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The USA Today bestselling author of The Au Pair returns with another delicious, twisty novel--about a grand estate with many secrets, an orphan caught in a web of lies, and a young woman playing a sinister game. 1988. Beth Soames is fourteen years old when her aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall, a rambling manor in the isolated East Anglian fens. The Averells, the family The USA Today bestselling author of The Au Pair returns with another delicious, twisty novel--about a grand estate with many secrets, an orphan caught in a web of lies, and a young woman playing a sinister game. 1988. Beth Soames is fourteen years old when her aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall, a rambling manor in the isolated East Anglian fens. The Averells, the family who lives there, are warm and welcoming, and Beth becomes fast friends with their daughter, Nina. At times, Beth even feels like she's truly part of the family...until they ask her to help them with a harmless game--and nothing is ever the same. 2019. Sadie Langton is an actress struggling to make ends meet when she lands a well-paying gig to pretend to be a guest at a weekend party. She is sent a suitcase of clothing, a dossier outlining the role she is to play, and instructions. It's strange, but she needs the money, and when she sees the stunning manor she'll be staying at, she figures she's got nothing to lose. In person, Raven Hall is even grander than she'd imagined--even with damage from a fire decades before--but the walls seem to have eyes. As day turns to night, Sadie starts to feel that there's something off about the glamorous guests who arrive, and as the party begins, it becomes chillingly apparent their unseen host is playing games with everyone...including her.


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The USA Today bestselling author of The Au Pair returns with another delicious, twisty novel--about a grand estate with many secrets, an orphan caught in a web of lies, and a young woman playing a sinister game. 1988. Beth Soames is fourteen years old when her aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall, a rambling manor in the isolated East Anglian fens. The Averells, the family The USA Today bestselling author of The Au Pair returns with another delicious, twisty novel--about a grand estate with many secrets, an orphan caught in a web of lies, and a young woman playing a sinister game. 1988. Beth Soames is fourteen years old when her aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall, a rambling manor in the isolated East Anglian fens. The Averells, the family who lives there, are warm and welcoming, and Beth becomes fast friends with their daughter, Nina. At times, Beth even feels like she's truly part of the family...until they ask her to help them with a harmless game--and nothing is ever the same. 2019. Sadie Langton is an actress struggling to make ends meet when she lands a well-paying gig to pretend to be a guest at a weekend party. She is sent a suitcase of clothing, a dossier outlining the role she is to play, and instructions. It's strange, but she needs the money, and when she sees the stunning manor she'll be staying at, she figures she's got nothing to lose. In person, Raven Hall is even grander than she'd imagined--even with damage from a fire decades before--but the walls seem to have eyes. As day turns to night, Sadie starts to feel that there's something off about the glamorous guests who arrive, and as the party begins, it becomes chillingly apparent their unseen host is playing games with everyone...including her.

30 review for The Perfect Guests

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous is a 2021 Berkley publication. Just go with it! I loved the Au Pair, so naturally, I was very curious to see what Emma Rous would present us with next. 1988- Raven Hall Fourteen-year-old Beth, an orphan, is brought, by her aunt, to live with the Averell’s and their daughter, Nina, who is the same age, but is never allowed to leave home. Beth desperately wants to please her new foster parents, which means getting along with Nina, which is easier said than done, somet The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous is a 2021 Berkley publication. Just go with it! I loved the Au Pair, so naturally, I was very curious to see what Emma Rous would present us with next. 1988- Raven Hall Fourteen-year-old Beth, an orphan, is brought, by her aunt, to live with the Averell’s and their daughter, Nina, who is the same age, but is never allowed to leave home. Beth desperately wants to please her new foster parents, which means getting along with Nina, which is easier said than done, sometimes. As time passes, in a slow dawning horror, Beth realizes she has been brought to Raven Hall for another reason altogether… Fast forward to 2019- Sadie is an actress who has been offered a part in a Murder Mystery weekend at Raven Hall. It’s a plumb opportunity and she desperately needs the money. Things get off to an interesting start, but things rapidly go awry as shocking secrets rise to the surface, turning this into a party Sadie will never forget… This is a well-plotted, supremely addictive psychological thriller. The downside, for some, might be the necessity to suspend belief at times, and the slightly uneven pacing. The dual timeline does require some deeper focus, but I thought the story had imagination, and a bit of originality, too. The atmosphere crackles with tension and challenges the reader with a complex puzzle that piece by piece weaves a tale of secrets and sinister machinations. Overall, while her sophomore effort isn’t quite at strong as her debut- it’s pretty darned close! Definitely an author I’m exited about!! 4 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michael David

    Raven Hall...a grand manor with history. In 1988, Beth is an orphaned teenager whose aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall with the Averells family. The parents are looking for someone who can befriend their daughter, Nina. Beth and Nina instantly hit it off and are more like sisters. Things change when Beth is asked to do a favor...a very odd favor. In 2019, Sadie is a struggling actress who doesn’t even have enough money for this month’s rent. She finally lands a gig that offers a very nice pay Raven Hall...a grand manor with history. In 1988, Beth is an orphaned teenager whose aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall with the Averells family. The parents are looking for someone who can befriend their daughter, Nina. Beth and Nina instantly hit it off and are more like sisters. Things change when Beth is asked to do a favor...a very odd favor. In 2019, Sadie is a struggling actress who doesn’t even have enough money for this month’s rent. She finally lands a gig that offers a very nice paycheck. The gig: pretend to be a guest at a murder mystery party at an old manor named Raven Hall. How will this all connect? You’ll have to read it to find out. I had no idea what to expect with this, but I was intrigued. I was immediately hooked, and found the storytelling very interesting. I enjoyed how the suspense slowly built as I tried to guess what was going on, but didn’t have any clue. Then, it all basically fizzled at the 3/4 mark. The last section of the book is very lackluster as it leads to a convoluted conclusion. I kept saying to myself, “All of THIS because of THAT?” It’s a bit far-fetched and goes into slight soap opera territory. I haven’t read the debut novel by author Emma Rous, but I really enjoyed her writing style, and look forward to seeing how her work grows. All in all, it’s a fast-paced and mostly enjoyable book. However, I probably won’t remember it a few months down the road. Thank you to Berkley, Emma Rous, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    This book is one sit, captivating, twisty reading. You may see some twists beforehand and but some of them were still surprising that you won’t see them coming. Especially when I try to solve the complex relationships between characters I got a little lost. Several times I asked myself who was related with whom. I have to say especially first half of the book was delightful. We’re going back and forth between the past: Beth’s arrival to Raven Hall as a companion of Averell family’s daughter Nina This book is one sit, captivating, twisty reading. You may see some twists beforehand and but some of them were still surprising that you won’t see them coming. Especially when I try to solve the complex relationships between characters I got a little lost. Several times I asked myself who was related with whom. I have to say especially first half of the book was delightful. We’re going back and forth between the past: Beth’s arrival to Raven Hall as a companion of Averell family’s daughter Nina and the present time: a young, jobless actress Sadie Langton who suffers to make ends meet, getting a job offer she cannot refuse: role playing at a murder mystery party which will take place at the very same Raven Hall. Beth is ready to do anything to continue living at Raven Hall because she lost her family recently. Her aunt doesn’t want to take care of her. And she starts liking Nina as her sister, also having a crush on Averell’s old friends’ son Jonah. And in the present time: Sadie feels lucky to this well paid job but when she starts to read her character’s role play card, she realizes things written about the character exactly reflects her own life which gives her suspicions about the way she’s been invited into this murder play. Eight chosen guests’ suspicious manners who are specifically invited to the special manor and mysterious high tension, gothic world building reminded me of Agatha Christie books. So I actually devoured the first half and witness how Beth finds herself to play a intriguing game with Averell family, replacing Nina to meet with estranged grandfather who wants to take her back to live in the US. And in the meantime, strange things start to happen at murder mystery play. One of guests is missing and the rest of them feel nauseous, disoriented. Did somebody try to hurt them? So it started so well but when I reach the second part just like a play’s second act, the pace went repetitive. Everybody starts making confessions abruptly without any resistance. Twists were creative but the way of revealing of them were a little haphazard, unplanned and awkward. All those villains of the story acted like they drank truth serums and they start to confess everything without hesitation. So thriller parts are overshadowed by unnecessary drama. Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians vibes at the gothic mansion lost its charm. There was so much potential about that part of the story. But unfortunately it failed for me. I’m still rounding up 3.5 stars to 4 even though I didn’t like the second half. Some of surprising revelations and promising, hooking start and being a loyal fan of the author made me do that! It’s still easy, fast, soft, gripping reading. But I honestly think there is still some wasted potential. Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for sharing this unputdownable ARC with me in exchange my honest opinions. blog instagram facebook twitter

  4. 4 out of 5

    Holly B

    This is the second book from the author of The Au Pair which I loved, but this one was a bit of a struggle for me to finish. After reading the description of two timelines, a grand estate and a sinister game with guests, I couldn't wait to dive in. While I did enjoy the concept of the book, it just didn't grab me like I was hoping it would. I was interested enough in the game that was playing out in the two timelines, that I wanted to see how it would wrap up. She is an author that I will definite This is the second book from the author of The Au Pair which I loved, but this one was a bit of a struggle for me to finish. After reading the description of two timelines, a grand estate and a sinister game with guests, I couldn't wait to dive in. While I did enjoy the concept of the book, it just didn't grab me like I was hoping it would. I was interested enough in the game that was playing out in the two timelines, that I wanted to see how it would wrap up. She is an author that I will definitely give another chance too. Thanks to NG and publisher for my advanced copy! OUT JAN 12, 2021

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick. Similar as in the book *Heidi*, a young orphan girl (1980’s), is sent to be a companion for another little girl at the Raven Hall mansion. And that’s where the similarities stop. Years later, (2019), similar as in the book *Sarah Plain and Tall*, a young woman, answers and add.... and goes to work at Raven Hall. And that’s where those similarities stop. The two timeline stories connect together in this mysterious gothic twisty ‘fun & Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick. Similar as in the book *Heidi*, a young orphan girl (1980’s), is sent to be a companion for another little girl at the Raven Hall mansion. And that’s where the similarities stop. Years later, (2019), similar as in the book *Sarah Plain and Tall*, a young woman, answers and add.... and goes to work at Raven Hall. And that’s where those similarities stop. The two timeline stories connect together in this mysterious gothic twisty ‘fun & games’ novel. The readers job is to suspend logic and reasonableness.... become more nimble.... If you do..... “The Perfect Guests”, will be an entertaining ride... a game of lies, secrets, deception, obsession, suspicion, revenge, even a little romance, at Raven Hall manor..... literally and figuratively. 3.5 rating Fun!

  6. 4 out of 5

    ScrappyMags

    Shortest Summary Ever: Sadie is a wanna-be professional actress struggling to pay rent when a plum job lands in her mailbox - a murder mystery at a secluded home called Raven Hall. What could go wrong? Flashback to Beth who lived in Raven Hall as a foster child of the Averells. Beth reveals strange incidents...Sadie encounters peculiarities... are they somehow linked? What darkness lurks in the dark of Raven Hall? Thoughts: Well... it’s twisty. It turns. But it also meanders. I loved that it was Shortest Summary Ever: Sadie is a wanna-be professional actress struggling to pay rent when a plum job lands in her mailbox - a murder mystery at a secluded home called Raven Hall. What could go wrong? Flashback to Beth who lived in Raven Hall as a foster child of the Averells. Beth reveals strange incidents...Sadie encounters peculiarities... are they somehow linked? What darkness lurks in the dark of Raven Hall? Thoughts: Well... it’s twisty. It turns. But it also meanders. I loved that it was Christie-Esque in setting and plot, but where Christy weaves her tales like a fine hand knit sweater, this one contained some grays that frayed. The characters were likable and not likable, where appropriate. The story itself most certainly unique, but I felt underwhelmed, putting this into the “I liked it, but it was just ok” rating of 3 stars. It was enjoyable but nothing wowed me. Adept, but not incredible. All my reviews available at scrappymags.com around time of publication. Genre: Mystery. Recommend to: it’s a “middle” mystery - not too gritty but not cozy. Not recommended to: those who don’t want to think too much over the details Thank you to the author, NetGalley and Berkeley Publishing for my advanced copy in exchange for my always-honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    NZLisaM

    4.5 ‘Just think of it as – a little game.' Raven Hall – A beautiful stately, yet gloomy, isolated mansion, complete with turrets, situated deep in the marshlands and fields of eastern England. 1988 – Recently orphaned 14-year-old Beth is thrilled to escape the children's home and spend the summer at Raven Hall as a companion for the owners teenage daughter. But carefree days of swimming, picnics, exploring, and fun and games soon turn into a game of a different sort. One Beth's not sure she wan 4.5 ‘Just think of it as – a little game.' Raven Hall – A beautiful stately, yet gloomy, isolated mansion, complete with turrets, situated deep in the marshlands and fields of eastern England. 1988 – Recently orphaned 14-year-old Beth is thrilled to escape the children's home and spend the summer at Raven Hall as a companion for the owners teenage daughter. But carefree days of swimming, picnics, exploring, and fun and games soon turn into a game of a different sort. One Beth's not sure she wants to play along with. 2019 – Struggling actor Sadie is hired to take part in a trial run murder mystery weekend at Raven Hall. And she’s relishing the idea of a two-day getaway starting with a chauffeured Mercedes, vintage clothing, and a dinner party complete with a parlor game. But someone has a far deadlier game planned for an unsuspecting Sadie and the other unfortunate guests. The Perfect Guests was an enticing blend of multi-generational sordid secrets and lies, dysfunctional families, obsession, loneliness and trickery. And at the heart of it all, lies Raven Hall, in all its magnificent, haunting, gothic glory. Beth's story made me think of Heidi crossed with VC Andrews while the present storyline gave me all the And Then There Were None spooky vibes. Both timelines were engrossing and mysterious and I connected with the two main characters right away, and quickly became invested in their individual plights. I loved the parallel of Beth and Sadie both approaching their new adventures at Raven Hall with enthusiasm and excitement but soon finding their situations uncomfortable and disconcerting. To be honest, I was expecting something a bit darker, but the more I thought on it have decided that I was not disappointed over how it all came together in the end. I enjoyed reading it immensely, and always looked forward to picking it up. So maybe some of the reveals were a tad unbelievable and convenient, but they were surprising and the little clues and hints, and how it all wove together, were cleverly done. As you've probably guessed chapters alternated between Beth and Sadie, but there was also a third italicized unknown POV that I had no clue about, and as much as I tried to puzzle it out, things did not start to make any kind of sense until about half-way through. For those who want a break from being scared to death, or who prefer psychological thrillers that are tense and foreboding rather than terrifying, with characters you care about, and content that packs an emotional punch, then look no further than The Perfect Guests. And since this was Virginia Andrews-esqe, pay attention YA readers, because this one's for you too. P.S. The title couldn't be more appropriate. I’d like to thank Edelweiss, Berkley Penguin Publishing Group, and Emma Rous for the e-ARC. Publication Date: 12th January, 2021

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bridgett

    I stayed up until nearly five o'clock this morning finishing this book. This is my first foray into Emma Rous' work, but I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. The Perfect Guests flawlessly weaves three separate timelines, and three separate points of view...all without muddying the story. The characters were well-developed and the setting, Raven Hall, was an interesting character in its own right. Admittedly, I think most readers will intuit the twists easily and early on, although there I stayed up until nearly five o'clock this morning finishing this book. This is my first foray into Emma Rous' work, but I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. The Perfect Guests flawlessly weaves three separate timelines, and three separate points of view...all without muddying the story. The characters were well-developed and the setting, Raven Hall, was an interesting character in its own right. Admittedly, I think most readers will intuit the twists easily and early on, although there was one I didn't see coming. I should have...after its big reveal, I realized there were many clues which I simply didn't recognize while reading. The conclusion is far-fetched, but it mostly works, I think. Bottom line, Ms. Rous is now a must-read author, as I truly enjoyed her writing. 3.75 stars rounded up. Available January 12, 2021. My sincere thanks to NetGalley, Edelweiss, and Berkley Publishing Group for my review copy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Berit☀️✨

    Delectably deceiving. deeply disturbing. Deliciously dark. Emma Rous once again stretched my mind with her mesmerizing storytelling, an atmospheric story with a Gothic vibe. 1988 Beth arrives at Raven Hall hopeful that this will be her new home. The family has a daughter Nina about the same age as her and Beth is eagerly cautious to befriend the girl. not long after arriving at the manor Beth begins to get some strange vibes, like why is it that Nina is not allowed to leave the property? 2019 st Delectably deceiving. deeply disturbing. Deliciously dark. Emma Rous once again stretched my mind with her mesmerizing storytelling, an atmospheric story with a Gothic vibe. 1988 Beth arrives at Raven Hall hopeful that this will be her new home. The family has a daughter Nina about the same age as her and Beth is eagerly cautious to befriend the girl. not long after arriving at the manor Beth begins to get some strange vibes, like why is it that Nina is not allowed to leave the property? 2019 struggling actress Sadie gets a part as a Party Guest at a mystery dinner. she cannot believe her luck a stunning dress, a gorgeous manner, interesting company. But it isn’t too long before Sadie figures out there is more to all of this than meets the eye. oh what a sinister tale Miss Rous has spun. Two women,one creepy manor, 30 years apart. what ties these two storylines together and what secrets is Raven Hall keeping? I could not put this book down! I stayed up late into the night and finish this in one sitting. I was completely engrossed in this twisted mind bending tale. The story bounced between Sadie and Beth as well as now and then. I was equally engaged in both narratives. The story was extremely compelling even though the pacing was not always perfect. there was such a chilling sinister feel to the story, I was constantly waiting for something bad to happen. The ending was cleverly revealed one piece at a time keeping the tension throughout. This book in emojis 🏚 🗝 ⛸ ☕️ 🫖 🍷 🎻 🎭 *** Big thank you to Berkley for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***

  10. 5 out of 5

    Diana | Book of Secrets

    4.5 Stars → Delightfully twisted! THE PERFECT GUESTS is an entertaining combination of Gothic mystery and family drama that kept me glued to the pages. The timeline flips back and forth between Beth in 1988 and Sadie in 2019, with an unknown narrator woven in between. It's the mysterious country estate of Raven Hall at the center of this book. Both main characters end up there as a pawn in a dangerous game, 31 years apart. I found the story cleverly plotted with several twisty surprises. There's 4.5 Stars → Delightfully twisted! THE PERFECT GUESTS is an entertaining combination of Gothic mystery and family drama that kept me glued to the pages. The timeline flips back and forth between Beth in 1988 and Sadie in 2019, with an unknown narrator woven in between. It's the mysterious country estate of Raven Hall at the center of this book. Both main characters end up there as a pawn in a dangerous game, 31 years apart. I found the story cleverly plotted with several twisty surprises. There's a large group of secondary players, and I had fun trying to figure out how they fit together. I enjoyed Emma Rous' first novel, THE AU PAIR, and her follow-up is just as wonderful. I'm ready for her next. :) Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carole

    The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous is a fascinating novel that is set in the vicinity of the English fens. The story alternates between 1988 and 2019. In the eighties Beth, an orphan living in a children’s home, is selected to live at Raven Hall, an elaborate estate. She is to be a companion to the daughter of the house, Nina. The two girls soon become fast friends and all is well until it isn’t! In 2019, an eager actress, Sadie, is invited to Raven Hall, to participate in what she believes is a mu The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous is a fascinating novel that is set in the vicinity of the English fens. The story alternates between 1988 and 2019. In the eighties Beth, an orphan living in a children’s home, is selected to live at Raven Hall, an elaborate estate. She is to be a companion to the daughter of the house, Nina. The two girls soon become fast friends and all is well until it isn’t! In 2019, an eager actress, Sadie, is invited to Raven Hall, to participate in what she believes is a murder mystery evening. At this point, the night turns into something right out of the Agatha Christie mysteries. There are several invitees, all strangers to each other. The guests do not know who owns Raven Hall now or who organized the bizarre evening. Nothing will be as it seems, leaving everyone bewildered and confused. The rest will be up to the reader to investigate and solve. The Perfect Guests is an excellent choice for a winter evening, by the fire. Emma Rous has written a mystery within a mystery that will hold your attention to the very end. Highly recommended. Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group, NetGalley and the author for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    3.5 stars. Raven Hall has seen tragedy and its share of secrets and lies through the years. What are the mysteries it holds? This question is at the crux of Emma Rous' latest book, The Perfect Guests . In 1988, Beth, an orphaned teenager, is invited to live with a family at Raven Hall, a sprawling English estate. For a girl who has longed for a family this is an opportunity she doesn’t want to squander, and she quickly becomes friends with their teenage daughter, Nina. The family has secrets and 3.5 stars. Raven Hall has seen tragedy and its share of secrets and lies through the years. What are the mysteries it holds? This question is at the crux of Emma Rous' latest book, The Perfect Guests . In 1988, Beth, an orphaned teenager, is invited to live with a family at Raven Hall, a sprawling English estate. For a girl who has longed for a family this is an opportunity she doesn’t want to squander, and she quickly becomes friends with their teenage daughter, Nina. The family has secrets and quirks, however, but Beth keeps her trepidations to herself for fear of angering the family and being sent back to the children's home. But when she’s asked to participate in a lie of sorts, it sets off a chain of events which changes everything. Thirty years later, Sadie, an unemployed actress, is offered a plum assignment. She is to play a guest at a murder-mystery party weekend held at Raven Hall, an old manor house which has been empty for years. This role has the potential to become a permanent job, and when she is sent a suitcase full of posh clothing and a dossier on her character, she’s excited for the possibilities. But when she arrives, she quickly realizes things aren’t quite as she was promised. Is everyone playing a part? What is happening to the other guests? Why can’t she focus on what’s going on? I was hooked on this slow-burn, dual-timeline mystery from the get-go. I loved the ominous feel of the whole thing, and while I had some suspicions about what might happen, I was really interested in how things would unfold. I love twisty mysteries and I love being surprised. However, I felt like the conclusion of the book just kept throwing twist after twist at me—every time I thought I had grasped the plot, some other secret was revealed. (I refer to this as "But wait, there's more" syndrome.) Still, The Perfect Guests was a very interesting read and I do like the way Rous writes. I also enjoyed her last book, The Au Pair , which had a similar narrative structure. Check out my list of the best books I read in 2020 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2020.html. Check out my list of the best books of the last decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Holly B

    Look who has a new novel!!! Loved the Au Pair

  14. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    This book is one of those reads that lands squarely in the middle of 3 and 4 stars. I enjoyed parts of it very much and other parts were almost a drag to get through. The story is told in dual timelines - Beth, as she arrives at Raven Hall as a teenager in the 1980s, and Sadie in 2019, who is randomly hired to play a role in a murder mystery party at Raven Hall. There is also a third, anonymous POV that randomly appears every few chapters, which I found annoying. I don't know if it was the spide This book is one of those reads that lands squarely in the middle of 3 and 4 stars. I enjoyed parts of it very much and other parts were almost a drag to get through. The story is told in dual timelines - Beth, as she arrives at Raven Hall as a teenager in the 1980s, and Sadie in 2019, who is randomly hired to play a role in a murder mystery party at Raven Hall. There is also a third, anonymous POV that randomly appears every few chapters, which I found annoying. I don't know if it was the spidery, cursive font, or the disjointed thought process, but I didn't enjoy those chapters at all. I found Beth’s chapters to be very interesting, and Sadie's not so much. I never really got into the game at Raven Hall - it seemed geared to be Agatha Christie-like, but it fell rather flat. Eventually all three timelines converge and all of Raven Hall's secrets are ultimately revealed. I thought Rous nailed the atmospheric setting of Raven Hall - it fit the plot well and had an overall eerie feel to it. There are several twists and turns throughout the second half of the book, most of which I predicted, but there were a couple that I did not. I did think most of the “reveals” at the end were rushed and went a bit too far in the unbelievability realm. Overall, this one was still a fairly enjoyable, quick read. Unfortunately, I just didn't care that much about Sadie's story, which I think impacted my experience. 3.5 stars rounded down to 3.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews

    3.5 stars for this captivating tale of deeply buried family secrets rising to the surface. Told through two timelines, this novel unravels the mystery surrounding the family legacy of Raven Hall, an old crumbling mansion in the isolated English countryside. Raven Hall was like a character in itself, dark and powerfully atmospheric in setting - I loved it! I was engrossed with this story from start to finish. I surprised myself with how connected I felt to the book even though I found several aspec 3.5 stars for this captivating tale of deeply buried family secrets rising to the surface. Told through two timelines, this novel unravels the mystery surrounding the family legacy of Raven Hall, an old crumbling mansion in the isolated English countryside. Raven Hall was like a character in itself, dark and powerfully atmospheric in setting - I loved it! I was engrossed with this story from start to finish. I surprised myself with how connected I felt to the book even though I found several aspects of the plot line were quite far fetched, especially near the end. This is usually a deal breaker for me, however, I was so enthralled in the story that I remained hanging on every word with extreme curiosity in how it would all come together. I really enjoyed the writing and characters. The pace and flow were great and the characters were memorable. I wasn’t a fan of the Present Day storyline in what brought them to Raven Hall, but I was able to “go with it” and lose myself within that aspect of the story. Overall, this was a highly entertaining and unique novel that kept me engaged. I enjoyed this authors previous novel, The Au Pair, a tiny bit more but found this a close second. Thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for my review copy!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Alan

    As a mystery, this novel works, but toward the end it got so soap-opera like that it felt really insubstantial. Which is fine—we all need light things to take our minds off the challenges of the actual world, but the first part of the novel didn’t have that frothiness to it. This is told from two different points of view: Beth in 1988, when she is thirteen and carted off to Raven Hall to be raised essentially by foster parents, and Sadie in 2019, who is offered a job at a murder mystery at Raven As a mystery, this novel works, but toward the end it got so soap-opera like that it felt really insubstantial. Which is fine—we all need light things to take our minds off the challenges of the actual world, but the first part of the novel didn’t have that frothiness to it. This is told from two different points of view: Beth in 1988, when she is thirteen and carted off to Raven Hall to be raised essentially by foster parents, and Sadie in 2019, who is offered a job at a murder mystery at Raven Hall. I liked both Beth and Sadie and cared about their struggles. Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this novel, which WILL BE RELEASED JANUARY 21, 2021.

  17. 4 out of 5

    ABookwormWithWine

    4.5/5 I absolutely loved The Au Pair by Emma Rous, so I was extremely excited to see she had The Perfect Guests coming out. It is everything I hoped it would be PLUS more, and I loved this one too! It reminded me a lot of a game of Clue, and switches between timelines and viewpoints which were all aspects I loved. It hooked me immediately from the very first page and I didn't want to put it down, so I read it in just two sittings. I started being especially intrigued by the 2019 timeline, but I q 4.5/5 I absolutely loved The Au Pair by Emma Rous, so I was extremely excited to see she had The Perfect Guests coming out. It is everything I hoped it would be PLUS more, and I loved this one too! It reminded me a lot of a game of Clue, and switches between timelines and viewpoints which were all aspects I loved. It hooked me immediately from the very first page and I didn't want to put it down, so I read it in just two sittings. I started being especially intrigued by the 2019 timeline, but I quickly became equally as invested in the 1988 timeline with Beth as well. I loved the slower burn and the way Rous slowly unravels all of the secrets, and I can tell you I was NOT expecting that ending. The Perfect Guests is getting a high rating from me for a few different reasons and let me tell you why. The biggest reason is that I loved the overall feel of the book and how it grabbed me right away and kept my attention the entire time. Another reason is that the end took me by complete surprise and the whole book kept me guessing. There was some suspense here, but overall, it is just a great, twisty tale. I couldn't believe how well Rous weaved this story and made all of the things tie together in a way that makes your mouth drop open. And last but not least, I loved the isolated setting and how Raven Hall was basically a character in itself. I would have loved to be IN this book despite what happens, and it really made me itch to play a game of Clue. It has both some young adult and gothic vibes and makes for a great crossover novel. I thought everything was very distinctive so there is no getting confused, and there aren't any ambiguous endings which is something I am a fan of. If you want a fun book that will hold your attention this year, I recommend checking out The Perfect Guests and Rous' previous novel if you haven't already! Thank you to the publisher for my advance review copy via NetGalley. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    Absolutely loved this! Dual timelines—you have Beth in 1988 & Sadie in 2019. Both are invited to the mysterious Raven Hall, where games can have deadly consequences. There were so many secrets, twists & turns! I loved how they were all slowly revealed, the author did a great job. I also felt she did a great job with the description of Raven Hall, it was practically a character itself. Was this a perfect 5 star read? No, but I read this in one sitting because I was very entertained. *Thank you to Absolutely loved this! Dual timelines—you have Beth in 1988 & Sadie in 2019. Both are invited to the mysterious Raven Hall, where games can have deadly consequences. There were so many secrets, twists & turns! I loved how they were all slowly revealed, the author did a great job. I also felt she did a great job with the description of Raven Hall, it was practically a character itself. Was this a perfect 5 star read? No, but I read this in one sitting because I was very entertained. *Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anissa

    I picked this up and it wouldn't let me put it down very long so I wound up finishing this in about a day. I very much enjoyed this and I want to talk about ALL THE THINGS but that wouldn't be cool because spoilers. I love "group invited to a sequestered location under the guise of good time only to have sinister deeds start to go down" stories. Blame Agatha Christie. I am a complete sucker for the set up so between that and really having enjoyed Rous' debut The Au Pair , I was thrilled when I picked this up and it wouldn't let me put it down very long so I wound up finishing this in about a day. I very much enjoyed this and I want to talk about ALL THE THINGS but that wouldn't be cool because spoilers. I love "group invited to a sequestered location under the guise of good time only to have sinister deeds start to go down" stories. Blame Agatha Christie. I am a complete sucker for the set up so between that and really having enjoyed Rous' debut The Au Pair , I was thrilled when I won a giveaway for The Perfect Guests. Beyond the setup, Rous gives us a storied house and a character so obsessed with it, things can't end well. The last time I came across so house obsessed a character was The Beloveds by Maureen Lindley and I have to say, Rous has sold me on the type. The way the obsession wove and wound through the story was fantastic. There are three POVs told in the past and present. Identities and connections were fun to puzzle out and I was even happier when I hadn't suspected correctly. It's always a joy when something big happens and you realize you've only reached the 75% mark in the book. The final 25% had me up late and it was worth it. Between my "Ha! There it is!" and "Wait. Oh... ok then." this story took the revelations all the way to the last word. Late-night reading is why coffee, I say. I was thrilled. Well done all the way around by Rous. I am always excited for an author's followup after a debut and this one actually met and exceeded my hopes! That's no small thing. So, if you enjoyed The Au Pair definitely get this one, you're in for a treat. I will be waiting for Rous's next book. I won an Advance Reader's Copy in a giveaway. Many thanks to the publisher.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Chelsey (a_novel_idea11)

    If you enjoy a novel with multiple narrators and timelines, a strong sense of foreboding, and lots of twists, this one is definitely for you!! 1988: Beth, a young orphan, is surprised when her aunt brings her to stay with the Averells at their sprawling estate, Raven Hall. The Averells have a daughter, Nina, who is in need of a companion and it is decided Beth would be a perfect fit. At first, staying with the Averells is a dream come true. Beth and Nina get along great and have a lake and endles If you enjoy a novel with multiple narrators and timelines, a strong sense of foreboding, and lots of twists, this one is definitely for you!! 1988: Beth, a young orphan, is surprised when her aunt brings her to stay with the Averells at their sprawling estate, Raven Hall. The Averells have a daughter, Nina, who is in need of a companion and it is decided Beth would be a perfect fit. At first, staying with the Averells is a dream come true. Beth and Nina get along great and have a lake and endless land to occupy their days. But when Nina repeatedly gets ill and Beth is put in morally compromising positions time and time again by the Averells, she begins to suspect something is amiss at Raven Hall. 2019: Sadie is a twenty-something, struggling actress hoping for a break and scrambling to make her next monthly rent payment. When a great paying job comes her way and doesn't even require an audition, it feels almost too good to be true. Sadie is whisked away to Raven Hall for a weekend where she will be expected to play Miss Lamb in a murder mystery for a new company trying to get the program off the ground. Once at Raven Hall, Sadie begins to fear for her safety when it becomes apparent that everyone is getting ill and the small group of participants are apparently trapped at the estate without access to a car, cell service, or any landlines. The novel also follows a third, unidentified narrator on an unspecified timeline. This mystery narrator had previously resided at Raven Hall when tragedy struck and she was forced to move. Now, she spends her weekends circling the property, waiting to get a glimpse at the new owners and to reclaim what she feels is rightfully hers. This novel kept me on the edge of my seat and I loved the alternating narrators and timelines. I was particularly drawn to Beth's story and the writing transported me to lazy summer days on the lake with friends. I really liked that the foreboding feeling wasn't overdone but offered a darkness to the otherwise idyllic setting. I didn't connect with Sadie's character or storyline as much, but I did love the murder mystery premise. I also liked that her storyline didn't play out the way I would have expected as it made it a more exciting read. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, though the many twists felt a bit over the top and theatrical. I would have preferred one or two strong "WOW" moments, rather than the many unrealistic twists. Having so many big moments took away some of the shock value and just felt like too much for me by the end. That being said, the twists did work well for the storyline, many of them were entirely unpredictable, and everything tied together and was wrapped up nicely. Thank you to Berkley and to NetGalley for a copy of this novel.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Max Birner

    The Perfect Guest is a pretty good leisure read, which was sophisticated and stylish with its setting while also being thrilling. Readers of the Au Pair will definitely enjoy this book because they give off a very similar vibe. It's always refreshing to read a book that isn't just set in the same suburban dull house, so the atmosphere really gets you pulled in. The strongest part of this book is definitely the plot, because I was thoroughly interested in what was going to happen. But, while I want The Perfect Guest is a pretty good leisure read, which was sophisticated and stylish with its setting while also being thrilling. Readers of the Au Pair will definitely enjoy this book because they give off a very similar vibe. It's always refreshing to read a book that isn't just set in the same suburban dull house, so the atmosphere really gets you pulled in. The strongest part of this book is definitely the plot, because I was thoroughly interested in what was going to happen. But, while I wanted to be interested there were many aspects of the writing that I didn't enjoy as much. The two parts were a little bit too much for me, and I would've liked if either the book was longer or one of the perspectives was cut a little shorter so I could feel a little bit more invested in some of the characters. Because I found myself labelling the characters pretty easily, and I think either a longer look at just Sadie or Maggie would help this a lot. I still thoroughly enjoyed The Perfect Guests, and I love the atmosphere it built along the way.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jayme

    Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for the ARC of The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous. I loved The Au Pair and was eager to read her latest thriller. Sadie acquires an acting job that is too good to be true. She is paid to attend a big fancy party in a mansion called Raven Hall, with hired actors playing roles similar to those in the move Clue (which happens to be my all-time favorite movie)! The attendees must act their part and one will receive a prize by solving the murder mystery by Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for the ARC of The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous. I loved The Au Pair and was eager to read her latest thriller. Sadie acquires an acting job that is too good to be true. She is paid to attend a big fancy party in a mansion called Raven Hall, with hired actors playing roles similar to those in the move Clue (which happens to be my all-time favorite movie)! The attendees must act their part and one will receive a prize by solving the murder mystery by the following morning. Next we meet Beth, who is orphaned when her parents and brother are killed in a car crash. Her neglectful aunt has agreed to let her live with a rich family in order to become a companion for their own daughter, Nina. These two stories eventually overlap and the reader learns the connection. There is also a mystery narrator who makes many appearances throughout. This book started out with so much promise. I love the murder mystery Clue-like premise. However, I cannot fathom one of the characters’ obsession with Raven Hall. This seems to be the guiding premise to this thriller and it just doesn’t make sense, even in a gothic sensibility, as no other gothic elements seem to exist. I easily predicted the twists and the plot turned a ridiculous corner towards the end. I really enjoyed the Au Pair because even though it had a soap opera feel, it felt more authentic than this book. The plot was just downright goofy towards the end with absurd reveals. Overall, I was left feeling disappointed. 2.5/5 stars

  23. 5 out of 5

    DJ Sakata

    Favorite Quote: Her thoughts are like darting fish, sparking across her mind and slipping out of reach. My Review: My first Emma Rous read and it was quite a complicated and twisty tale with lots of moving parts, secrets, and hidden agendas. The storylines were slowly constructed and cleverly nuanced over two timelines with a large cast of characters. The story threads were taut with tension and wound around themselves to weave what seemed like tangled knots, which ultimately became a complex tapes Favorite Quote: Her thoughts are like darting fish, sparking across her mind and slipping out of reach. My Review: My first Emma Rous read and it was quite a complicated and twisty tale with lots of moving parts, secrets, and hidden agendas. The storylines were slowly constructed and cleverly nuanced over two timelines with a large cast of characters. The story threads were taut with tension and wound around themselves to weave what seemed like tangled knots, which ultimately became a complex tapestry while ensnaring my attention and endlessly provoking my curiosity with ever-evolving theories. Many of the main characters were elusive and an odd mix of peculiar and erratic in both timelines. This was a hard one to put down and my poor optical orbits feel like they have burned through to the back of my skull as I may have been reluctant to blink as I didn’t want to miss anything. All told, it was rather ingenious.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette (Again)

    It's amusing nowadays to see authors writing about the 1980s as if it were back in the covered wagon days. "Once upon a time, a little blonde orphan girl who played the violin was taken in by a nice family who wanted a companion for their daughter..." 😃 This is a convoluted story all about a fucked up family who will do pert near anything to keep from losing Raven Hall, their beloved house in the Fens. It's cheesy as hell, but it was a pleasant enough way to while away a gloomy Sunday. I highly r It's amusing nowadays to see authors writing about the 1980s as if it were back in the covered wagon days. "Once upon a time, a little blonde orphan girl who played the violin was taken in by a nice family who wanted a companion for their daughter..." 😃 This is a convoluted story all about a fucked up family who will do pert near anything to keep from losing Raven Hall, their beloved house in the Fens. It's cheesy as hell, but it was a pleasant enough way to while away a gloomy Sunday. I highly recommend Emma Rous's first novel, The Au Pair, which I thought was much stronger than this one.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Rochester

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for my digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I am pretty sure I chose this book because of the cover originally...then when I read the synopsis, it sounded like it would be an interesting read. And it really was...The story is told by two narrators(although there is briefly a third)...Beth back in 1988 and Sadie in 2019 and what happens in 1988 is directly connected to what is currently happening in 2019. When we meet Beth, she is a 14 year old g Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for my digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I am pretty sure I chose this book because of the cover originally...then when I read the synopsis, it sounded like it would be an interesting read. And it really was...The story is told by two narrators(although there is briefly a third)...Beth back in 1988 and Sadie in 2019 and what happens in 1988 is directly connected to what is currently happening in 2019. When we meet Beth, she is a 14 year old girl who had lost her parents and her brother recently and her Aunt is not able to currently take her in so she has been spending time in a kids' home. A family has decided to take her into their home so she can be a companion to their daughter on a temporary basis and Beth is not only happy to be out of the home but to be around a family again...and the house is amazing. But strange things start happening that makes Beth wonder what is really going on around the house. As for Sadie, she is an out of work actress who gets invited to be a part of a murder mystery type scenario and she gladly jumps at the chance. Only strange things start happening during her time there. Maybe because it happens to be the same house? This book was so full of twists and turns that I never got bored and I always wanted to just keep reading to find out what happens next. I am pretty sure I was surprised all the way through. :)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Carlene Inspired

    Find this review and others at Carlene Inspired. The Perfect Guests is classic Agatha Christie mystery meets modern suburban thriller. A dual timeline mystery full of twists and surprises. I felt like I was playing a game of Clue myself as Emma Rous takes readers from 1988 with young Beth to 2019 with actress Sadie. Raven's Hall was the best part of young Beth's life, until it wasn't. Ravel's Hall could be the big break Sadie needs to finally land a well-paying acting gig. Too bad there's somethi Find this review and others at Carlene Inspired. The Perfect Guests is classic Agatha Christie mystery meets modern suburban thriller. A dual timeline mystery full of twists and surprises. I felt like I was playing a game of Clue myself as Emma Rous takes readers from 1988 with young Beth to 2019 with actress Sadie. Raven's Hall was the best part of young Beth's life, until it wasn't. Ravel's Hall could be the big break Sadie needs to finally land a well-paying acting gig. Too bad there's something more sinister happening at Raven's Hall and the two storylines area bout to meet. Twisty, sinister, and highly entertaining, The Perfect Guests is a soap-opera-y mystery that was impossible for me to put down. I enjoyed Beth's character and timeline the most, even the recent history was so interesting. Raven's Hall and it's inhabitants are quite the characters. Sadie is a little more woe is me and the storyline doesn't feel terribly unique, but the tie in to the past is just fantastic. I found it to be the right amount of unpredictable and I even enjoyed those twists that I was able to guess. The second half of the novel takes a deep dive into soap opera level drama, but I was so entertained that I got over the unbelievability of it and just enjoyed the ride. Emma Rous is such a standout author for me and The Perfect Guests is a fun must-read for mystery lovers. ARC provided.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alexa

    A solid 4.5 rounded up! This one is a lovely, Gothic-tinged domestic(ish) British thriller with YA crossover appeal with some compelling character study and fun guesswork. You get three POVs that ping-pong across time, and half the fun is trying to connect the dots of who everyone is and how they are related. In 1988, Beth, an orphan with a shitty would-be caretaker aunt (who can't be arsed to halt her career/single life and leaves her niece in foster care), is dropped off to spend the summer wi A solid 4.5 rounded up! This one is a lovely, Gothic-tinged domestic(ish) British thriller with YA crossover appeal with some compelling character study and fun guesswork. You get three POVs that ping-pong across time, and half the fun is trying to connect the dots of who everyone is and how they are related. In 1988, Beth, an orphan with a shitty would-be caretaker aunt (who can't be arsed to halt her career/single life and leaves her niece in foster care), is dropped off to spend the summer with the wealthy Averell family of Raven Hall. Located in a sleepy town in the Fens, the Averell's daughter Nina has an over-protective mom and Beth is there to be her companion. Summer turns into 18 months and Beth integrates well into the family, but for two blips: she falls for Jonah, Nina's only friend, and has to keep it a secret, and the small matter of Nina's grandfather. He's old, rich, and cantankerous, and when he shows up unexpectedly when Nina is ill, Beth has to stand in for her--pretend to be Nina to win over the old man (who holds the family purse strings). It works, but drives a wedge between Beth and Nina. Terrified of being a homeless orphan once more, Beth struggles to reconcile her true self with fitting in at Raven Hall. In 2019, struggling actress Sadie is invited to a murder mystery party at Raven Hall, where thirty years ago there was a terrible accident. It's a small party, and soon odd things start to happen... Sadie's POV is in third person and, yes, half the fun is trying to puzzle together who everyone is (they're all using code names!) and who connects to Beth's past POV and how. The third POV is also first person of a young woman, but it's obscured who she is and when she is. I'll not say more for spoiler reasons, but her POV ends up being very interesting, indeed. All three POVs do eventually tie together in a fun third act, though the third act is also where a few of the narrative choices were a bit disappointing hence the small half star deduction from me. I quite liked the final twist, but there was something hard to explain without some spoilers about one of the POVs in act three that felt a bit heavy on "telling" for me and light on tight, forward action? This one is GREAT for fans of Gothic tone, old English country manor houses, villages and titled families with secrets, guessing at character identities across time & POVs, and, well, murder mystery parties, ha. (honestly could have used more of that theme/POV but oh well). There were times when I thought of one of my favorite suspense tonal words--languid. I enjoyed sinking into the pages, especially in Beth's POV. It may appeal to some YA readers who also like adult thrillers since a good third of the book is from teenage Beth's POV.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mackenzie - PhDiva Books

    This absolutely stunning follow up to Emma Rous’s debut book The Au Pair proves that she was certainly no one-hit wonder! I love a well-executed dual timeline mystery, and Emma Rous’s The Perfect Guests knocked it out of the park. Following two different stories linked by an opulent manor named Raven Hall, this book is captivating, twisty, and brilliant! Before I read this, my friend Berit had said it was a read-in-a-day book because it is that hard to put down. She wasn’t kidding! I did have to b This absolutely stunning follow up to Emma Rous’s debut book The Au Pair proves that she was certainly no one-hit wonder! I love a well-executed dual timeline mystery, and Emma Rous’s The Perfect Guests knocked it out of the park. Following two different stories linked by an opulent manor named Raven Hall, this book is captivating, twisty, and brilliant! Before I read this, my friend Berit had said it was a read-in-a-day book because it is that hard to put down. She wasn’t kidding! I did have to break for sleep and work, but every spare moment I had I was devouring this book until the very final page. Now that I’ve read two outstanding mysteries by Rous, I think I can say that there are a few things that really define what makes her books so compelling. The first is that she chooses mysteries with a strong tie to the past, and she explores those links through time as the mystery unfolds. Expertly, she drops clues in both timelines so that neither can fully resolve without the other, though they seem separate. Second, she writes outstanding settings. In both of her books, the house (or two houses in the case of her first book), feels more like a character than a setting. Here, Raven Hall is as important to the plot as an character, but finding out why and how is the fun part! Finally, there is always a hint of folklore and an atmospheric gothic quality. Everything always feels so vivid—I can picture it all as she describes it. With her stories, there is always a touch of lore, and I find that so compelling! In 1988 we meet Beth, a 14 year-old who is sent by her aunt to stay at Raven Hall and be friends with their daughter Nina. Having lost her parents in a tragic accident, Beth initially feels grateful to be part of the family at Raven Hall. But she always feels a bit on edge. Like if she isn’t perfect, she’ll get sent back to her aunt who doesn’t have time or interest in keeping her. And then one day Nina falls ill and her parents ask Beth for a small favor… In 2019, struggling actress Sadie is barely able to make ends meet month after month. So when she gets an offer to play a role for a weekend at an old manor to photograph for a mystery game experience, she leaps at the chance. When her costume arrives, she slips right into character, enjoying the luxurious fabrics of her ivory costume pieces. But soon after she arrives at Raven Hall it becomes clear that there is more going on than she realizes. And whoever the host is has set up a game they didn’t know they were playing. Both stories are compelling in different ways, and I was puzzling over how everything would resolve. What an ending! I can’t say too much but there are lots of twists and turns that will keep you on your toes. Compelling, brilliantly crafted, and atmospheric! Thank you to Berkley for my copy. Opinions are my own.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Juli

    What a fun, twisty story! It ended up being a binge read for me.....I couldn't put it down. Wickedly fun read! 1988: A young girl comes to stay at Raven Hall as a companion to the Averell's daughter, Nina. She loves it there and wants to stay. She's willing to do just about anything they ask...but it gets out of hand. 2019: An out of work actress is invited to Raven Hall. A murder mystery weekend. Eight guests. Isolated at the out of the way estate. Turns out there is more going on than a simple What a fun, twisty story! It ended up being a binge read for me.....I couldn't put it down. Wickedly fun read! 1988: A young girl comes to stay at Raven Hall as a companion to the Averell's daughter, Nina. She loves it there and wants to stay. She's willing to do just about anything they ask...but it gets out of hand. 2019: An out of work actress is invited to Raven Hall. A murder mystery weekend. Eight guests. Isolated at the out of the way estate. Turns out there is more going on than a simple weekend of play acting a murder story.....much, much more. I don't normally care for stories that use time jumps, but for this story it works. The story jumps back and forth from Beth's time to Sadie's, twisting the two timelines together to reveal what happened at Raven Hall. It had a bit of a "And Then There Were None'' feel to it. Portions of the plot were a bit melodramatic....but this was a very entertaining, engrossing read. Sometimes we all need a bit of a murder-y soap opera! And this definitely fit the bill for me. I needed something suspenseful and sordid....check and check! The entire time I kept thinking to myself how much fun it would be to join in a murder mystery weekend at an isolated country house....until things got a bit too real of course. This is the first book by Emma Rous that I've read. I'm definitely going to check out her other book, the Au Pair! **I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    Everyone seemed to like games. One game was for a murder mystery party and another was to trick Nina's grandfather into thinking Beth actually was Nina.​ We meet Beth and Nina in 1988 and Sadie in 2019.​​ Beth is a foster child that came to live with Nina and her odd family in Raven Hall. ​​ Sadie is an actress who is invited to play a part in a murder mystery game.​​ We also meet an unnamed character who has come back to Raven Hall and is angry about the new owners. ​​ As we move from one time to th Everyone seemed to like games. One game was for a murder mystery party and another was to trick Nina's grandfather into thinking Beth actually was Nina.​ We meet Beth and Nina in 1988 and Sadie in 2019.​​ Beth is a foster child that came to live with Nina and her odd family in Raven Hall. ​​ Sadie is an actress who is invited to play a part in a murder mystery game.​​ We also meet an unnamed character who has come back to Raven Hall and is angry about the new owners. ​​ As we move from one time to the next, we get detailed information about what is going on, but then there is always something missing and always a new character to meet.​​ The murder mystery game got out of hand with guests becoming sick, one disappearing, and the game seeming to turn into an actual attempted murder mystery with secrets that get revealed.​​ THE PERFECT GUESTS has more than one story line going on, and I enjoyed all of them. You will think you have it figured out, and then something else happens.​​ The ending is a surprise as things are wrapped up and you find out who's who in these games. If you enjoy mysteries, an old house that the story was built on, and characters that are an odd sort, you will like THE PERFECT GUESTS. 5/5​​ This book was given to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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