The Death of Mrs. Westaway The Death of Mrs. Westaway discussion


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Jennifer Anyone wants to discuss the book? Only if you have read it already or if you don't mind spoilers. What did you think? Comments. Anything bothering you? Something didn't make sense? Let's talk about it here.


Cindy Ehrenreich I finished the book last night & thoroughly enjoyed it. I guessed the twist about who Maud really was & who Hal's father was. The only issue I had was Ezra's character was fully developed. His evilness was never hinted at anywhere in the book & came as a surprise (although I did guess his part in the deaths of the 2 Margaridas) at the end.


Jennifer I read this book last week. I realized they must have switched at some point when Hal went to visit the maid and the maid said Maggie had come to visit and nobody ever heard of her again.

At first I thought the father was Abel, I assumed with him being gay that would be the reason why he wanted nothing to do with Maggie and the baby. And then the fact he was so protective of Edward.

At one point I also though if there could be any type of incestuous relationship between Maud and one of her brothers.

Another thing it left me thinking, was Mrs. Warren just a housekeeper or was her relationship with the old Mrs. Westaway romantic? I loved the similarities and allusion to Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Mrs. Warren seems to be loosely based on Mrs. Denvers.


Jessica I just finished the audiobook and I didn't really like the narrator so that kind of turned me off of the story itself. I didn't think it was as good as the other 2 that I read by her (In a Dark, Dark, Wood & Woman in Cabin 10) but I appreciate how the main characters all seemed to be written differently. I felt that there wasn't much that really happened in this one...however if I was actually reading it, it would've gone much faster. That's the trade off sometimes in my opinion...too many books to actually sit and read!


Darlene Hurley I liked the book, but for one thing I couldn't understand why after driving over 3 hrs in the storm, they turned around and went back for the night? And why didn't Hal move into one of the normal bedrooms?


Janine I was confused by the end. Was her real mother the cousin? Did the sister raise her?


Critter Janine wrote: "I was confused by the end. Was her real mother the cousin? Did the sister raise her?"

I believe that it was the cousin who was Hal’s real mother. The sister took her place when she didn’t come home and raised Hal.


Critter I really enjoyed this book even though it was a bit predictable at times. It had just enough twists to keep me interested and wanting to know more. The characters were all really intriguing, and the atmosphere was really great. There just didn’t seem to be enough of a buildup for Ezra as the villain.


Janine Thank you. That is what I thought but want to confirm. I thought it was interesting but too dragged out at times. I was think of trying the girl in cabin 10 but it got mixed reviews


Critter I haven’t yet read the Girl in Cabin 10, but I have enjoyed all of the other books I’ve read by Ware so far. Many don’t enjoy how much Ware tends to drag out her novels. The Lying Game was very slow paced while the rest of her books, such as the Death of Mrs. Westaway and in a Dark, Dark Wood, have had a bit of a faster pace to them than the Lying Game, but the novels all tend to drag on.


Elizabeth I agree with three points that others have made: there was no reason to suspect the villain until it was an established fact, it drove me nuts that Hal remained in that bedroom after she suspected that someone was trying to do her harm, and the very idea of driving so long and far in a blinding snowstorm. I would like to add that I also found it ridiculous that those adult children accepted such poor behavior from Mrs. Warren.


message 12: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Johnstone What confused me was when she saw the picture that Abel gave her and she was shocked to see "Maggie"...so she was looking at Maud? Because she was way too young when the real Maggie left and would have only remembered Maud. Right? I thought that was weird.
And did Edward give her sleeping pills? Nothing came of that. And she couldn't move into another bedroom? Couldn't get the lightbulb replaced during the day? Overall wasn't really impressed with this book. So many questions.


message 13: by Cindy (last edited Aug 28, 2018 05:27AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cindy Ehrenreich Michelle wrote: "What confused me was when she saw the picture that Abel gave her and she was shocked to see "Maggie"...so she was looking at Maud? Because she was way too young when the real Maggie left and would ..."

She was shocked to see Maggie because at that point she had no idea that
her mother was related to the Westaways. She thought the lawyer made a mistake when he contacted he about the inheritance.


message 14: by Chelsea (new)

Chelsea I adored this book but I have one major issue that's messing with my head, I'm hoping someone can explain this.
So, Hal recieves the photo with 'Maggie' and 'Maud' both in it, she's looking at Maggie as a young girl believing that's her mum/the woman who raised her. Firstly, would she not recognise that Maud was the woman who raised her?
Next, she's looking at 'Maggie' in the photo the whole time, and states that Maggie is looking out at the photographer, then there's a part after she realises Maggie is dead and Maud was the mother she knew where she looks back at the photo and says her mum was looking at Ezra in the photo..
So.. The photo changed? The whole time Maggie has been looking out at the photographer but now she's looking over at Ezra?
Please clear this up, my head is going to explode.


Cindy Ehrenreich Chelsea wrote: "I adored this book but I have one major issue that's messing with my head, I'm hoping someone can explain this.
So, Hal recieves the photo with 'Maggie' and 'Maud' both in it, she's looking at Magg..."


She's actually looking at Maud, who she thinks is Maggie. Ezra was the photographer so yea she was looking at the photographer & Ed.


message 16: by Chelsea (new)

Chelsea But when she is given the photo she points at Maggie and asks who she is and asks about her. She's not looking at Maud because they would have said "that's our sister."


Cindy Ehrenreich Chelsea wrote: "But when she is given the photo she points at Maggie and asks who she is and asks about her. She's not looking at Maud because they would have said "that's our sister.""

I think they assumed she was pointing at Maggie, because why would she ask about her own mother.


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

I really liked the book, and I couldn't stop reading it but I hated the end. I didn't like the thing about the pictures, first Abel show her the pic and she recognizes Maggie as her mom, and asks for her. But later she saw pictures and recognizes Maud? It doesn't makes sense.

I was surprised about Ezra being the father, and I liked because I didn't see it coming but his character wasn't very developed, so...

About Mrs. Warren, I was expecting her to have a big secret or something, because of how she was a bitch to everyone. But nope.


message 19: by Lori (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori Michael Johnson I enjoyed the book. Felt like I was playing a game of Clue. It wasn't perfect but a fun read. Felt the same about The Lying Game though it was a bit darker. Really enjoyed the Woman In Cabin 10 and I plan to read In A Dark Dark Wood. I like Ruth Ware. She really drags you along guessing until the very end.


message 20: by James (new)

James I found it unnecessarily confusing for all the reasons listed above. Which "mother" is Hal talking about throughout the book? She seems to switch back and forth. Is she the product of rape? Incest? Both?

Mrs. Westaway is an ok book. Free from the library, so, ok.


message 21: by Lori (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori Michael Johnson I agree it was confusing James. I felt that she was misleading us intentionally but I was able to put it together before the end. I actually took out a paper and pen and wrote down the clues because I was also getting confused. I love an occasional novel like that but I certainly have to be in the mood for it. I was really in the mood for it so that is probably why I enjoyed it so much.


Deenya I knew I was confused by the end of the book but then my mom read it, was also confused, and now I understand it even less. I thought Ezra was actually Mrs. Warren's son!


message 23: by JO (new) - rated it 1 star

JO I did not like this book at all. I found it repetitive, boring and contrived. I was so sick of hearing the thoughts in Hal's head 'why this and why that' over and over again. I found the writing immature too. I got the feeling because the author got some recognition for The Girl In Cabin 10, she yanked this manuscript out that she wrote when she was 16 and dusted it off and made some updates and got it out there as fast as possible.


message 24: by Laura (new)

Laura Stenburg I enjoyed reading this book but felt disapointed and confused at the end. What was up with Mrs Warren? Are we to assume Ezra was her son. Was the relationship incestuous, He killed them... ....,...because??? What the heck?


Jennifer Laura, thanks for bringing up the incest part. That was my first thought when I read the book but that idea did not seem to be shared by many. At least I haven’t seen any posts or reviews pointing in that direction, but I too found it confusing and incest was the first thing I thought about as an explanation


Eunice R. I'm a very mood-driven reader, so I'm going to allow myself the disclaimer that maybe I wasn't in the mood, but I didn't like this book at all. I was confused, and eh, lost interest. :(


David Portas I have just read this book in one sitting, as I couldn't put to down. Yes I agree there was some annoying behaviour - like why didn't Hal claim benefits after her mum died to help ends mee ?t, how did she pay for the train back to brighton when she had no cash ?. But the really confusing thing is the 'eye colour'. Maggie is her real paternal mother but Maud brought her up. So she should have the eye colour of Maud, not Maggie. Yet at the end she says she has her mothers dark eyes. If she is referring to the woman who brought her up, then this is not true, as that was Maud, not her real mum. But overall I loved the book and haddent guessed it was Ezra.


message 28: by LIZ (new)

LIZ How could Hal think this could work. That they would just turn over her inheritance without taking a DNA test?


message 29: by LIZ (new)

LIZ Joni wrote: "I did not like this book at all. I found it repetitive, boring and contrived. I was so sick of hearing the thoughts in Hal's head 'why this and why that' over and over again. I found the writing im..."

Mystery solved. I think you’re right. No mention of DNA and she was dependent on the credit card going through with no money on the card.


message 30: by The Reading (last edited Dec 07, 2018 12:06PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

The Reading Lumberjack Jessica wrote: "I just finished the audiobook and I didn't really like the narrator so that kind of turned me off of the story itself. I didn't think it was as good as the other 2 that I read by her (In a Dark, Da..."

Imogen Church has narrated all three of those books. I think she's great!


message 31: by Laura (new)

Laura J Laura wrote: "I enjoyed reading this book but felt disapointed and confused at the end. What was up with Mrs Warren? Are we to assume Ezra was her son. Was the relationship incestuous, He killed them... ....,......"

Laura, I wondered the same thing! They describe Maggie as a "distant cousin". Doesn't that imply incest nonetheless? I can't believe that wasn't even mentioned. I LOVED the book until she finds the photo album then it went downhill. I still liked it all and all but the ending was a letdown.


Charlotte  I think this is Ruth Ware's best book yet. I count the big old house as a character in this book and was intrigued by it. I wanted to draw a floor plan.


message 33: by Lori (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori Michael Johnson Charlotte wrote: "I think this is Ruth Ware's best book yet. I count the big old house as a character in this book and was intrigued by it. I wanted to draw a floor plan."

I enjoyed it too Charlotte. I felt like I was playing a game of Clue.


Maarten The only problem for me is that Hal describes her mother (Maud) as a complete copy of herself when looking at the photograph for the first time which means they look almost identical. When Maud and Hal isn’t actually mother and daughter, how is that possible?


Danielle Donah The relationship between Ezra and Maggie wouldn't have technically been incest if she was a distant cousin like Abel stated, still not morally right but technically legal. Though some parts were confusing, especially the photo. But if you go back knowing the end and reread it becomes pretty clear. Hal never points at the photo, she simply said "who is the other girl," so obviously Abel would think she was talking about his cousin not his sister.
I thought this books was incredible. There were so many obvious clues hidden throughout, and then there were clues that threw the reader on a whole different path, and they were put there to do exactly that, and that would be what the conversation wigt Abel about the photo was.


Diana Maud is Ezra's twin sister which is why I would assume they look so much alike. And ezra has the same deep dark eyes Hal does.


message 37: by Donnalee (new)

Donnalee Clubb Why did Ezra feel the need to keep the fact he got his distant cousin pregnant a secret? It looks like he had nothing to gain from killing his cousin (mother of his daughter) and twin sister.


Patsy Laura wrote: "I enjoyed reading this book but felt disapointed and confused at the end. What was up with Mrs Warren? Are we to assume Ezra was her son. Was the relationship incestuous, He killed them... ....,......"
Ezra couldn't have been her son unless Maud was her daughter; they were twins. Nobody ever contested Maud and Ezra's parentage.


Patsy Maarten wrote: "The only problem for me is that Hal describes her mother (Maud) as a complete copy of herself when looking at the photograph for the first time which means they look almost identical. When Maud and..."
At that point, she thought Maud was the blonde and Maggie was the brunette. She only knew one woman, Maud, who she thought was Maggie.


Shanté Maud brought Hal up.
Maud has dark hair and dark eyes.
Maud is Ezra’s twin
Maud is Hesta’s daughter.
Maud is the independent girl.
Maud gave up everything to raise Hal.
Maud stepped in and became Maggie.

Maggie is Hal’s biological mother.
Maggie has blonde hair and blue eyes.
Maggie is a distant cousin.
Maggie is Hesta’s niece.
Maggie wrote the diary.
Maggie used to play with tarot cards.

So here are all my questions/thoughts:
Is Hal just an idiot? She pretends that the blonde haired girl is her mother, which doesn’t make sense. She’s looking at Ezra and her mother(Maud) and seeing how alike they look and is thinking ‘well that’s my mum who looks like Ezra, so she must be his sister and never told me’. When looking at the photo, she should have been more surprised to see how alike her mother(Maud) and Ezra look, than she was to see her mother(Maud) in general.
Am I crazy? Am I missing something?

They know Maggie(bio-mother) used to play with tarot cards so why does no one say anything? Or even see the similarity? Seems so stupid.

Mrs. Warren says she wasn’t certain that Hal wasn’t Maud’s daughter, which is a LIE. Why? There’s NO reason for her to lie. So I’m left to assume it’s not a lie.
But That Doesn’t Make Sense!
ALL of her actions, before and after saying that, suggest she knows EXACTLY who Hal is.

Where did this weak killer in Ezra come from? He sure does hide it very well, because it came out of no where. He’s so bored with pretense and is so calm about everything. He makes very calculated choices without revealing anything. He is smart. Smart enough to think his brothers would sell the house and they could find the bodies he’d hidden, so he wants Hal to take the inheritance.
But then he becomes this weak killer who gets pissed about money, and makes stupid choices? His character doesn’t really make sense. It could have been a really interesting twist if it had made any sense.


Lilithanne Was Mrs. Warren killed or did she accidentally fall to her death?


message 42: by Critter (last edited May 04, 2019 05:45PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Critter Lilithanne wrote: "Was Mrs. Warren killed or did she accidentally fall to her death?"

Mrs. Warren was killed by Ezra. It wasn't really clear on how he killed her, but they did confirm that her death wasn't an accident. I think it was because she was trying to warn Hal about him.



Angie Fricke Something mentioned in the book regarding Hal's birth parents has been on my mind. Maggie is Hal's mom. Ezra is Hal's dad. It was also revealed that Maggie and Ezra were cousins. Would it be safe to assume that Hal is a product of incest? There was no mention about this. I had thought at first when Hal broke into Mrs. Warren's quarters and saw all the framed pictures of Ezra, that perhaps it was going to be eluded to that Mrs. Warren was Ezra's mother.


Critter Angie wrote: "Something mentioned in the book regarding Hal's birth parents has been on my mind. Maggie is Hal's mom. Ezra is Hal's dad. It was also revealed that Maggie and Ezra were cousins. Would it be safe t..."

I think it's safe to assume that Hal is a product of incest. The book was full of plot holes, so it was never truly covered over why Mrs. Warren had so many pictures of Ezra in her quarters. The only reason provided for the pictures and for Mrs. Warren seeming to only like Ezra was that he was the favorite child.


message 45: by Ally (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ally I only have one question after finishing this book- why didn't Maggie just come out and tell Mrs. Westaway who the father was? Ezra was not evil during that part of the book. What did I miss?


Barbi Clifton So confusing! Why didn’t Ware’s editor point out all the holes in this story? How can Hal look at a picture of Maud and Maggie and say, wait...the woman I thought was my mother (Maggie) is actually Maud. How does she not get that?? Especially when Maud and Ezra are twins.


message 47: by Carrie (new)

Carrie I’m glad I’m not the only one confused by the ending. One of my many questions is how did Mitzi and Abel come to a complete understanding of everything before they visited Hal in the hospital?


message 48: by Valwrite (new)

Valwrite I am so glad to read this whole thread. I just finished the book and had most all of these questions being brought up. Huge holes, huge questions. I kind of came to the conclusions of everyone about who, what and where but it was all very confusing for sure.


Kimberly I read this book a few months. I couldn't put it down. I had so many things going through my mind on what might happen. and I was floored at the ending. Amazing writing. Ruth Ware kept my attention through out the whole book.


Wendy Percival I’m so glad, having read the various discussion comments about this book, that I wasn’t imagining it when I was confused by Hal’s reaction to seeing “her mother” in the photograph, once the truth was revealed. I did wonder if the author had initially had a different ending in mind but when she changed it, failed to go back and check that the rest of the story fitted the new direction, inadvertently leaving the anomaly in place to baffle us! It really ought to have been picked up in the editing process.


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