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The Skeleton Tree

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Is Wendy's dream house about to turn into her worst nightmare? From the moment Wendy Thornton first laid eyes on number 37, The Ashes, she knew she had to have it. It may seem neglected on the outside, but Wendy is convinced it's her perfect family home. It just needs to be loved. It needs her. When Wendy receives an unexpected sum of money from her aunt's will, her dre Is Wendy's dream house about to turn into her worst nightmare? From the moment Wendy Thornton first laid eyes on number 37, The Ashes, she knew she had to have it. It may seem neglected on the outside, but Wendy is convinced it's her perfect family home. It just needs to be loved. It needs her. When Wendy receives an unexpected sum of money from her aunt's will, her dream of buying The Ashes becomes a reality. But as Wendy moves in with her young family and starts uncovering its past, she soon learns that The Ashes is hiding a number of dark secrets. Is Wendy's dream house about to become her worst nightmare? As she is drawn further into The Ashes' dark history, Wendy's own life starts to unravel in the most spectacular and devastating way . . .


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Is Wendy's dream house about to turn into her worst nightmare? From the moment Wendy Thornton first laid eyes on number 37, The Ashes, she knew she had to have it. It may seem neglected on the outside, but Wendy is convinced it's her perfect family home. It just needs to be loved. It needs her. When Wendy receives an unexpected sum of money from her aunt's will, her dre Is Wendy's dream house about to turn into her worst nightmare? From the moment Wendy Thornton first laid eyes on number 37, The Ashes, she knew she had to have it. It may seem neglected on the outside, but Wendy is convinced it's her perfect family home. It just needs to be loved. It needs her. When Wendy receives an unexpected sum of money from her aunt's will, her dream of buying The Ashes becomes a reality. But as Wendy moves in with her young family and starts uncovering its past, she soon learns that The Ashes is hiding a number of dark secrets. Is Wendy's dream house about to become her worst nightmare? As she is drawn further into The Ashes' dark history, Wendy's own life starts to unravel in the most spectacular and devastating way . . .

54 review for The Skeleton Tree

  1. 4 out of 5

    ʚϊɞ Shelley's ʚϊɞ Book Nook

    I'm still searching for the words for this review, so bare with me. This book is confusing at the best of times. There are too many characters to keep track of. We don't get to know all of them well, so it's really hard to keep track who is who...I felt lost reading some parts. First there is the main family, then the secondary neighbour/distant cousin of the old owners wanting to know about the house as much as the current owner, then there are the previous owners going back 150 y I'm still searching for the words for this review, so bare with me. This book is confusing at the best of times. There are too many characters to keep track of. We don't get to know all of them well, so it's really hard to keep track who is who...I felt lost reading some parts. First there is the main family, then the secondary neighbour/distant cousin of the old owners wanting to know about the house as much as the current owner, then there are the previous owners going back 150 years or so. I mean YIKES! My overall thoughts on this book are, meh. I think that this author's writing just isn't for me. She writes all over the place, probably intentionally to confuse you. The coming together in the end is a bit a of a mess. I just can't live with the writing style. I guess I can see why some may enjoy it. I, unfortunately didn't. If a slow burner featuring a dysfunctional family and a crumbling mansion with secrets is your cup of tea I say go for it, otherwise look for something else. Cool cover though! Disclosure: Thank you NetGalley, Diane Janes and Canongate Books/Severn House for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an impartial review; all opinions are my own. #SkeletonTreeThe #NetGalley

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bandit

    I’m absolutely delighted to be the first one to review this book, because I really liked it and I can only hope my words will persuade more people to check it out. And to think, I didn’t even expect much out of it. Never heard of the author. Selected it almost strictly by the cover and let’s face it, that’s a great cover and lo and behold the book turned out to be just as good. Way to match the cover appeal. There’s a quality to it, a very specific British darkness that lives in the everyday ord I’m absolutely delighted to be the first one to review this book, because I really liked it and I can only hope my words will persuade more people to check it out. And to think, I didn’t even expect much out of it. Never heard of the author. Selected it almost strictly by the cover and let’s face it, that’s a great cover and lo and behold the book turned out to be just as good. Way to match the cover appeal. There’s a quality to it, a very specific British darkness that lives in the everyday ordinary lives, a slow building dread, a slow boiling pot of normalcy that hits a certain degree and goes ballistic. It involves seemingly nice people who aren’t really all that nice and normal scenery that isn’t really all that normal. In my mind, this is a style most closely associated with the late great Ruth Rendell. Unlikable characters doing increasingly terrible things to each other. And, as it often the case with these things, it all starts with an obsession… The Ashes is a grand old dilapidated place at the end of a quiet street. For sale, but expensive, requiring much work to bring it back to shape, and prohibitive in its innate spookiness, it doesn’t have much of a curb appeal, but for Wendy, it’s a dream come true. She immediately becomes enchanted with it, something neither her spouse nor her three kid share, and when a happy chain of events leads her to have the means to purchase and renovate it, she does. Soon enough The Ashes is alive once again…and maybe entirely touch so. Are there voices in the night? Creaks in the attic? After all, what old place doesn’t have a murderous secret or two. Wendy is determined to know all there is to know about her beloved Ashes, but in following her obsession she ends up driving away all she previously held so dear… Each chapter is prefaced with something like a diary entry chronicling living with a grave and deadly secret, but only at the end do you really find out the details, so there’s a nice plot twist there. But the rest of the novel is more of a drama, family drama, with some slight supernatural aspects and some mystery elements. It’s well crafted, albeit leisurely paced. For me, it read so slowly I suspected the page count to be off, but in a very enjoyable way. I liked the descriptions, The Ashes alone takes up the first 10% easily. The pacing really worked here, though, it’s that kind of a story, Just like the Britishness really worked. Just like setting it back some decades worked, providing certain more traditional family dynamics, which are necessary to the story. It’s bleak, of course, but it’s such a well rendered bleakness. Wendy’s love for The Ashes, like some of the best love stories, is a tragic affair, but it’s such a strangely compelling one. I enjoyed reading it. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley. This and more at https://advancetheplot.weebly.com/

  3. 5 out of 5

    Juli

    I love suspenseful stories that take the every-day and turn it into something extraordinary and disturbing. Wendy Thornton dreamed of an old house that she couldn't afford. She dreamed of renovating it for her family, making it their own. Then miraculously she was suddenly able to afford the home that was out of their price range.... That's when the dream started to become a nightmare. This book wasn't what I expected. I thought it was going to be the story of a creepy house. Instead, it was mor I love suspenseful stories that take the every-day and turn it into something extraordinary and disturbing. Wendy Thornton dreamed of an old house that she couldn't afford. She dreamed of renovating it for her family, making it their own. Then miraculously she was suddenly able to afford the home that was out of their price range.... That's when the dream started to become a nightmare. This book wasn't what I expected. I thought it was going to be the story of a creepy house. Instead, it was more about a bad marriage, family dysfunction, broken dreams, obsession, hidden secrets.... Pretty heavy stuff. The story dragged a bit in places, but I stayed right with it...I wanted to know what happened to the characters. I have to say that most of the main cast are totally self-absorbed and unlikeable. But that's kind of the point, really. I didn't see the end coming. That fact impressed me the most. I enjoyed this book, even though it was not at all what I expected. It's the first book by Diane Janes that I've read. I'm definitely going to read more of her writing. I like her style. This story surprised me...and I look forward to reading more! **I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Severn House. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

  4. 5 out of 5

    Faith Hurst-Bilinski

    I thought I was getting a story of a haunted house. Maybe something old and gothic. Instead I got a story of a bad marriage and a woman obsessed with a house. We are meant to think that the house does this to people but its evil plan is to just make women want to decorate it and keep it the same forever. I was often bored but the story of an annoying woman, her jerk of a husband, her obnoxious teen, and the two other kids who were only there to scream in the middle of the night or hide from thei I thought I was getting a story of a haunted house. Maybe something old and gothic. Instead I got a story of a bad marriage and a woman obsessed with a house. We are meant to think that the house does this to people but its evil plan is to just make women want to decorate it and keep it the same forever. I was often bored but the story of an annoying woman, her jerk of a husband, her obnoxious teen, and the two other kids who were only there to scream in the middle of the night or hide from their parents. I liked the house and I liked the idea of bringing a house back to its glory. It didn't work for me in execution.

  5. 5 out of 5

    tales

    Wendy Thornton has dreamed of living in the The Ashes, an old and in desperate need of a renovation house. The house itself has a troubling history and many have avoided it due to it's age and the unexplained things that happened within the house, but not Wendy. When she and her family come into an unexpected inheritance it allows her to fulfill her dream and she gets to be the owner of The Ashes, but her time in this mysterious and creepy house isn't at all what she had hoped it would be. This Wendy Thornton has dreamed of living in the The Ashes, an old and in desperate need of a renovation house. The house itself has a troubling history and many have avoided it due to it's age and the unexplained things that happened within the house, but not Wendy. When she and her family come into an unexpected inheritance it allows her to fulfill her dream and she gets to be the owner of The Ashes, but her time in this mysterious and creepy house isn't at all what she had hoped it would be. This story is a slow burn that takes its time with unraveling the mystery of The Ashes and what you go through when you live within its walls. Wendy discovers that this house is much more than just an antique, and as she delves into the history of the previous owners and learns about events that seemed to surround this house you get more of an idea of why people kept their distance from The Ashes. I adored the writing in its simplicity and the way that Diana Janes was able to constantly keep you on edge about what was going to happen to Wendy and her family while they lived in the house. I loved the journal entry chapter beginnings that I didn't quite understand until near the end and then had to go back and read them again to really get the impact of what was being said. Fantastic addition! The Skeleton Tree had a nice balance of showing the dynamic between Wendy and her family and how since moving into The Ashes it changed them and having Wendy discovering that the house has had this influence on previous families too. It makes you question what lies beyond the walls and floor boards of this seeming innocent house - but with a name of The Ashes, how could it be anything other than sinister? The novel is set in the 70s and 80s and really delves into the topics of abuse and sexism as a woman in marriage, and how that can affect a person for much longer than they think it does. The Ashes is meant to be the villain of the story, but sometimes its the people who are sleeping next to you. Diane Janes delivers well on displaying Wendy and her husbands domestic issues and the heaviness to it all. The pace of the book was fine for the length. I did find it dragged for a little bit, as this books is more of a human and personal drama rather than an action heavy novel. The ending was bittersweet, but ultimately made sense for the whole of the story. Overall, it's an interesting and compelling story about a woman's struggle with her distant family and a love affair with a house that is hiding secrets that should remain concealed, but as what always happens with these things...nothing stays hidden forever. I would recommend this book if you're not into super scary stuff, but still want a little spookiness in the background. It's more of a drama with a touch of mystery and intrigue. This book is for you! Thanks to Netgalley for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinion!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    A tale of ordinary family life with undertones of something sinister lurking in the background. Set in the 1980's Wendy inherits some cash and is able to achieve her dream of buying an old derelict house with its overgrown garden. What is the history of the old house and its past occupants? How does this history affect Wendy and her family? Stories of missing girls, ghosts and a mysterious narrator who has committed murder. What is going on? I was hooked and the suspense builds to a conclusion whi A tale of ordinary family life with undertones of something sinister lurking in the background. Set in the 1980's Wendy inherits some cash and is able to achieve her dream of buying an old derelict house with its overgrown garden. What is the history of the old house and its past occupants? How does this history affect Wendy and her family? Stories of missing girls, ghosts and a mysterious narrator who has committed murder. What is going on? I was hooked and the suspense builds to a conclusion which I had not anticipated. I'm a big fan of Diane Janes and highly recommend her books, especially this one. Thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for my ARC.

  7. 4 out of 5

    B.S. Casey

    Release Date: Expected 1st June 2021 Genre: Mystery | Thriller | Domestic Horror Wendy always loved the Ashes. The big, old house at the end of the street had fallen into disrepair but she always thought it was beautiful. She had dreamed of living there since she first saw it - and fate has intervened. She's getting a large inheritance from her aunt, the other potential buyers dropped out - and it looks like she can finally get the home of her dreams and create a wonderful life for her family. Her Release Date: Expected 1st June 2021 Genre: Mystery | Thriller | Domestic Horror Wendy always loved the Ashes. The big, old house at the end of the street had fallen into disrepair but she always thought it was beautiful. She had dreamed of living there since she first saw it - and fate has intervened. She's getting a large inheritance from her aunt, the other potential buyers dropped out - and it looks like she can finally get the home of her dreams and create a wonderful life for her family. Her first night in her new home was marked with blood - just a small stain on the floor, an accident with a glass. But nothing compared to what could happen next - as Wendy delves into the history of the house, she finds that death and despair has followed the former residents and she could be next. As Wendy slowly discovers the history of the house it becomes her obsession, much to the distain of her second husband and children. This obsession strips apart the shiny surface of her life bit by bit, showing the tension just waiting to come to the surface. Terrifying house aside, this book showed the horrifying reality of marriage and sexism in the 1970's and just how different things were those fifty years ago. Wendys first husband left her suddenly and their daughter Tara when their relationship turned dangerously toxic and her second husband seems great on the surface to Wendy and their two new children but just like houses, things aren't always what they appear. The first part of this book expertly built up the tension around Wendys seemingly haunted family home then to switch to focusing on the domestic issues which were terrifying in their own way but it made me lose the chills as we progressed further down the story. Nothing happened aside from a few questionably spooky moments until the last few pages where everything spirals suddenly and dramatically out of nowhere to a conclusion that was both obvious and somehow shocking at the same time. A slow-burner about ordinary people living their ordinary lives that slowly twisted and convoluted like the brances of a tree. RATING: ⭐⭐⭐ Thank you to Diane James and Canongate books for an ARC in return for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    AitziST

    Wendy fell in love with the Ashes since the very first time she laid eyes on the building, and fate really wanted her to be in possession of the place. Now, things are happening, things that maybe already happened before, so… Is Wendy’s dream house about to turn into her worst nightmare? When I started reading Diane Janes’ The Skeleton Tree, I was expecting a twist in the haunted house literature. I was not sure whether there would be supernatural elements or not, but I knew there was something Wendy fell in love with the Ashes since the very first time she laid eyes on the building, and fate really wanted her to be in possession of the place. Now, things are happening, things that maybe already happened before, so… Is Wendy’s dream house about to turn into her worst nightmare? When I started reading Diane Janes’ The Skeleton Tree, I was expecting a twist in the haunted house literature. I was not sure whether there would be supernatural elements or not, but I knew there was something with the house’s history and the choosing of that specific name, The Ashes, that would bring me a creepy, tense journey alongside Wendy, Bruce, and the rest of the family. At first, I was really intrigued by what was happening. The story was really slow paced but I did not mind, because I, as Wendy herself, was hypnotized by the house and all the secrets that were lurking inside. If I am honest, was not really interested in some of the other stories going on at the same time, but I thought that, in the end, they would all end up fitting in the puzzle. Sadly, most of them dragged and dragged and never really reached a satisfactory solution. Apart from that, all the shouting and bickering between Wendy and Bruce reached a point where it just felt repetitive and did not add to the story at all. Towards the middle, middle-end of the book, the pace seemed to peak up slow but steadily, but again, it was difficult to keep invested due to all the domestic drama. I really did not know I was in for something like that. (My mistake, not the book’s). The sensation I had when finishing the story was that of having read something that was definitely not what I was looking for but that would appeal to a wide variety of readers who look for some day-to-day story with just a tiny bit of creepy in the background. ***I received a free review copy from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest unedited feedback***

  9. 4 out of 5

    Booklovingscotsman RS Green

    This was mercifully short (216 pages) It had been hailed with words/phrases like ‘mind-blowing twists’ , tricky plot, brave heroes, dastardly villains (all this from the back of the book) - Utter rubbish. If I’m clutching at straws there was a simmering tension in the whole novel but that’s only because as a reader you keep expecting something to happen....a few things do but in better hands this could have been creepy, chilling, nerve inducing and thrilling. I expected this to be like a British ‘ This was mercifully short (216 pages) It had been hailed with words/phrases like ‘mind-blowing twists’ , tricky plot, brave heroes, dastardly villains (all this from the back of the book) - Utter rubbish. If I’m clutching at straws there was a simmering tension in the whole novel but that’s only because as a reader you keep expecting something to happen....a few things do but in better hands this could have been creepy, chilling, nerve inducing and thrilling. I expected this to be like a British ‘Amytiville Horror’ but it wasn’t. It was a slow starter, with mostly unlikeable characters and at best, the last 20/30 pages hold your attention-ish. I do not recommend this and I would avoid this author if I were you. Not even average.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lacey Harrington

    This book takes time to really get the mystery going. Wendy Thornton has the opportunity to buy the house she has loved forever. Settling into the house has been harder than she ever imagined. I enjoyed the fact the author added a diary entry at the beginning of each chapter. #SkeletonTreeThe #NetGalley

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kyndall Williams

    I just could not get into this book for the life of me. The book was very boring to me and overly detailed BUT boring details that didn't even add to the story, making it drag on and making me want to read it even less. This is the 1st book that was a DNF for me, PASS on this one. I just could not get into this book for the life of me. The book was very boring to me and overly detailed BUT boring details that didn't even add to the story, making it drag on and making me want to read it even less. This is the 1st book that was a DNF for me, PASS on this one.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Annarella

    Even if the blurb sounded interesting and some parts are gripping I found the pace to slow and the book didn't keep my attention. Not my cup of tea. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine Even if the blurb sounded interesting and some parts are gripping I found the pace to slow and the book didn't keep my attention. Not my cup of tea. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

  13. 4 out of 5

    Christie

  14. 5 out of 5

    Madee Arbaugh

  15. 5 out of 5

    bonny smith

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gamare

  17. 4 out of 5

    Salibr

  18. 5 out of 5

    Junkyard Attic

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kaili (Owl Book World)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sally

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mark Anthony

  22. 4 out of 5

    Meagan DeGrand

  23. 4 out of 5

    Vapaem

  24. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Sanchez

  25. 4 out of 5

    Baheda

  26. 5 out of 5

    Linda rast

  27. 5 out of 5

    Helen A. Hendrick

  28. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

  29. 5 out of 5

    K

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  31. 4 out of 5

    Crystal Hiatt

  32. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  33. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Jordan

  34. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Centorcelli

  35. 4 out of 5

    Leo

  36. 5 out of 5

    Jill

  37. 5 out of 5

    Lane

  38. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

  39. 4 out of 5

    Vivian

  40. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)

  41. 4 out of 5

    Saana

  42. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  43. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Mensing

  44. 4 out of 5

    Krystin Rachel

  45. 4 out of 5

    Lesley Kay

  46. 5 out of 5

    Nicola Stevenson

  47. 5 out of 5

    Gizem

  48. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  49. 5 out of 5

    Kait Martin

  50. 5 out of 5

    Kisha

  51. 5 out of 5

    Pauline Lang

  52. 4 out of 5

    Maimona Masarwa

  53. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Griffin

  54. 5 out of 5

    Indieflower

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