book review,  Books

Book Review: The Caretakers by Eliza Maxwell

I’m not going to lie – when I received my review copy of Eliza Maxwell’s new release The Caretakers, I oohed and ahhed over the GORGEOUS cover.

And then I set it on the corner of my desk, because my brain has desperately needed light and fluffy, and Eliza Maxwell’s books are NOT light and fluffy. They are tightly crafted psychological thrillers that will grip you tight.

Light and fluffy can only distract you for so long, though, and my fingers itched to pick it up. I’m so glad I did because WOW.


Good. Read on to see what I loved about the book and then go enter for a chance to win your own copy of the book.

All opinions are my own.

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Genre:  Psychological Thriller / Gothic Fiction / Sisters Fiction 
Publisher: Lake Union Press
Date of Publication: April 14, 2020
Number of Pages: 317

Scroll down for the giveaway of THE CARETAKERS!

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 In the isolated estate she’s found the perfect getaway. But there’s no escaping the past in this chilling novel from the bestselling author of The Unremembered Girl.

Filmmaker Tessa Shepherd helped free a man she believed was wrongly imprisoned for murder. When he kills again, Tessa’s life is upended.

She’s reeling with guilt, her reputation destroyed. Worse, Tessa’s mother has unexpectedly passed away, and her sister, Margot, turns on her after tensions from their past escalate. Hounded by a bullying press, Tessa needs an escape. That’s when she learns of a strange inheritance bequeathed by her mother: a derelict and isolated estate known as Fallbrook. It seems like the perfect refuge.

A crumbling monument to a gruesome history, the mansion has been abandoned by all but two elderly sisters retained as caretakers. They are also guardians of all its mysteries. As the house starts revealing its dark secrets, Tessa must face her fears and right the wrongs of her past to save herself and her relationship with Margot. But nothing and no one at Fallbrook are what they seem. 

“Suspense fans will be satisfied.” —Publishers Weekly



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I’m SO glad I took a break from all the light and fluffy that I’ve been using to distract my brain from this crazy time we’re living in, because oh my goodness this book.

THIS story will distract you from everything. Including dinner. And bedtime. And maybe sleep. I sat down to read this and stayed up until three in the morning because I couldn’t put it down.

It was worth the sleep hangover the next day.

The Caretakers has two very separate storylines that eventually intersect, each with its own narrator.

Tessa’s tale is layered, kicking off with the betrayal and guilt she feels when the man she helped free from wrongful murder conviction kidnaps and possibly kills the daughter of the Sheriff who was responsible for his jailing. As this is unfolding, her mother’s death reveals one heck of a surprise (and mystery) and all of it complicates the estrangement with her sister.

Kitty’s tale jumps between past and present. The prologue reveals that something dark has happened, and this story unfolds very slowly through short glimpses into her childhood as the daughter of the cook for the big mansion. Interspersed with the flashbacks are scenes with the now elderly Kitty and her sister and brother, who still reside in the caretaker’s cottage, with more hints of secrets.

There is a certain mastery in how Maxwell’s stories unfold and then connect. While there is a lot going on in Tessa’s story, it moves in one direction, full steam ahead. Meanwhile, Kitty’s story jumps forward and backward, with bits of information doled out like breadcrumbs that the reader eagerly gobbles up.

While the latter is a longer trip to get to the final destination, the story does come together, but in the magic that belongs to this author, as the pieces begin to fall into place, so does one twist after another. And then, when you think you have your breath back, the story hands you another twist that you will not have seen coming.

The chapters are brief, however, so the plot moves swiftly, and it lives up to its genre of a psychological thriller – it’s packed with tension and, as I mentioned above, will have you GLUED to the edge of your seat. (I did mention there are twists!) The characters are well-drawn – imperfect and yet sympathetic. Tessa is a complicated but likable character; she is driven by curiosity as a filmmaker, and haunted by her past decisions. Kitty is a fascinating character, more so as the story unfolds. Maxwell also does a fantastic job with setting – it’s very visual, moody and creepy.

Her fingers brush the surface of the tarnished brass, but just as she touches the cold metal, a hollow thumping fills the air. Tessa draws back as if she’s been scalded, but the noise doesn’t stop. Instead it grows louder and inexplicably faster, coming from everywhere and nowhere. A rustle of beating wings joins in as a flock of startled birds takes flight somewhere above.

Themes of relationships between sisters, guilt, and forgiveness run through all of the storylines. How far would you go to protect a sibling?

The Caretakers is gripping and twisty to the very last page. I absolutely loved it and knew it was a book I wouldn’t be able to do justice in describing just how good it is.

This book earns a solid five stars from me!


Eliza Maxwell, author of The Caretakers

Eliza Maxwell is the author of The Shadow WriterThe Widow’s WatcherThe Unremembered GirlThe Grave Tender, and The Kinfolk. She writes fiction from her home in Texas, which she shares with her ever-patient husband, two impatient kids, a ridiculous English setter, and a bird named Sarah. An artist and writer, a dedicated introvert, and a British-cop-drama addict, she enjoys nothing more than sitting on the front porch with a good cup of coffee. For more information, visit

Goodreads  ║  Facebook ║  BookBub  ║  Website 
Instagram  ║ Amazon Author Page



ONE WINNER: Signed Copy + $25 Amazon Gift Card
TWO WINNERS: Signed Copy 
APRIL 14-25, 2020
(U.S. Only)

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