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The Caretakers

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  4,757 ratings  ·  486 reviews
In the isolated estate she’s found the perfect getaway. But there’s no escaping the past in this chilling novel from the bestselling author of The Unremembered Girl.

Filmmaker Tessa Shepherd helped free a man she believed was wrongly imprisoned for murder. When he kills again, Tessa’s life is upended.

She’s reeling with guilt, her reputation destroyed. Worse, Tessa’s mother
Paperback, 318 pages
Published April 14th 2020 by Lake Union Publishing
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Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: The screams have long since died away. The bloodstains, like the memories, have faded with time, obscured beneath a fine layer of dust. Mildew creeps along the peeling floral wallpaper. The window frames are soft with rot.

A skylight of colored glass softly illuminates the slow and steady decay. Once, laughter filled the spaces between the tired walls. Running feet and mother's hugs and whispers under cover at night. Hearts beat, as hearts do, then broke, then beat again. Until they did
Tessa Shepherd is a documentary film maker that gains notoriety when she helps free a man that she believes has been wrongly convicted of murder only to find out that a year after his release he has killed again. Now her world has come crashing down around her.

Meanwhile her mother has passed away. This brings her back together with her estranged sister, Margo. Upon the reading of the will it is discovered that their mother had been adopted and that the Fallbrook estate that her birth family onc
Lori Lamothe
Though I've been a gothic fiction junkie for years, The Caretakers is the first Eliza Maxwell novel I've read. This suspenseful, intricately plotted novel weaves together multiple interrelated storylines more seamlessly than I would have expected, considering the number of characters and events involved.

The present-day chapters focus primarily on documentary filmmaker Tessa Shepherd's attempt to escape the media circus surrounding the meltdown of her most famous subject: the wrongly convicted O
Aug 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of modern thrillers with familial themes & gothic vibes
Recommended to jade by: Shannon { Library Girl Reading }
“what happened here, kitty?” her voice is soft now. a voice for a church service. but no one would worship at this house.
“a family came to an end.”

in this modern thriller with some gothic vibes, a documentary filmmaker is faced with the effects of her latest release. while a family secret is occupying her mind, the guy she got out of jail with one of her docus seems to have taken up killing... and the press are having a field day with it.

this was an entertaining read! modern thriller
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
3-4 stars.

The Caretakers has two seemingly unconnected storylines. The first is that of Tessa Shepherd a TV documentary maker and how her life unravels 18 months after making a programme about the false imprisonment of Oliver Barlow. The second concerns the caretakers of Fallwood House, elderly sisters Kitty and Deirdre Donnelly. Fallwood is now very dilapidated and has not been lived in since a terrible event happened there many years ago. What unfolds is a dramatic collision between past and
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, kindle
 Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an e-galley in exchange for an honest review.

Tessa Shepherd, documentary filmmaker seems to be handling success fairly well even if her family life is a mess. Her recent true crime documentary helped an innocent man finally find justice and it has spurred other fantastic projects. But within six months a new nightmare begins and reports begin to surface that possibly Tessa has actually unleashed a monster back into society.

At the same time, Te
Louise Wilson
Apr 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Tessa is a filmmaker who went out of her way to get an Innocent man freed. But now it looks like he's killed again. Tessa and her sister Margot inherited Fallwood, a crumbling and creepy house. Derdrie and Kitty are the caretakers of the house. They are two elderly sisters who have kept the secret of the house. Tessa and Margot has an unpleasant past. It takes the death of their mother to get them back together.

Thisnstorynis a mixture of historical fiction, mystery and thriller. It tells how the
Joy Perry
Dec 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
#TheCaretakers #NetGalley

This book is for the most part about two pairs of sisters: Tessa and Margot Shepard, and Deirdre and Kitty Donnelly. The story pulled me in initially after Tessa, a filmmaker, makes a film about a man, Oliver, who was wrongly convicted of murder, and spent over a decade in prison due to police mishandling of the case. Her film resulted in the man getting released from prison. A police chief, DI Winters, has always believed he put away the right man. Eighteen months later
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, netgalley
*4.5 stars

Tessa Shephard is a documentary filmmaker, who finds herself in the spotlight when she helps release a murderer. She believed he was innocent until something happens to dispute that. So after the unaccepted death of her mother, she finds that her mom was keeping some secrets from her daughters. Trying to find somewhere to hide, she goes to a house that was kept secret from her family. However, she only finds more mystery and secrets. This had two timelines: Tessa's current situation a
Izabella (Pages Full of Stars)
"Once, laughter filled the spaces between the tired walls. Running feet and mother's hugs and whispers under covers at night. Hearts beat, as hearts do, then broke, then beat again."

The Caretakers by Eliza Maxwell is a suspense novel about human tragedy and family ties, that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Tessa Shepherd is a dedicated filmmaker and her recent production helped to free a man who she believed to be wrongly convicted. However, when suddenly he kidnaps and kills a you
**ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review**

I have read every book that Eliza Maxwell has published, and I am a big fan of her stories. She just has a way with words and knows how to create a mysterious and creepy atmosphere. You can't help but be sucked in and try to figure out what is going on. I love stories that can keep me guessing until the end, and this was definitely the case with The Caretakers. The story is told from Tessa's, and the caretakers Deidre and Kitty's POV.
Eliza Maxwell
Aug 10, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I'm thrilled to say that THE CARETAKERS will be released in April 2020, and I cannot wait to share it with you all! In the meantime, happy reading everyone, and cheers to a wonderful rest of 2019. All the best. ~Eliza ...more
Thank you so much to Lake Union Press, LSBBT, and the author for providing me with an advanced ecopy in exchange for an honest review.


At its heart, The Caretakers is a novel about choices. Whether it’s the seemingly mundane decisions made throughout our daily lives or the selections that lead to major milestones, our choices matter. And as you’ll see in Maxwell’s twisted tale, each and every choice we make comes with a consequence.

Nov 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, net-galley
I have held off writing this review for days because I just wasn't sure how to rate this. I've settled on 3 stars but I'm still not feeling vetted to it being either higher or lower. Let me explain. Several years ago I read The Grave Tender which, I believe, might be the author's first book. (?) Regardless, that book just blew me away. It was unlike anything I had read in a very, very long time. That book was so beautifully written that I found myself instantly moved to tears by some sentences a ...more
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tessa Shepherd is a successful documentary film-maker, whose programme about Oliver Barlow, a convicted murderer, has seen him released from prison, after fourteen years. Tessa is thrilled that Barlow has been released, but quickly moves on to the next project, ignoring the calls, from him, to her mobile. Eighteen months after the release of the Barlow documentary, she has completed a project on the child sex trade and is in talks with the previous First Lady, for a biopic.

With her professional
I received this from for a review.

Filmmaker Tessa Shepherd helped free a man she believed was wrongly imprisoned for murder. When he kills again, Tessa’s life is upended. A crumbling monument to a gruesome history, the mansion that Tessa and her twin sister inherited has been abandoned by all but two elderly sisters retained as caretakers. They are also guardians of all its secrets.

Nice twist at the end. I like the way this author writes, it's readable and interesting. The mystery
Ayesha (The Fifth Marauder)
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
Absolutely brilliant!

There is a very specific mash of genres that combines psychological thrillers and family dramas, set in a haunting background, that I absolutely adore. They are very difficult to get right, especially when they incorporate killer twists and unreliable characters.
When they do end up being done well, they produce amazing novels like The Thirteenth Tale and Verity. I'm very happy to say, Maxwell absolutely nailed it with The Caretakers.

I can not rave enough about this book, and
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
Well written suspense. It has twists and turns you never seen coming. A fast-flowing book that is very well written and quite enjoyable mystery.
Apr 22, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I want to read this, and I'm scared to read this. ...more
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
First Eliza Maxwell novel, but I intend to read a lot more. I loved the sister bond message throughout the story. The writing and plot were addictive, and you couldn't help but love the characters. Very twisty ending too. ...more
Nikki Joyce
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four stars: The Caretakers was an interesting, layered read that I really enjoyed.

The first few chapters of the book center around young, city-living Tessa, a documentary filmmaker, and her project on a man wrongfully incarcerated for a crime. Suddenly, the next chapter is about an elderly woman living in the woods of Pennsylvania. Wait, what? It threw me off for a bit, but my advice to fellow readers: stay with it. It all comes together, trust me. The chapters continue to alternate, and the st
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely enjoyed this book and one that was full of twists and turns. It is not often that i am able to read a book within a day or two, but on this occasion, i did. The story flowed so well and although i am not going to write what the story is about as i prefer one to read the book for themselves, i can recommend. I shall be looking out for more books by Eliza Maxwell.

My thanks to Netgalley and the Publishers for my copy. This is my honest review, which i have voluntarily given.
Lady Delacour
Sadly, best part
of this story was
not the eyerolling
silly plot but... the
nice book cover.
1 Not for me, Star.
Listened with TTS.
Foul Language.
Jenn Z at That's What She's Reading

This year is churning out some of my best reading experiences! WOW! THIS BOOK! This. book. Upon reading the last sentence of this twisted gem, my brain was left spinning, and my pulse was still pounding. My mind questioned what I had just read, while my heart screamed what are you going to read now? There is so much to unpack within a narrative that at first seems so disparate, yet the masterful storytelling packages everything up into a breathtakingly remarkable literary gift.

While the synopsi
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 - I’m shook 😳
Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews
This is one author that I know will have me on the edge of my seat wondering what new twist will send us to new depths.  This book did not disappoint!

Tessa is struggling with the fact that she helped free a possible killer and the backlash from filming her documentary about his case.  But is he a killer?  There are many signs that point to yes, but just as many that say no as well.  As the story unfolds we learn the truth and a few twists that maybe we should have expected but still surprised th
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it

This was an amazing mystery with quite a bit of suspense. It was plotted to be more of a mystery genre and also historical fiction. There is a dilapidated, crumbling mansion in Pennsylvania where it becomes known to Tessa and her sister after their mother passed away suddenly that makes for the perfect hideaway for Tess. Tess didn't know that her mother was adopted and when she unexpectedly passes away Tess thinks it will be perfect to get away from the unruly media
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2020, arc
*received for free from netgalley for honest review* This was overall a pretty good book, there were characters I didn't really care for but I mean everything came together in the end in a very interesting way lol was more interested in the moms backstory/family story than olivers little hissyfit tho ...more
Apr 10, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

The Caretakers is a dual time narrative moving back and forth from present day to the early 1900s, centreing around a mansion named, ‘Fallbrook’. There is much to appreciate here ... an old run down house surrounded by mystery and intrigue with a startlingly history. Add into that mix sisters and forgiveness, secrets and revenge with an inheritance and this novel has much going for it.

‘Fallbrook. Whatever name it goes by, the house, what’s left of it, and its elderly caretakers, have made a
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
(This review can be found on my blog All the Ups and Downs.)
As soon as I read the synopsis for The Caretakers by Eliza Maxwell, I was instantly hooked. I knew it was a book that I had to read. It's like it was calling out to me saying "read me." What a wild ride The Caretakers had in store for me!

Tessa Shepard made a documentary that helped free a man that she thought was framed for murder. However, when it seems he's killed the police chief's daughter, Tessa's life becomes upended.
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Eliza Maxwell lives in Texas with a patient man, two impatient children and a bird named Sarah. When she's not working on her next novel, she stays busy trying to keep her children from some future therapist's chair.
You can reach her at

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