. This is such good writing. I kept turning the pages, kept picking the book up, wanted to know what happened. There was a definite air of Manderley about the family home and I realised that this may well be deliberate when the housekeeper was compared to Mrs Danvers, the scary house-keeper in Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. I’m not a big fan of copying Rebecca which is my favourite book but I have to say that actually this was done really really well and the house was definitely scary and moody. The story was ok I’ll be honest. It ended a bit like a James Patterson tends to end, with me thinking mmm, really, a bit far fetched maybe? But I really enjoyed reading it nevertheless. And I noticed that the hardback is only £5 in Tesco (£5, how mad is that? What sort of money is the author getting when they’re selling the hardback for £5. Crazy!). So if you fancy a book you’ll enjoy reading I would definitely recommend this but don’t blame me about the ending xx