Title: The Chateau
Author: Catherine Cooper
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: September 2nd 2021
Finished reading: July 18th 2021
*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***
WARNING: unpopular opinion ahead!!
I really enjoyed my first experience with Catherine Cooper‘s writing last year in The Chalet, and I’ve been looking forward to read more of her stories. I admit that I was sold as soon as I read the blurb of The Chateau. I love an international setting and the idea of having a French chateau as a setting and a murder to boot sounded like the perfect premise for a story. I’m still not sure what happened and it might simply not be the right story for me at the moment, but the fact is that I didn’t enjoyed The Chateau nearly enough as I thought I would.
I still love the idea behind the story and the French chateau setting. The renovating, the expat community, even the TV show filming the family as they try to convert their rundown chateau into a bed and breakfast… It’s a great backdrop and I was definitely left wanting for more. Why? Well, at least half of the story takes place in London instead, and I can’t say that I was a fan of that particular storyline at all. I could have understood a couple of chapters and flashbacks to explain why the couple decided to move to France, but the London chapters felt too much like the main event and ended up disappointing me.
I think part of the problem is that this type of domestic drama-focused psychological thriller hasn’t worked for me for a while now. The whole reveal of the ‘secret’ why they had to move was a huge letdown (I never like this element in my stories), and I can’t say I was happy with the focus on the domestic drama in general and all the fighting. Especially Nick and Ella’s POVs really put me off this story, and I wish The Chateau would have focused on the present and the part set in France instead… I understand why the flashbacks were necessary as they help explain what happens in the present, but still. I found that the present chapters had so much more potential and were more engaging too with the mysterious murder and the strange things happening in the chateau.
The writing is solid, but somehow I was too turned off by especially the chapters/events set in London to properly enjoy the story. I liked those chapters/POVs in France a lot better, but as those are only in the beginning and end of the story, I struggled considerably reading the rest of it. I have to say that the final plot twists were not credible at all for me; not only relating to what happens to Ella and its consequences, but also everything relating to Aura and how things end.
As a whole, I don’t think The Chateau was a right fit for me at the moment, and I ended up struggling considerably for various reasons. Don’t give up on my account though, as most people do seem to enjoy the story a lot better.