Review – The Caretakers by Eliza Maxwell

The Caretakers book, butterflies and golden leaf

Title: The Caretakers
Author: Eliza Maxwell
Publication date: April 14th 2020
Genre: Mystery thriller

The Caretakers

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.

Are we friends on GoodReads?Book cover of The Caretakers by Eliza Maxwell

Intricate & Mysterious

In this mystery thriller by Eliza Maxwell two storylines are interrelated. Both of the storylines focus on Tessa Shepherd. Tessa is a documentary maker who made a movie about a man, Oliver Barlow, who she believes was wrongly convicted for murder.

And that’s where the first storyline (that reminded me a bit of Making a Murderer) starts. Oliver Barlow is free and Tessa is the hero of this story. She is the one who investigated the case and helped an innocent man take back his life. But just when things are working out, Barlow becomes a suspect in another murder case. And this time Tessa is implicated as a suspect too. Her reputation and believability are crumbling and when she thinks things can’t get any worse, her sister Margot turns up on her doorstep. The sisters haven’t spoken to each other in years and Margot has bad news. Their mother passed away and that is where the second storyline takes off.

Tessa and Margot inherit an isolated and decaying mansion, known as Fallbrook. Tessa decides to go to the mansion to hide from the press and the frustrating situation she’s in. There she meets the two caretakers of Fallbrook, the elderly sisters Kitty and Deirdre Donnelly. Tessa becomes fascinated by the gruesome and violent history of Fallbrook. And she discovers a lot of hidden secrets about her past.

The Caretakers is the first book by Eliza Maxwell that I’ve read and I absolutely loved it. The story is full of intricate twists and turns. There is a lot going on in the story and there are a lot of characters. Sometimes this was a bit confusing, although the writing never felt rushed. In my opinion the two storylines would have made amazing separate novels too. I would have liked more details on the history of Fallbrook, as this was my favorite storyline.

I couldn’t stop reading and I enjoyed the gripping writing and mysterious suspense. Besides the mystery part, this is also a story about sisterhood, friendship, forgiveness, revenge and honesty.

4 out of 5 stars


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Have you read any books by Eliza Maxwell?


Thank you NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for providing me an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This review contains affiliate links. Read my disclaimer.

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  1. I really enjoy thrillers in general but they can get repetitive every now and then, this one sounds like it offers something different in terms of plot and a great debut too! I think I’d like this one a lot x


  2. This sounds like such a gripping read – I love a plot where two storylines are intertwined, you get such a fascinating perspective. Great review, thank you! x

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