Sunday 13 February 2022

The House Of Ashes by Stuart Neville | Blog Tour Book Review

[ad/gifted - I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

The House Of Ashes by Stuart Neville
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Zaffre
Publication date: 3rd February 2022

For Sara Keane, it was supposed to be a second chance. A new country. A new house. A new beginning with her husband Damien.

Then came the knock on the door.

Elderly Mary Jackson can't understand why Sara and her husband are living in her home. She remembers the fire, and the house burning down. But she also remembers the children. The children who need her, whom she must protect.

'The children will find you,' she tells Sara, because Mary knows she needs help too. Sara soon becomes obsessed with what happened in that house nearly sixty years ago - the tragic, bloody night her husband never intended for her to discover. And Mary - silent for six decades - is finally ready to tell her story...

Oh wow, I loved this book so much. I am from Belfast so I love reading novels that are set in Northern Ireland. They just feel so familiar to me.

Sara Keane, originally from Bath, moves back to Northern Ireland with her husband Damien after his father Francie Keane manages to buy them 'The Ashes', a house with a lot of land. It was bought outright and has no mortgage so Sara in understandably wary. 

One day, an elderly, dishevelled woman named Mary turns up at the house claiming that it is hers. Damien very quickly apologises to Sara and says she has run away from the care home and he will take her back. Sara questions him about the whole situation but he is very standoffish and vague.

The book is told mostly from the points of view of Sara, currently living in The Ashes and of Mary from when she was a child and living there also. Mary was locked away in a basement with Mummy Joy and Mummy Noreen and they were forced to work on the farm and cook for Daddy Ivan, Daddy Tam and Daddy George.

Mary's chapters are heartbreaking, knowing what the women went through at the hands of the three farmers and I loved the way that it is written in a colloquial style. There are massive parallels with Mary's life under these men and Sara's life now with her controlling husband.

Sara tries to learn as much as she can about what happened at the house that she is now living in. 

Thoroughly recommend - it had me gripped!


A massive thank you to Compulsive Readers for having me on the blog tour. You can find the information for the other bloggers taking part in the tour in the graphic below. 

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