Cover Image: The Guest Book

The Guest Book

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Member Reviews

This was a brilliant read from beginning to end. The atmospheric descriptions of the storm fuelled seaside town of Saltwater along with the near constant downpour and high winds reverberated around the reader through and through. We were there with Grace and Charles from the moment their honeymoon was curtailed by a tree on the line causing their train journey to Cornwall to abruptly stop. Further weather calamities meant that they and the villagers were near enough trapped until repairs could be completed in a matter of days not hours. The Anchorage became their Hobson’s choice as all other accommodation was quickly taken up by their fellow train travellers. This was serendipity for Charles who enjoyed holidays at this hotel while young as we soon find out. Just when you think you have experienced all the quirks and twists that this book has to offer we are given more right up until the very last page. Excellent.
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This is a creepy, ghostly tale about a honeymoon couple who, finding themselves stranded in a small village, rather than their planned luxury hotel in St Ives, decide to make the most of it.
What they don't anticipate is the experience of their stay in a strange, secluded boarding house. Interestingly, the husband stayed there as a boy, but, claims to know little of his stay.

The book is told in chapters from either the perspective of Grace, the wife, or Charles, the husband.

I found it to be a decent read that kept my interest in order to find out what on earth was going on and why? And it has an interesting, satisfying ending. 

Overall, a 3* Good Read that I enjoyed.

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK Vintage for the opportunity to preview.
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Thank you to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book.

The book is about a newly married couple, Grace and Charles, who have gone on their honeymoon to St Ives. On the way to St Ives, there is a huge storm and lightning strikes the train they are travelling on in Saltwater. They are evacuated from the train and forced to find local accommodation to stay in whilst waiting for everything to be repaired. They are given a list of local hotels, but they have no vacancies. Charles reminisced that he stayed for a few summers in Saltwater as a young teen, and stayed at The Anchorage, which doesn’t seem to be on the list of accommodation. Feeling somewhat disheartened at finding no where to stay, Charles takes Grace to try The Anchorage. Lo and behold, it’s still there, and still has the same owners, Pamela and Michael, running it, and it has many vacancies. After the first night, Grace starts to become uneasy about everything, and when in Saltwater, she mentions to anyone where she’s staying they all give her a look of pity. But with the multiple storms, then a landslide blocking the only road in and out, with power lines destroyed, meaning no landline or wifi, Grace and Charles have to make the best of their creepy situation.

The story was ok, if a little bland. It had a sense of unease, and the unknown, which definitely spiced it up a bit. The characters were ok, Grace was a bit of a whinger about everything, which came across as slightly annoying. I feel as if we didn’t see the characters of Pamela and Michael enough, and I wished they’d been explored more. We also fleetingly meet other characters through the story, but there wasn’t much depth to those characters. I enjoyed the plot line, it was creepy and tense in the right places, especially with the obligatory terrible weather. I wish there had been more!!
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Grace and Charles are newlyweds on their way to St Ives for their honeymoon, unfortunately on the way there their train is terminated before it reaches their destination due to agree having fallen on the line and bad weather. Grace is limping as she is still recovering from an injury she sustained in an accident Turkey a few months earlier. So they find themselves at the back as they head out to try and find somewhere to stay in the nearest seaside town Saltwater. As they try to find accommodation for the night, they find all the B & B’s are full with the other passengers who have been delayed and on the same train as themselves.

They find a vacancy in the last guesthouse The Anchorage, not a place mentioned on the list of places handed out by the railway, why is that?  It turns out that Charles had stayed there before as he was growing up, He is happy to be staying there as he remembers his holidays during his childhood/teenage years. Grace is not so happy, the place is very gloomy and the atmosphere is creepy, not helped by the owners who aren’t very welcoming. Charles remembers Pamela and Michael Jeffrey fondly.

Whilst Charles is enjoying reminiscing, Grace finds the place to be creepy, as in the night she starts to hear children crying, along with footsteps in the empty hallways and to top it off sea shanties.

The story is narrated by three people Charles, Grace and a mystery person. But how reliable are they all as narrators. The third narrator tells of an accident that had happened to them sometime in the past, but it’s hard to know when. Charles and Grace’s names appear at the chapters they are narrating but when it’s the mystery narrator you find yourself trying to work out who this person is. The way this is done helps to build the tension up. 

If you are looking for a good psychological, atmospheric, creepy read then grab a copy of this. I found the beginning initially a little bit slow but then the pace picked up and I was engrossed. Reading the book in one sitting as I couldn’t put it down. As the story draws to a close all loose ends are tied up with a slight twist.
I would like to thank #netgalley and #RandomHouseUK for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest, fair and unbiased review.
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I love a storm closing in thriller but this had an unexpected supernatural feel thrown in. I might have been put off if I'd known that element at the start, but in this case I feel it added to the story well.

It was an easy read, that picked up I  the last half/third, although I appreciate some might feel this was rushed. But all in all, not much to dislike....a good build, intrigue, leading to cliffhanger ending!
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To begin with i do wonder why this novel has the title the guest book? It is a very small part in it! The novel starts off well in Charles and Grace being on their way to Cornwall for their honeymoon , but unfortunately a storm has made a tree fall onto the traintrack so train can't go any further. They end up staying in a place called Saltwater in a b&b which Charles remembers from his childhood, the owners,are still the same but are struggling now to get business. Grace begins to have uneasy feelings about the place and begins to think it's haunted!!! Especially after hearing the tragic story about the Captain who  built the house for him and his family and the day his family drowned.

There are some twists a n d turns in the novel, but still think the backstory of Charles could've been followed up more especially by Grace who was already suspicious o f her new husband anyway! It takes a while to get into this novel but I thought there would've been more in the way of ghosts with the weather effect and the creepy owners it Would have been perfect! Not really my sort of novel but it was ok and I read to the e nd to find out what hap pened.
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A spooky, ghost tale/thriller that doesn't quite live up to its promise. 
Honeymoon couple Charles and Grace end up in a dodgy B&B when a storm causes havoc to their train service, power lines are down and there is nowhere else to stay.
They arrive at a B&B which is on a downward trend rather than upward but as they have no choice they decide to stay, Conveniently, it's impossible to get a mobile phone signal, all phone lines are down, there are no taxis/hire cars so there they have to stay. The tension then starts to build but doesn't really go anywhere. The book is very slow going and full of  "lumps/bile/acid rising in throats" (almost every other page), goose bumps on flesh, pulsating veins/throbbing veins/veins with various substances running through them and even, weirdly... vertigo that punches you in the solar plexus...... hmmmmm 
Grace is very superficial, spoilt, whiny and weak. Charles is a bit of a non entity with a huge chip on his shoulder. They really didn't feel like a honeymoon couple-far too distant from each other.. All four main characters could do with being better developed. There was a good story here trying to get out.
There is an "accident" that Grace had whilst in Turkey of which much is made but turns out to be a damp squib. 
The ending? Oh dear... really?? Nope utterly unbelievable. Shame really. Overall- 2.5 stars
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The guest book is quite a readable novel about a newly wed couple who whilst travelling to their honeymoon destination in Cornwall end up being stranded during a storm in the little coastal town of Saltwater, with all the guest houses and hotels being full up with other stranded travellers they end up in a rundown little guest house which with amazement Charles remembers from his childhood.
This novel has a creepy vibe but I did find I tired a bit of the repetitive nature of the storyline.
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2-3 stars 

Charles and Grace McKenna are honeymooners and on board a train bound for s luxury hotel in St Ives when s terrible storm brings down a tree blocking the line. They are forced to evacuate and find themselves in Saltwater where Charles stayed as a teenager. A lack of accommodation takes them to The Anchorage where his family used to stay. Then it was vibrant and welcoming and now not so much though owners Michael and Pamela Jeffreys do offer them a much needed room. The story is told in three narratives but principally by Charles and Grace. 

The book starts quite well with a good atmosphere created by the weather in  coastal town  and there is a distinct whiff of something very off and possibly rotten in the guest house with the Jeffrey’s strange behaviour adding to the strange vibe. You sense there is a story there and there are more unsettling off notes. It’s easy to read, there are some moments of tension, the occasional chill and a cloak of secrecy. 

Bowyer, the gothic potential of the novel fizzles out in my opinion. Part of the problem lies with the format which breaks any tension and secondly the characters are not well developed. You certainly don’t feel a honeymooners spark between the couple and to me their relationship feels as if it could flatline at any given moment. Charles is so full of contradictions, his behaviour of not by omission should have sent Grace running for the hills, if only she could. As for Grace, she’s bland, lacks much personality, she’s like a watery watercolour picture that’s a bit insipid. However, on a positive note the alternate points of view are good at illuminating their views and thoughts on their respective partners. We get hints of an incident in Turkey some months ago and it gets to the point where I don’t care anymore as it prevaricates so long, dangling  it in the storytelling in the hope our breath is bated waiting for the truth. The style of writing is flat, unemotional and thus the mysterious vibe isn’t maximised. To compensate there are so many things that happen so it feels overblown and melodramatic, a bit like an over egged pudding that fails to rise and achieve the yummy taste suggested by the ingredients. After a while, it ceases to engage me and I have no idea what to make of the unresolved ending. Sometimes I like to make up my own mind but this one just leaves me baffled and honestly, I don’t buy into it. 

Overall, yes it does have twists, yes it does have some atmosphere, yes the Cornish setting is good but no, it doesn’t fulfil its obvious potential and that’s s real shame. Also, wondering about the title as the guest book is only a very small part of the whole???? 

With thanks to NetGalley and to Random House UK, Vintage for the arc in return for an honest review and apologies I didn’t enjoy it more.
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I just couldn’t connect with this book. Charles and Grace are having a staycation honeymoon, they are on the train to a fabulous 5 star hotel at St Ives. But a powerful storm wreaks havoc with those plans. Their train is forced to stop as a massive tree has fallen across the line. Luckily they are not far from Saltwater station so they trudge back along with the other passengers. Grace is limping, still recovering from an accident in Turkey a few months ago so they bring up the rear and find that all the accommodation options are taken. But Charles has fond memories of childhood/teenage holidays at Saltwater and leads Grace to the Anchorage guesthouse where his family used to stay. This one was not on the list of options handed out by railway staff! Hmmm.

As soon as they arrive Grace is already unhappy with the gloomy brooding atmosphere of the place and the owners are not helping. They seem somehow wooden and unwelcoming. Charles is loving it though as he remembers Pamela and Michael Jeffrey fondly. Soon, Grace is hearing and seeing things and things go bump in the night in an effort to ramp up the creepiness. It didn’t work for me. Not much actually happened other than a lot of contrived creepiness. Grace seems haunted and Charles is an odd one, he comes across as a bit of a cipher. The Jeffreys are made out to be creepy and the house haunted. And of course the landline is down and the cell phone tower is too so there not only trapped in the town but incommunicado.

The weather was probably the best character in the book! The townspeople were very closed but negative about the Anchorage and Grace had convinced herself it was haunted while Charles thinks Grace is having a breakdown. Predictable much. Naturally it all comes to a head on a dark and stormy night! There were constant cryptic reference to “what happened in Turkey”. When it was finally revealed it was a simple accident so I don’t know why all the foreshadowing about it. Towards the end of course there is a rash of revelations that explain everything neatly. Oh and the very end, the little twist - I I really hated it and took off another star for that ending! All in all I can’t recommend this book. Thanks to Netgalley for providing the ARC to review. My opinions are my own.
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When a fallen tree crashes onto the railway line during a ferocious storm, newlyweds Charles and Grace have no choice but to temporarily abort their journey. They to divert to Saltwater, a quaint little English seaside town where Charles spent his childhood holidays. As the storm continues to rage, Charles and Grace struggle to find a B&B that isn't already full. Remembering The Anchorage where he stayed as a boy, Charles suggests they check it out. It's a little off the beaten track but fortunately there's an empty room. In fact every room is empty.

Sensing something unsettling about The Anchorage and its owners, Grace grows increasingly anxious. Why aren't there any guests when all the other B&Bs are packed to the rafters? After a series of strange events, Grace becomes convinced they're in imminent danger. There's something sinister going on and it's about to get worse. . . 

What an addictive read this turned out to be! I really enjoyed its spookiness and hint of the supernatural. Although the 'creepy house' scenario has been done a zillion times before, The Guest Book was extremely entertaining. Never knowing which character to trust or whose version of events to believe, it captured my imagination and I couldn't put it down. I thought it was chilling, tense and suspenseful. With plenty of plot twists that I didn't see coming, it was an exciting read.
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I loved this book, it was a satisfying mystery full of tingling moments to keep me on my toes.
I loved the slightly old world feel of the story, like a good old Agatha. Christie.
The setting in Cornwall was just what was required and you could almost place yourself there.
Really enjoyed it and read it in about 3 sittings.
Great book
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I almost really enjoyed this book.  I thought it had promise and was sufficiently gripping but the end was a complete disappointment as it was really rushed.  There was also an issue of two characters being named the same - all a bit confusing and confused.
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This supernatural thriller keeps you guessing right until the end.  "The Guest Book" by CL Pattison is full of twists and turns, and you don't really trust one of the main characters.  You also wouldn't want to stay at the Anchorage hotel. Highly recommend this read!
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Grace and Charles are newlyweds, setting off for their romantic honeymoon in St Ives, when their plans are derailed by a tempestuous storm, which forces them to seek refuge in a tiny village called Saltwater. However, they are forced to take shelter in a seemingly unpopular B and B called The Anchorage, where all is not as it seems. 

This was a suspenseful, pacy read, with lots of creeping moments of tension and tantalising glimpses into the past of a number of the characters. There are lots of distrusting townsfolk, strange goings-on and things that can’t always be neatly explained away. I enjoyed the book for the most part and thought the tension was built up well. Sadly, I feel like the book was a bit let down by the ending. It felt very rushed to me, and fairly unrealistic. Were we supposed to believe that after everything that happened, Grace didn’t even google the BnB a single time? And would have absolutely no idea of anything that happened following their stay. I found this part unconvincing, which was a real shame, as the rest of the book was so enjoyable.  I would try another book by this author, but the ending of this one was a real shame. 

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This was an odd one - normally I'm gripped and love the read but then am disheartened once I know how it all pans out. Weirdly this was kind of the other way round - the story didn't really capture my imagination or connect me during the telling but once I understood it I saw everything in a completely different light. The cast was quite small, the characters fairly ordinary and under-developed and the pace quite slow which is why I wasn't captivated at the time. But in hindsight it's a heart-breakingly sad and unexpected tale - I just wish certain characters had been been given the air time they deserved and readers somehow given a deeper insight into them and their story. A 3.5 really.
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I enjoyed this novel up to a certain point. It needs to be made clearer in the blurb that this is more of a ghost story than a thriller. 

The plot has promise but for me didn't always deliver. I found too many coincidences keeping the couple from leaving Saltwater too unbelievable.

I was disappointed in how the novel felt like it abruptly ended 3/4 of the way through only to have following chapters giving lots and lots of information at a rapid pace.

This novel is well written. The author can write. It just didn't quite work for me.
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A train full of passengers were left stranded in an unknown village when the train track was blocked. They were given a list of B&Bs and had to find their own accommodation in the dark???? I didn't think this would happen, so that's my first problem with this book. Moving on from this, it started to look promising as Charlie and Grace found themselves accommodation in a place where Charlie had stayed a few times as a boy. There was something strange about the B&B owners, and other people in the village shops and pubs hinted that all was not well. Grace started to hear strange voices and noises and this bit was quite creepy. Also there was also something odd about an accident Grace had in Turkey that was not explained. Things were building up, but suddenly Grace and Charlie fled and the rest of the story was told in three chapters, each from a different point of view which told the truth about what happened next, and explained the past. This was not remotely believable and it was a bit of a let- down.
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Firstly a big thank you to the publishers for my copy to review on netgalley.

This is a intriguing, mysterious and chilling book about a couple om honeymoon. Things get weird from day 1 and are set to get weirder.

Is all as it seems in wedded bliss or are there secrets from the past about to ruin things…

Unpredictable and tense. Cleverly written and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Published 31st December 2020
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Grace and Charles are heading off to St Ives in Cornwall for their honeymoon. As they are on the train the storm that is threatening takes a turn for the worse and they are forced to abandon their journey at the next station. They find themselves in the secluded, coastal seaside resort of Saltwater. A destination that Charles visited frequently on family holidays as a teenager. 

They shelter at The Anchorage guest house with hosts Pamela and Micheal. Grace is unsettled and convinced that she can hear a child crying and other strange happenings. She is convinced that there are unexplained things happening at the house and is desperate to leave. 

Just what secrets is this sleepy Cornish village hiding? Who is watching them? They’re cut off from the outside world and have nowhere to turn? Who can they trust? 

I thought this book started off slowly but did pick up pace rapidly and I really enjoyed the plot and conclusion when everything was turned on its head! Very clever plotting and a great story.

Thank you to Random House UK, Vintage for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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