The animals at Lockwood Manor

Jane Healey, 1986-

Book - 2020

"A debut novel for fans of Sarah Perry and Kate Morton: when a young woman is tasked with safeguarding a natural history collection as it is spirited out of London during World War II, she discovers her new manor home is a place of secrets and terror instead of protection"--

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Subjects
Genres
Suspense fiction
Thrillers (Fiction)
Published
New York, New York : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2020.
Language
English
Physical Description
340 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN
9780358106401
0358106400
Main Author
Jane Healey, 1986- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

With the enlistment of England's men during WWII, Hetty Cartwright, 30 and ungainly, was granted an unprecedented opportunity. Securing the directorship of a London natural history museum's mammal collection, she oversees its transfer to a location far from German bombing. Yet Lockwood Manor proves anything but safe. It's inhabited by harsh, dismissive Major Lockwood, echoes of his recently deceased wife, and his beautiful, unstable daughter, to whom Hetty is instantly attracted. Danger to the collection is ever-present, from mysterious disappearances to leaking pipes to rowdy partygoers. While Healey (The Beantown Girls, 2019) stretches the plot to the snapping point, her gothic novel ticks the most important box: eerie atmosphere. Although some of the main players in the "mammal collection" aren't actually mammals, namely the hummingbirds, Healey excels at creating disquiet through descriptions of crushed feathers, disintegrating fur, teeth shining in the half-light, and the living creatures that prey upon the taxidermied animals: mice gnawing, insects scrabbling in sawdust innards. Billed for fans of Kate Morton, Healey's novel will offer a satisfying scratch for those with an itch for a gothic read. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

With the enlistment of England's men during WWII, Hetty Cartwright, 30 and ungainly, was granted an unprecedented opportunity. Securing the directorship of a London natural history museum's mammal collection, she oversees its transfer to a location far from German bombing. Yet Lockwood Manor proves anything but safe. It's inhabited by harsh, dismissive Major Lockwood, echoes of his recently deceased wife, and his beautiful, unstable daughter, to whom Hetty is instantly attracted. Danger to the collection is ever-present, from mysterious disappearances to leaking pipes to rowdy partygoers. While Healey (The Beantown Girls, 2019) stretches the plot to the snapping point, her gothic novel ticks the most important box: eerie atmosphere. Although some of the main players in the "mammal collection" aren't actually mammals, namely the hummingbirds, Healey excels at creating disquiet through descriptions of crushed feathers, disintegrating fur, teeth shining in the half-light, and the living creatures that prey upon the taxidermied animals: mice gnawing, insects scrabbling in sawdust innards. Billed for fans of Kate Morton, Healey's novel will offer a satisfying scratch for those with an itch for a gothic read. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Drawing comparison to works by Sarah Perry and Kate Morton, this 1939-set debut novel takes us to Lockwood Manor, which houses a natural history collection sent from London for safekeeping. Thirtyish Hetty Cartwright has been ushered in to tend the collection, a task made harder by the presence of the troubled Lockwood family daughter. Then the animals in the exhibit appear to move. Healey was short-listed for Bristol, Costa, and Commonwealth short story honors. Copyright 2019 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

DEBUT In 1939 England, owing to the bombings in London, Hetty Cartwright is sent to isolated Lockwood Manor in the English countryside with a collection of taxidermied mammals from a natural history museum. She is to live at the house and make sure no harm comes to the collection. The owner of the manor, Major Lockwood, is openly hostile and offensive, while his daughter Lucy suffers from terrible nightmares and can be heard screaming in the night. Even the few remaining servants do not want a stranger disrupting their routines. Hetty soon realizes that protecting the collection will not be easy. Specimens are moved during the night, some disappear, and others are vandalized. A growing friendship between Lucy and Hetty is threatened by long-held secrets that, if revealed, will sever the thread that holds the household together. Alternating chapters told from Lucy's point of view supply the backstory of this gothic tale of hauntings, secrets, and madness—a creative device that adds tension and suspense. Atmospheric details of the manor make it a central character. VERDICT Recommended for fans of Lauren A. Forry, Sarah Perry, and gothic suspense. [See Prepub Alert, 9/16/19.]—Jean King, West Hempstead P.L., NY Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Healey animates the dusty halls of an old English manor house during Hitler's bombing blitz in her impassioned if mannered debut. Assigned to safeguard a London museum's taxidermied specimens during the Luftwaffe bombing campaign, assistant curator Hetty Cartwright accompanies the collection to the countryside. Lockwood Manor, home of Lord Lockwood, aka the major, though, is an ominous refuge. The house's occupants include the major's frail, grown daughter Lucy, whom he suggests should "not to be troubled with too many difficulties or dramas," and their few remaining servants, and Healey conjures an eerie vibe with empty rooms and bricked-up dead end passageways. Each night, the museum's animals seem to move on their own, shifting from rooms and cabinets, even disappearing. As Hetty and Lucy become close, Lucy shares stories about her mother's descent into madness, evoking the Victorian theme of the madwoman in the attic and revealing the truth behind her unhealthy state. The story's satisfying conclusion redeems the creaky period prose ("I cared not a jot"). This will be of interest for fans of revisionist gothic narratives in the vein of Sarah Perry's Melmoth. (Mar.) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"A debut novel for fans of Sarah Perry and Kate Morton: when a young woman is tasked with safeguarding a natural history collection as it is spirited out of London during World War II, she discovers her new manor home is a place of secrets and terror instead of protection"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Safeguarding a natural history museum collection that has been relocated to a country manor during World War II, Hetty finds herself stalked by an unknown thief who tests the limits of her sanity. A first novel. 40,000 first printing. Illustrations.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A debut novel for fans of Sarah Perry and Kate Morton: when a young woman is tasked with safeguarding a natural history collection as it is spirited out of London during World War II, she discovers her new manor home is a place of secrets and terror instead of protection.In August 1939, thirty-year-old Hetty Cartwright arrives at Lockwood Manor to oversee a natural history museum collection, whose contents have been taken out of London for safekeeping. She is unprepared for the scale of protecting her charges from party guests, wild animals, the elements, the tyrannical Major Lockwood and Luftwaffe bombs. Most of all, she is unprepared for the beautiful and haunted Lucy Lockwood. For Lucy, who has spent much of her life cloistered at Lockwood suffering from bad nerves, the arrival of the museum brings with it new freedoms. But it also resurfaces memories of her late mother, and nightmares in which Lucy roams Lockwood hunting for something she has lost. When the animals appear to move of their own accord, and exhibits go missing, they begin to wonder what exactly it is that they might need protection from. And as the disasters mount up, it is not only Hetty’s future employment that is in danger, but her own sanity too. There’s something, or someone, in the house. Someone stalking her through its darkened corridors . . .

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A debut novel for fans of Sarah Perry and Kate Morton: when a young woman is tasked with safeguarding a natural history collection as it is spirited out of London during World War II, she discovers her new manor home is a place of secrets and terror instead of protection.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

A debut novel for fans of Sarah Perry and Kate Morton: when a young woman is tasked with safeguarding a natural history collection as it is spirited out of London during World War II, she discovers her new manor home is a place of secrets and terror instead of protection.In August 1939, thirty-year-old Hetty Cartwright arrives at Lockwood Manor to oversee a natural history museum collection, whose contents have been taken out of London for safekeeping. She is unprepared for the scale of protecting her charges from party guests, wild animals, the elements, the tyrannical Major Lockwood and Luftwaffe bombs. Most of all, she is unprepared for the beautiful and haunted Lucy Lockwood. For Lucy, who has spent much of her life cloistered at Lockwood suffering from bad nerves, the arrival of the museum brings with it new freedoms. But it also resurfaces memories of her late mother, and nightmares in which Lucy roams Lockwood hunting for something she has lost. When the animals appear to move of their own accord, and exhibits go missing, they begin to wonder what exactly it is that they might need protection from. And as the disasters mount up, it is not only Hetty's future employment that is in danger, but her own sanity too. There's something, or someone, in the house. Someone stalking her through its darkened corridors . . .

Review by Publisher Summary 6

A debut novel for fans of Sarah Perry and Kate Morton: when a young woman is tasked with safeguarding a natural history collection as it is spirited out of London during World War II, she discovers her new manor home is a place of secrets and terror instead of protection.

Review by Publisher Summary 7

A debut novel for fans of Sarah Perry and Kate Morton: when a young woman is tasked with safeguarding a natural history collection as it is spirited out of London during World War II, she discovers her new manor home is a place of secrets and terror instead of protection.In August 1939, thirty-year-old Hetty Cartwright arrives at Lockwood Manor to oversee a natural history museum collection, whose contents have been taken out of London for safekeeping. She is unprepared for the scale of protecting her charges from party guests, wild animals, the elements, the tyrannical Major Lockwood and Luftwaffe bombs. Most of all, she is unprepared for the beautiful and haunted Lucy Lockwood. For Lucy, who has spent much of her life cloistered at Lockwood suffering from bad nerves, the arrival of the museum brings with it new freedoms. But it also resurfaces memories of her late mother, and nightmares in which Lucy roams Lockwood hunting for something she has lost. When the animals appear to move of their own accord, and exhibits go missing, they begin to wonder what exactly it is that they might need protection from. And as the disasters mount up, it is not only Hetty’s future employment that is in danger, but her own sanity too. There’s something, or someone, in the house. Someone stalking her through its darkened corridors . . .