Cover Image: A Gingerbread House

A Gingerbread House

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Member Reviews

I love nothing more than a good serial killer or criminal minds sort of vibe. And I have to say that Kate gave me these vibes, she is a force to be reckoned with and the witch who built a Gingerbread House.

The book is a gritty mind game where the pieces aren’t as obvious as they seem. I was trapped with the guests of the Gingerbread House, screaming with them for someone to find them and set them free. It was hard to put the book down even when I had to. I think I resorted to cooking whilst reading most nights.

The book was a psychological thrill, a story about three missing women lured to a house, a house they entered the doors of the house by choice. I enjoyed elements of the story, though at times the writing became a little too descriptive and took away from the creepy atmospheric vibe. I liked how well written the characters were, the villain especially. She was well built and her personality only added to the creepy vibe of the book. She was the perfect witch for this twisted fairytale. The perfect modern day retelling that even the Behavioural Analysis Unit will be hunting.
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I really want to give this 3 1/2 stars, it is not quite a 4. Three lonely women, Ivy, Martine and Laura, are drawn into the machinations of a very disturbed woman, who promises them the thing they want, a close relationship with someone. Meanwhile, Tash Dodd is worried her father is deeply involved in trafficking women out of eastern Europe, using his transport company. She collects evidence and confronts him with it, only to have him turn on her and threaten to kill her. Tash goes on the run and ends up living in a tiny apartment above a nail salon. She observes a tiny woman taking bags down into the cellar of her fairytale cottage, except there is a very bad smell coming from the drains. Parts of the book were a little too expository, but as the action came crashing down towards the end, it was hard to put down. Another good psychological thriller from Catriona McPherson
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I love the cover of this novel and the inside. "A Gingerbread House" is an exciting novel by Catriona McPherson. A page turner for sure.
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Modern folk tale meets psychological thriller in this story about three women who are lured to a truly horrible place, and a fourth who's determined to get them out. Catriona McPherson's writing has tension, lush prose, and terror galore, and she effortlessly coaxes readers into the dark and unnerving world she has created. This is a story unlike any other, despite its fairytale undertones. A captivating and chilling read.
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A Gingerbread House is a dark and chilling fairy-tale retelling from multi award-winning author Catriona McPherson.

Ivy is a shy and lonely woman desperate to find somewhere she belongs. Forever feeling like she’s on the outside looking in, Ivy longs to one day find somewhere where she doesn’t feel like a total outsider. When she meets a woman claiming to be her long-lost sister, Ivy refuses to listen to reason and decides to take this woman at face value. Could Ivy at long last have found the family she has always wanted? As she throws all caution to the wind, Ivy decides to put her entire trust in Kate even though this might very well end up being the biggest mistake of her life. Just what is Ivy going to get herself tangled up in?

Kate might offer Ivy the possibility of love and family, but when she invites her to her fairy-tale cottage deep in the heart of the Scottish countryside, little does Ivy realise that this seemingly enchanting house will be the place where her worst nightmares will come to life leaving her frightened, desolate, trapped and with no way out. Ivy might be the first woman to go missing, but she certainly will not be the last. The trap is set and more victims are going to fall foul of the spell of the gingerbread house.

How many more women have to go missing before somebody realises that all is not well deep in the heart of the Scottish countryside? Can anyone save these women? Or is it already far too late?

Catriona McPherson’s A Gingerbread House is a spooky chiller that is creepy, unsettling and full of shocks and surprises that will have readers jumping out of their skin. Catriona McPherson certainly knows how to keep her readers on a knife’s edge desperate to find out what will happen next and this tense and terrifying thriller is sure to keep them engrossed and floored by the jaw-dropping and highly satisfying twist at the end of the book.

A perfect Halloween read, Catriona McPherson’s A Gingerbread House is a delicious slow-burn of a novel sure to keep readers guessing.
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A slow paced, intricate storyline which in some places was a little confusing and difficult to follow. However, the ending was worth persevering for. Following the lives of four women, all of whom disappear suddenly, without any suspicious circumstances. I did enjoy the ending of the book, which was creepy and delved into the depths of how disturbed the human mind can become. However, I was left feeling like I wanted more regarding the secret cottage in Scotland and Kate's background story which lead her to where she was now, which unfortunately I didn't get. Overall, worth a read but I felt it I had to struggle through some parts in order to reap the benefits.
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A woman who lives in a fairytale house, three missing women and an investigation in to their disappearance.

Ivy is a vulnerable, incredibly lonely woman who longs for nothing more than to be part of a family and have people love her. Her prayers seem to have been answered when Kate walks into her life claiming to be her long-lost sister, and not only does she arrive with this welcome news – she also invited Ivy to come and live in her cottage with her so they can get to know one another properly. However Ivy enters the house and never comes out.

But Ivy is certainly not the last person to disappear under such mysterious circumstances. When two other women go missing following similar events, an investigation begins to locate their whereabouts and uncover who – or what – is behind their sudden disappearance.

The moment you read the description for this book you are swept away into a world of mystery and intrigue. The cottage is so aptly names The Gingerbread House – something that instantly lulls you in to a false sense of security, reminding you of comfort and calmness, however the reality of the house is far from perfect, infact some would say it resembles things of nightmares.

The characters are detailed and realistic, allowing you to feel a connection with them from the start. My heart really went out to Ivy, a woman who longed for nothing more than a family and a connection to save her from her loneliness, and it was this that lead to her vanishing without a trace.

The story is well paced and full of suspense and tension as the story pushes forward. I found myself fully invested in the story and the mystery that is laced throughout the complex plot. This was certainly a thrilling tale that had me reading well in to the night.
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'The Gingerbread House' by Catriona McPherson is a tense and twisty psychological thriller of the type where the tension slowly builds as the story unfolds. Do not be mistaken that just because you have to wait that it isn't worth trying. Do you remember the saying 'good things come to those who wait'? well let's just say this, the reader reaps the rewards! 
We meet Ivy, a lonely and quite vulnerable woman who aches to be a part of a family and be loved. In what seems to be a miracle to Ivy, she meets Kate, who claims to be her long lost sister. Ivy is overjoyed when Kate invites her to come and live in her cottage with her so they can catch up on lost time and get to know each other properly. The biggest issue is that Ivy never leaves the cottage she entered. It becomes clear that it is not just Ivy who has disappeared under odd circumstances when two other women go missing under similar circumstances. An investigation is started to attempt to find out who is behind these disappearances and to find the women. 
With a cottage named The Gingerbread House you really would expect a cosy and cute house, when in actual fact it is anything but! The synopsis is one that already has your mind whirling with the possiblities of the mystery and even intrigue that it promises. 
Catriona McPherson's detailed and vivid characters really help to get the reader enthralled in this story. Ivy is such a relatable woman. She only wants what the majority of people want - to be loved and belong. This wish is what leads to her going missing. I really felt for Ivy and my heart went out to her. Although it is a slow burner the pacing is perfect for the story. As the tension and suspense builds with mystery as the story unfolds it had me feeling like I was with the characters as part of the investigation. A definite thrilling and chilling tale with a plot that is original layered with complexities throughout.
Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources 
netgalley and Severn House for the copy of the book.
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What a rollercoaster this book takes you on. 

It had a brilliant mix of being fast paced and also spells of being a slow read but I think overall it meant you could really just enjoy the read. 

I've never read any Catriona's books before but I will be looking out for more in the future. Her characters within this book were really well developed and that just speaks volumes for the author.
⭐⭐⭐⭐
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I have read some other strange books in the last few months, but this one was one of the strangest.  Such a complicated plot and such odd characters.....
I really found it hard to connect to it all and the ending was pretty gross.
Not one of my favourites I have to say, far too complex.
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I'm not fully sure what to write about this book 🤷 I felt it was really slow to start and I really struggled to see how the two sides of the story would connect.

But the descriptions are intense, sometimes too much 😂 

If thrillers are your thing, definitely give this a go but push past the beginning!
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A slow burn thriller about Tash as she learns and tries to correct what her family has done.  It is a little confusing at first. It’s told in alternating perspectives that through much of the novel seem unrelated, but eventually they converge. 

It’s a little bit of a Fairytale retelling as we have women searching for what is missing in their life and this idyllic home.  Even before I knew what was driving the story I kept screaming, in my head of course, what are you doing. I don’t want to tell too much as I think the less you know as you read the better off you’ll be. 

The book is creepy at times.  While not for the faint at heart, it is a unique story I haven’t seen done before.  If you like slow burn thrillers, I’d give this one a try.
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Ivy wants to experience and enjoy the love of a family so when Kate claims to be her long-lost sister, it’s too good an opportunity to miss. Ivy is shy, painfully shy in many ways and Kate’s arrival into her life is sudden but appreciated – after all, don’t we all want someone to love and care for? But in all good thrillers, Ivy probably shouldn’t have forged ahead so quickly and definitively. She visits Kate’s cottage in the heart of Scotland… and doesn’t leave. Worse still, others will follow. This is the first of Catriona’s books I’ve read with a contemporary setting – I’ve read a few of her Dandy Gilver mysteries and thoroughly enjoyed them. I’d be interested in reading more of her modern thrillers, as she’s such a twisty way with words that has you second guessing.
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This novel is split into two distinct threads; one following Tash who discovers a disturbing family secret and the other is the disappearance of three women. Tash’s story has a gangster-type feel as she conspires to expose her findings but in her own way while the other women’s tales are disturbing, eerie and give the story a darker fairytale-like quality which made me keep turning the pages until the end. The characters were distinct from each other but were all inflicted with the feeling of something missing in their lives allowing them to be manipulated in meticulous ways.  I wasn’t sure how the threads would collide but when they did the midway, the story picked up speed towards the thrilling and satisfactory conclusion.
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This is a slow moving thriller. I feel the beginning is so boring I almost DNF this book. The story did pick up, and I did enjoy the middle. I did not think the ending was good. I saw the twist coming. This is just a ok Thriller, but the storyline once it gets going is good. I did not love the characters. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (Severn House) or author (Catriona McPherson) via NetGalley, so I can give an honest review about how I feel about this book. I want to send a big Thank you to them for that.
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There is one common element among all Catriona McPherson’s stand-alone novels. It is their uniqueness. You will never have read a story like any of them. I always ask myself the same question after I finish reading one. How in the world did Catriona ever think this up? I am never less than gobsmacked. A Gingerbread House fully lives up to the high standard that this author has set for a chilling tale. Nobody does a thriller better. I go into reading a Catriona McPherson stand-alone knowing that I will be kept on tenterhooks until the end.

I am hesitant to tell specifics of the story because readers need to experience all the moments leading up to the terrifying events for themselves, without preamble. I will prepare readers that the book begins with two storylines, and you might question at first what they will ever have to do with one another. But, ah, that’s the genius of Catriona McPherson. Watching the gap close between the two stories is enthralling. When the stories are just that one step away from colliding, the tension owns us, body and soul. 

A Gingerbread House is a tale of how the holes in one’s life can lead to being blind to warning signs when the hope of filling that hole appears. Three women are featured in what they are looking for to make themselves whole. Ivy is looking for someone or something to love her, Martine is looking for information about a father she never knew, and Laura is looking for her dream life of a husband and children. They will each fall prey to scams playing on their vulnerabilities. What they think is the answer to their prayers will become a hell for survival. A gingerbread house indeed.

In the simultaneous storyline, Tash is a thirty-year-old woman who still lives with her parents, as does her brother Baz. The whole family works in the transportation business that Dad, Big Garry, started with just one truck and grew to an international company. Tash is happy enough with her situation in life until her father comes down with the flu, and Tash takes charge for a few days. In working her way through all the paperwork on her father’s desk, she makes a discovery that completely upends her world. In trying to understand it and right an unthinkable wrong, Tash will take a journey into unchartered territory, away from the comforts she has always known. 

The two storylines seem unrelated at first, but I had faith that McPherson would bring them together at some point, although they were both intriguing on their own. If this book is your first Catriona McPherson read, be patient. The wait is worth it. So clever is this author, knowing how to build the suspense along parallel lines of intensity and join them in an aha moment. Of course, the Scottish setting is a favorite for me, and the author knows well how to use the setting to its best advantage, from its places of isolation to its community connections to the creepy edge of the unusual. 

Every year I think that I’ve read my favorite Catriona McPherson stand-alone novel, and then the next year comes around bringing a new favorite. And so the pattern continues. A Gingerbread House is on top of the favorites for now. It is certainly a book that crime/mystery readers don’t want to miss if they want a riveting read. I wish I could read it again for the first time. 

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Catriona McPherson and Severn House for an early read of this extraordinary book. The review is my honest opinion.
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This was a weird book. It has 2 stories running in parallel and they have nothing to do with each other until almost the end of the book. Somehow it was a downer for me, as it got confusing.

The story was quite slow to pick up, and very fast o end. I would have liked a bit more at the end, the premises were so good and the ending was washed out too quickly. It would have been very interesting to have it analysed better.

Thank you Netgallery and the publisher for an ARC in exchange of an honest review.
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I’m afraid I’m going to have to cut straight to the point with this one. While I wanted to love A Gingerbread House, I just couldn’t. There were three main reasons for this. The first that it was a slow burn, much too slow for my enjoyment. To be honest, I was at the point of giving up when things finally started to happen. These “things” were enough to keep my interest and got me though to the end.

Secondly, there were two stories running parallel. While they do eventually intersect, it felt a little too late and unrealistic, if you want my honest answer. Saying that, both stories had great potential in their own right and this might have made a stronger book of the author just focused on one of them.

Finally, I wasn’t fully satisfied with the ending. Although I got the action I craved, it felt that things were explained enough. I would have liked that little bit more depth and clarity to neatly wrap this book up.

I really don’t enjoy writing these less positive reviews but I owe it to myself and anybody that reads to be honest. Just bear in mind that is is just my opinion. On Goodreads, there are many people that enjoyed A Gingerbread House. I suggest checking in with them before making a decision.
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This is a book of almost two halves. On one side we have the story of women who meet someone and then go missing. On the other we have Tash who finds out something she’s not meant to and investigates, but not in a way you might expect.

This is a book where I spent most of it wondering what was going on. We get given a lot of information but not all of it is accurate and given we see the perspectives of only the missing women and Tash, understandably their viewpoints are limited. I didn’t really warm to Tash in the same way I did to most of the other characters. I didn’t fully understand what she was doing and why which didn’t help but I also found her irritating generally and but I think that’s maybe just me.

What I did really like was how the missing women dealt with their situation. They went through all the emotions you would expect people to deal with in situations like that. The descriptions were really clear and it was easy to understand why they felt as they did. I don’t want to say much more on this as I don’t want to risk giving anything away but these parts of the story were brilliantly written.

As I said I did spend a lot of the book wondering what was going on but that was also what kept me reading. I felt I was given enough information to understand some of the story, but I had so many questions and had to keep reading to find out the answers. There was just something about it that meant I had to keep reading to the end.

This is not going to be a book for everyone, there are some descriptions that aren’t for the easily squeamish, but if that’s not you and you like a psychological thriller then this is worth checking out.
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This is a gently paced story that follows four women whose lives are inextricably linked. The scene is set in a macabre way, and graphic and gruesome description is a feature of this story. It's about abuse, evil, identity and loneliness and these relevant issues resonate throughout. The story has a great sense of place, and this adds to its atmospheric qualities.

The gingerbread house with its fairytale connations is the perfect foil for this story which focuses on evil in many forms. There is an underlying ethos of sadness in this story that highlights the vulnerability of the three women drawn into the gingerbread house.

This is not an easy read, the themes are disturbing, and parts take on a nightmarish quality, but it is cleverly plotted with well-crafted characters who evoke empathy and dislike in the reader.

I received a copy of this book from Severn House Publishers/CanongateBooks via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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