Helena, a humble sweetmaker’s life is about to fall apart as her mother prepares to go to debtor prison. To help, she secures a job as a governess at the mysterious Archfall Manor, a secretive isle estate famed for its celebrated inventors, the Caudwell family. Hoping to restore her own family’s fortunes, she also seeks answers to their misfortunes caused by the family on the island, many years ago.
A Cruel Twist of Fate focuses on Helena, a sweetmaker desperate to save her mother from debtor prison.
In a brazen attempt to restore her family’s fortunes, Helena deceptively applies to be a governess at Archfall Manor, the infamous home of the secretive Caudwell family.
The collection of inventors who live on the isolated isle have many a sinister rumour shrouding them and Helena, quickly becomes ensnared by them.
She works swiftly and secretly, trying to solve the mystery of her own father’s disappearance at the manor in her infancy.
However, as people start to get hurt, she must act quickly to discover the culprit. For her own and the entire household’s safety.
Thrown into the depths of secrets and betrayal
The Gothic mystery thriller has a good pacing and the remote setting is wonderfully sinister. Its beautifully descriptive writing adds to the uneasy feeling of the landscape and characters.
I particularly liked the way H. F. Askwith developed Helena as the protagonist. She is a vivacious and intelligent character who is relentless in her search for truth and justice.
The other mostly eccentric characters are difficult to read, progressing the story and its mystery fantastically. You’ll feel a step ahead, just to be pulled in another direction.
Although fascinating, I do wish the ending had been fleshed out a little more as I didn’t feel fully satisfied with the closure.
Overall, a fabulous read full of twists and turns with a well-developed female lead. It’s certainly worth a read in 2024.
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I personally have read A Cruel Twist of Fate. However, I did receive a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley and this post does contain affiliate links.