Latest from the Wellbeing Reading Group

So what did we all think about The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle?

Despite being a best seller and winner of the Costa First Novel Award in 2018 most of us felt this clever novel didn’t quite keep us guessing until the end or live up to its glowing reviews.

We appreciated the complexity of the story and concept of the book – the main character wakes each day as a different inhabitant of a crumbling country pile, from a butler to a Lord, trapped within atmospheric Blackheath until they solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle. Everything comes clear towards the end of the book as the Plague Doctor reveals more to Aiden and the purpose of intimidating Blackheath.

At 500+ pages it was described as a bit of a slog. Some of us failed to start – hearts sinking at the sight of a chart of characters – others gave up or skipped several chapters. A few enjoyed the book, describing it as “a kaleidoscope of twists and turns with characters within characters (literally) double guessing each other throughout as the story unfolds”. A couple of the group were a little disappointed by the ending and irritated by the “damsel in distress” aspect.

We liked how the author slowly revealed more about each host character and their back story. Ravencourt was a surprising favourite host character –possibly as he was more strategic in trying to solve the murder. Maybe we are an impatient group but as with Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library where the main character has several lives we felt there was one host too many in The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.

Many of us felt it was written for film or drama so were pleased to learn a seven part series is in the making but intrigued how the hosting of different characters will be portrayed.

We also warmed to the author whose inspiration who credits childhood neighbour Doris with his love of books, especially the novels of Agatha Christie whose inspiration is evident in this novel. We look forward to the series and Stuart Turton’s next book.

Celebrating Black History Month

Our next lunchtime meeting will be on Thursday 7th October 12.30-13.00 when the Wellbeing Reading Group is inviting all staff to join our meeting  to discuss books by black and ethnic minority authors. Come along and tell us about your favourite book by a BAME author, one that made you think, changed your mind, made you laugh out loud… we want to hear from you.

If you’d like to pick up a book to read this month, we have copies of Black Buck by  Mateo Askaripour to give away. Don’t worry if you haven’t read it by the meeting, we’d love to hear about other books you’ve read that tie in to Black History Month.

Happy reading and look forward to seeing everyone in October.