December 2, 2023

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Reviews, Author Interviews, and Discussion Posts by Susan Crosby

Five Reasons Not To Read The Manor House By Gilly Macmillan

The Manor House By Gilly Macmillan- Summary

Goodreads summary (review below) of The Manor House by Gilly Macmillan:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Nanny and What She Knew comes the terrifying story of what can happen after all your dreams come true

Be careful what you wish for…

Childhood sweethearts Nicole and Tom are a normal, loving couple—until a massive lottery win changes their lives overnight.

Soon they’ve moved into a custom-built state-of-the-art Glass Barn on the stunning grounds of Lancaut Manor in Gloucestershire. They have fancy cars, expensive hobbies, and an exclusive lifestyle they never could have imagined.

But this dream world quickly turns into a nightmare when Tom is found dead in the swimming pool.

Nicole is devastated. Tom is her rock. And their beautiful barn —with all its smart features that never seem to work for her—is beginning to feel very lonely. But she’s not entirely by herself out there in the country. There’s a nice young couple who live in the Manor itself along with their middle-aged housekeeper who has the Coach House. And an old friend of Tom’s from school has turned up to help her get through her grief.

But big money can bring big problems and big threats. Was Tom’s death a tragic accident, or was it something worse? And is her life in danger as well?

Nicole’s beginning to feel like a little fish in a big glass fishbowl.

Surrounded by piranhas.

Reason 1- Characters

Omg. Can I just make a list, or is that cheating? I really don’t care. The Manor House made me violent and afraid ever to read again.

  1. One Dimensional. Like a picture by a Pre-School child.
  2. I love my unlikeable characters in thrillers, but holy execution, Batman. There was no execution. They were horribly written.
  3. The dynamics between the characters really don’t make sense. Even when the mysteries come together, and puzzle pieces fit into place? NO. DAMN. SENSE. Not to mention convenient.
  4. They are absolutely not believable. And you are talking to someone who watched The Walking Dead and loved Captain America: Civil War (good luck figuring that timeline out, but I provided a link should you need a reference- yes, this is characters, not a timeline, but theories are the same). I had no buy-in. Mind control? Okay, I love reading cult books and get how people can become victims to others, whereas this was over the top.

Reason 2- Pacing

Holy flight delays, Batman. If this book were any slower, I would expect it to have mechanical issues. Or that it doesn’t have an airport/airstrip to take off from. Gilly Macmillan had all the pieces for a home run; instead, it was a four-hour baseball game. I mean, one of my favorite plot devices in thrillers is when you have a flashback timeline that you know fits with the present timeline, but you are trying desperately to figure out how. The Manor House HAD that. Yet, Gilly Macmillan epically failed to provide any tension, suspense, or pacing. It is sluggish. No. It is a slug. However, that might not be fair to the slug.

Summary Review

Thank you to William Morrow and HarperAudio for an advanced copy of The Manor House by Gilly Macmillan, which releases on November 7th.

Reasons 3 and 4- Antithesis Of Atmospheric

Please leave me alone. There are two reasons that are connected: The Smart House and The House/Island.

Again, let me repeat: in The Manor House, Gilly Macmillan provided all the pieces needed for a smash. You have a house with multiple residences on a secluded island. This should be fantastic. However, it isn’t. Not only was the house and island not able to add an atmospheric feel to The Manor House, but it was barely a setting. And last I checked? A setting is kind of important. The wasted possibility of a house, let alone a SMART HOUSE on a secluded island, baffles me. Then again, calling it a Smart House might not be fair. It is pretty stupid. And it is stupid at the most convenient times for the plot.

summary review


Reason 5- The Ending (No Spoilers)

This is going to be quick because of spoiler concerns, but let’s talk on a general level.

Part of it was so predictable (the central mystery) that I had it about 10% in, except that it was so obvious I talked myself out of being right. I mean, it couldn’t be, right? It couldn’t be that damn obvious. It was. That obvious. Secondly, not only was it obvious? It was stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stoopid.

Gilly Macmillan

Then, to add salt (HA Because I’m not salty enough) to the wound, the unpredictable parts? STUPID. Plus, there were so many holes in the end that I could drive a Zamboni through them. It’s not really fair to the NHL, but I’m standing in my truth. Loose ends are “tied up” in the most convenient ways possible. And did I mention how stupid it all is?


Okay. That is all I’ve got. I am irritated that I even posted about Gilly Macmillan’s Manor House. Bad enough, I lost time out of my life that I will never get back, reading it. Part of the tag for The Manor House is Be careful what you wish for. I didn’t wish for this.

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