{Book Review} Girls of Brackenhill

cover of the thriller, Girls of Brackenhill by Kate Moretti

{Book Review} Girls of Brackenhill by Kate Moretti

When Hannah’s aunt dies in a car accident, she returns to the castle where she spent several summers, Brackenhill. Her uncle is on his deathbed and the police cannot decide – was her aunt’s wreck actually an accident or was it intentional? 

The castle and history pull at Hannah’s heart strings, bring up unresolved questions about her family’s past. After 17 years apart, Hannah quickly discovers that she didn’t know much about her aunt and uncle (and their relationship with her own mother). Additionally, being back at Brackenhill stirs memories of the last summer she spent at the castle, the summer her sister disappeared.

Hannah has more questions than answers, and more questions keep popping up. She uncovers another death at Brackenhill, and another missing girl from her childhood. The harder Hannah tries to figure out what happened, the more things don’t make sense. The stress of the situation causes Hannah to sleepwalk. She’s not well rested and the delusions and memories are quickly causing her to become unwound.


In the Acknowledgements, Moretti calls this novel a “soft ghost story,” a term that I’ve never heard before. That being said, I would agree with that description. The book is part mystery and suspense, part ghost story and thriller. It had the potential to be really unsettling and creepy but Moretti kept it conservative (which I appreciated!). The “ghost story” part was really well done – it’s subtle and you question… are there ghosts or are we reading about a woman who is slowly cracking up? Or both? 

While I used to love mysteries and suspense novels, today I gravitate to other genres (historical fiction in particular). I think that the last mystery/suspense novel that I really loved was Broken Genius by Drew Murray – a FBI investigation in Silicon Valley. Girls of Brackenhill pretty quickly grabbed my attention and held it. I enjoyed the mystery but also the magic of the haunted castle. It’s a good story, unique, and fairly fast-paced.

I was also very much emotionally invested in Hannah. She’s a bit tough on the exterior but as I read more and more about her past, I felt really bad for the tough lot in life she was dealt. She was a hot mess, but she felt like an underdog that I was rooting for. 

Girls of Brackenhill is worth a read for anyone who likes mystery novels. If thriller is your thing, it might not be as creepy as others, but I definitely think it’s enjoyable. (Pull it out during a storm or a weekend away at an older house, with creaks and groans, and it’ll totally up the creepy factor!)

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