Today I’m sharing my thoughts on The Long Weekend by Gilly Macmillan. My thanks to publisher Penguin for the advance copy of the book for review and to Isabelle Ralphs for the blog tour invite. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
By the time you read this, I’ll have killed one of your husbands.
In an isolated retreat, deep in the Northumbria moors, three women arrive for a weekend getaway.
Their husbands will be joining them in the morning. Or so they think.
But when they get to Dark Fell Barn, the women find a devastating note that claims one of their husbands has been murdered. Their phones are out of range. There’s no internet. They’re stranded. And a storm’s coming in.
Friendships fracture and the situation spins out of control as each wife tries to find out what’s going on, who is responsible and which husband has been targeted.
This was a tight-knit group. They’ve survived a lot. But they won’t weather this. Because someone has decided that enough is enough.
That it’s time for a reckoning.
It’s been a while since I picked up a book by Gilly Macmillan but The Long Weekend was a good place to start again. Rich in tension, atmosphere and mystery, this book will have you thinking twice before accepting that weekend away with friends, no matter how close you are. Except … someone is missing from this planned weekend, someone who it appears is plotting a little fun of their own.
I’m not going to lie, the three central characters in this book, at least those we spend time with, Jayne, Ruth and Emily, aren’t the easiest of people to like. Jayne is very direct, forthright, and has her own agenda for the weekend, one she hasn’t shared with any of the others. New mum, Ruth, is struggling with the weight of her job, her family and a clear case of depression that is driving her to drink. As for Emily, the youngest and newest member of this select group of friends, her timidity and inability to manage without the safety net of husband, Paul, could get a little grating. Even though Ruth and Jayne had a stronger bond, forged over a longer time of knowing each other and being part of a wider group of friends, there was a sense of conflict there, of them not being entirely compatible. Certainly none of the women were honest with each other, about their feelings or their circumstances. And yet all three women were authentic, believable, and I found myself invested in their stories and their fates, compelled to read on, even if only to find our which one of their lives was going to be torn apart.
This story is told across two intersecting timelines. One focuses on the remote holiday cottage in which the three women find themselves stranded as a vicious storm closes in around them. The setting itself, deep in the. Northumberland countryside, would be atmospheric enough without the inclement weather, the isolation adding to the tension and amplifying the sense of helplessness of the women, especially Emily. Add in some very strange happenings, and history of the story, a kind of local lore attached to the land, and the scene is set for an unsettling time. The speculation over who is in danger just adds to the growing conflict between the women, and circumstance conspire to make their night on the moors truly unforgettable.
The second element to this book, the one in which the plot against these friends becomes clear, is in its own way unsettling. A tale of obsession that proves to be deadly. Because these scenes, this slow and creepy reveal, are interspersed with the scene at the farmhouse, we are able to build a much clearer picture of what is happening, even if the person responsible remains just out of sight until nearly the end of the novel. The pool of suspects is finite, but there is still a level of uncertainty over it all. There are also scenes which are skin crawlingly creepy, ones that set the nerves on edge, but not for the reasons you may be thinking.
Did I have a suspicion as to who was behind it all? Maybe. Was I expecting the full extent of the revelations? Definitely not – the author keeps the twists and turns coming just enough to keep the full picture from forming until the perfect moment. Told through multiple points of view, you can really feel the intensity build and the slow descent into a kind of madness consume them all in turn. A perfect read for fans of the psychological thriller.
About the Author
Gilly Macmillan is the internationally bestselling author of What She Knew, The Perfect Girl, Odd Child Out, I Know You Know, The Nanny, and To Tell You the Truth. She resides in Bristol, England.
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