Published by Trapeze
Available in ebook, audio and paperback (26 November 2020)
Source: Copy received for review from publisher
ABOUT THE BOOK
When sisters Celine and Pip get a call telling them their reclusive mother has died, the women are reunited at her riverside home in Arundel to pick up the pieces. But someone is missing – their middle sister, Vanessa, brutally murdered years ago and the victim of an unsolved case. As the sisters confront ghosts from the past, the discovery of another body in similar circumstances throws new light on Vanessa’s death.
Could there be more to her case than the police first thought? And what do the mysterious residents of Two Cross Farm, the neighbouring women’s commune, have to do with it?
What secrets are lurking behind their locked gates? And what is the significance of the number 33?
Sisters Celine and Pip are at their mother’s house in Arundel to deal with her belongings and organise her funeral. Neither were close to their mother Delilah after she abandoned them but their mother’s death has brought into focus their sister Vanessa’s murder some years before. Nobody was ever charged and they desperately want closure.
When another body is found nearby in similar circumstances, the links between this death and Vanessa’s can’t be ignored – and there is a common link, the nearby women’s commune at Two Cross Farm with its 33 women and its strict code of conduct.
Helping the sisters at the property is a friend of Delilah’s and of the family, retired police detective Una. Her police connections are a great help, acting as a go-between and joining forces with Celine and Pip in their quest to get their sister’s case reopened.
33 Women is an intriguing story told over different timelines – the past history of the commune and its inhabitants is slowly revealed to show some of those same people in the present day, albeit much older. All the way through I was wondering just what exactly was happening at Two Cross Farm. They guard their secrets closely and the police in particular are not welcome at all. There was something that seemed suspicious about the whole set up particularly when it seemed they were suppressing information. It felt more like a cult, with the founding sisters structure and set routines rather than a straightforward commune. To be allowed to stay, sacrifices had to be made, each woman “must first shed their limpets”, who or whatever they may be”.
33 Women is not a fast paced thriller but instead you are drawn in by the atmospheric detail and the characterisations. Of course there are twists – with subtle strands from earlier in the story being cleverly pulled together at the end, I was left thinking ‘oh why didn’t I think of that’.
This was an interesting and enjoyable read throughout with some parts of the story being quite dark in tone. The commune aspect made it rather different from the other thrillers out there and it certainly isn’t predictable!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
With several critically-acclaimed novels already to her name, Isabel Ashdown first burst onto the thriller scene in 2017 with her Amazon bestseller LITTLE SISTER. She has since seen two of her thrillers shortlisted in the prestigious Dead Good Reader Awards, and her dark family dramas continue to hook readers across the globe.
Isabel was born in London and grew up on the south coast, where she now lives with her family and their two dogs, Charlie and Leonard. She is a full-time novelist, a Royal Literary Fund associate, and a regular creative writing host at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. Her eighth unmissable novel, 33 WOMEN, is out this November.
33 Women is currently 99p to download from Amazon UK