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The Cursed Girls

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Megan Melvick has returned home after a three-year absence to visit her dying sister, Melissa, for the last time. As she approaches the grand Scottish country estate where she grew up, the memories come flooding back. Just what did happen on the night of Melissa's wedding five years before? Where has Megan and Melissa's mother disappeared to? And why does Melissa whisper t Megan Melvick has returned home after a three-year absence to visit her dying sister, Melissa, for the last time. As she approaches the grand Scottish country estate where she grew up, the memories come flooding back. Just what did happen on the night of Melissa's wedding five years before? Where has Megan and Melissa's mother disappeared to? And why does Melissa whisper that solitary word before she finally slips away: Sorry. In order to overcome her demons, Megan must confront her painful recollections of that terrible night, the night of Melissa's wedding. The night somebody died. But can she really trust her memories? And who is so determined that she should forget?


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Megan Melvick has returned home after a three-year absence to visit her dying sister, Melissa, for the last time. As she approaches the grand Scottish country estate where she grew up, the memories come flooding back. Just what did happen on the night of Melissa's wedding five years before? Where has Megan and Melissa's mother disappeared to? And why does Melissa whisper t Megan Melvick has returned home after a three-year absence to visit her dying sister, Melissa, for the last time. As she approaches the grand Scottish country estate where she grew up, the memories come flooding back. Just what did happen on the night of Melissa's wedding five years before? Where has Megan and Melissa's mother disappeared to? And why does Melissa whisper that solitary word before she finally slips away: Sorry. In order to overcome her demons, Megan must confront her painful recollections of that terrible night, the night of Melissa's wedding. The night somebody died. But can she really trust her memories? And who is so determined that she should forget?

30 review for The Cursed Girls

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ceecee

    Megan Melvick returns to her Scottish island based ancestral home to say her goodbyes to her dying sister Melissa. This is a family that has had more than it’s fair share of tragedies such as one five years ago at Melissa’s wedding in which someone dies, there have been suicides and for the last three years their mother Beth has been missing. Will the many demons that Megan is carrying be finally laid to rest? First of all, I really enjoy seeing the dark pieces of the Melvick family jigsaw slot Megan Melvick returns to her Scottish island based ancestral home to say her goodbyes to her dying sister Melissa. This is a family that has had more than it’s fair share of tragedies such as one five years ago at Melissa’s wedding in which someone dies, there have been suicides and for the last three years their mother Beth has been missing. Will the many demons that Megan is carrying be finally laid to rest? First of all, I really enjoy seeing the dark pieces of the Melvick family jigsaw slot into place through Megan’s eyes. She is fascinating and her growing insights give us a really good picture of the events of the last twenty years or so. I like her humour especially on Heather (the Plether) who is trying to fill Beth’s obviously expensive boots/shoes and get her own quite well shod feet under the wealthy Melvick table. The characters are good although not necessarily likeable or even trustworthy and in fact it’s very hard to determine in whom to place your trust. The storytelling is full of atmosphere on this small island (I’m imagining Arran or Bute), we have an old house, family portraits with beady ancestral eyes seemingly observing the proceedings (if only they could talk!), ghostly presences, circling rooks the harbingers of doom, faery pools and creepy Tenton Woods which are as dark and forbidden as the mysterious past. There’s a building toxic atmosphere growing, an air of malevolent uncertainty. This is a family that has controlled its secrets but they can remain contained no longer. I like the way the conclusion and outcome builds and there’s a clever nod to Agatha in the Christiesque summoning to the Drawing Room by the investigating detective thus confronting the suspects just as the Queen of Crime would have done. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery which is a compelling, well written novel. This sure is one dysfunctional family! With thanks to NetGalley and Blackthorn for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    This is a Thriller. I have to say this book pull me into it, and the storyline made me kept reading it. I found the characters to be a little bit weird, but I think the storyline wanted them to be like that. I did enjoyed reading this book, and I found the ending good. I did not find the ending to have this big twist or super great. I have to say I found this a very good read, and I really enjoyed reading it. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (Black Thorn) or author ( This is a Thriller. I have to say this book pull me into it, and the storyline made me kept reading it. I found the characters to be a little bit weird, but I think the storyline wanted them to be like that. I did enjoyed reading this book, and I found the ending good. I did not find the ending to have this big twist or super great. I have to say I found this a very good read, and I really enjoyed reading it. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (Black Thorn) or author (Caro Ramsay) via NetGalley, so I can give honest review about how I feel about this book. I want to send a big Thank you to them for that.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    This was my first book by Caro Ramsay. Thanks to PGC Books and Blackthorn Books for my gifted copy! Megan Melvick returns home to her families Scottish estate, The Italian House. It's been three years since she left Benbrae. With the news of her dying sister, she's home to say goodbye. But coming back to this place brings unhappy memories along with it. Since Megan was little, Benbrae has been a place of misfortune and loss. There's a curse that hangs over the isolated estate. This was an enjoyab This was my first book by Caro Ramsay. Thanks to PGC Books and Blackthorn Books for my gifted copy! Megan Melvick returns home to her families Scottish estate, The Italian House. It's been three years since she left Benbrae. With the news of her dying sister, she's home to say goodbye. But coming back to this place brings unhappy memories along with it. Since Megan was little, Benbrae has been a place of misfortune and loss. There's a curse that hangs over the isolated estate. This was an enjoyable read. I thought the writing was good and liked the storyline. I think some of the characters could have used just a little more development. It also felt more mystery than thriller in my opinion.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    The Cursed Girls is a standalone thriller revolving around the Melvick family and the plethora of terrible incidents that have happened to them over the years. Megan Melvick still remembers her fourth birthday and not for joyous, happy reasons. She had followed her beloved grandfather down to the pond at the end of a dark path and found that he'd tragically hanged himself but someone else was there too and they had given him some help it seems; what a terrible image for a child to see. Megan has The Cursed Girls is a standalone thriller revolving around the Melvick family and the plethora of terrible incidents that have happened to them over the years. Megan Melvick still remembers her fourth birthday and not for joyous, happy reasons. She had followed her beloved grandfather down to the pond at the end of a dark path and found that he'd tragically hanged himself but someone else was there too and they had given him some help it seems; what a terrible image for a child to see. Megan has returned home after a three-year absence to visit her dying sister, Melissa, for the last time as she is about to pass away from complications caused by anorexia. As she approaches the grand Scottish country estate where she grew up, the memories come flooding back. Just what did happen on the night of Melissa's wedding five years before? Where has Megan and Melissa's mother disappeared to? And why does Melissa whisper that solitary word before she finally slips away: Sorry. In order to overcome her demons, Megan must confront her painful recollections of that terrible night, the night of Melissa's wedding when Megan slept with Melissa's new husband, Jago, on their wedding day. The night somebody died. But can she really trust her memories? And who is so determined that she should forget? This is a riveting read from start to finish about a dysfunctional family who appear to have gone through more than most but some of it they brought on themselves. Between the Melvick’s, their staff and other people frequently around them, there is a large cast of characters and with most of them being minor, so not as developed as the others, you need to get them straight in your head. Once you have you fly through the pacy story and become so immersed and compelled to read on that it's tough to put down. Alternating between Megan and friend Carla, who died 3 years ago, this is a compulsive, absorbing and well-written thriller.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Guylou (Two Dogs and a Book)

    📚 Hello Book Friends! It might have been the wrong time to read THE CURSED GIRLS by Caro Ramsay. I had a hard time getting into the story. The way the book started, I expected a horror book, but as I read, I realized that it was a crime fiction. The writing is good, but the characters lacked definitions. The story hooked me at the start, but I felt lost quickly, and had to force myself to finish the book. The ending brought the story together well enough. #bookstadog #poodles #poodlestagram #pood 📚 Hello Book Friends! It might have been the wrong time to read THE CURSED GIRLS by Caro Ramsay. I had a hard time getting into the story. The way the book started, I expected a horror book, but as I read, I realized that it was a crime fiction. The writing is good, but the characters lacked definitions. The story hooked me at the start, but I felt lost quickly, and had to force myself to finish the book. The ending brought the story together well enough. #bookstadog #poodles #poodlestagram #poodlesofinstagram #furbabies #dogsofinstagram #bookstagram #dogsandbooks #bookishlife #bookishlove #bookstagrammer #books #booklover #bookish #bookaholic #reading #readersofinstagram #instaread #ilovebooks #bookishcanadians #canadianbookstagram #bookreviewer #bookcommunity #bibliophile #thecursedgirls #caroramsay #raincoastbooks #blackthornbooks #bookreview #canadianbookishlovers

  6. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Once I figured out this was a mystery, not necessarily a thriller, I was able to settle in and let the story unfold. It did begin slowly for me, and not until about halfway through did it pick up. Expectations are everything, right?! This is a mystery involving a messed up wealthy family in Scotland. The protagonist, Megan, travels home where her mom disappeared years ago and her best friend was killed in a horrible manner, to hear her dying sister's last word, "Sorry." I wasn't sure if this was Once I figured out this was a mystery, not necessarily a thriller, I was able to settle in and let the story unfold. It did begin slowly for me, and not until about halfway through did it pick up. Expectations are everything, right?! This is a mystery involving a messed up wealthy family in Scotland. The protagonist, Megan, travels home where her mom disappeared years ago and her best friend was killed in a horrible manner, to hear her dying sister's last word, "Sorry." I wasn't sure if this was the mystery for a long while, and I won't spoil anything, or if the horrific death of Megan's friend Carla was and if/how they were related. Since I relate well to a younger sister who always seemed in the spotlight, I thought it would connect better with me. The use of mental health issues brought a sense of question and tension, and a psychological aspect that I thought I would enjoy more. This all seems very negative, but really I just had super high expectations and it didn't quite hit that mark for me. It was a good mystery story with some interesting characters, and a bit of a surprise end, though some aspects of it were anticlimactic for me. Overall good read. Thanks to NetGalley and Black Thorn for granting me this ebook. This honest review is my thanks!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 Megan Melvick has returned home after a three year absence to visit her dying sister, Melissa, for the last time. As she approaches the grand Scottish country estate where she grew up, memories come flooding back. Just what did happen on Melissa's wedding night five years ago? Where has Megan and Melissa's mother disappeared to? And why did Melissa whisper that solitary word before she finally slips away: Sorry. It looks like the family has been cursed: Melissa is dying, 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 Megan Melvick has returned home after a three year absence to visit her dying sister, Melissa, for the last time. As she approaches the grand Scottish country estate where she grew up, memories come flooding back. Just what did happen on Melissa's wedding night five years ago? Where has Megan and Melissa's mother disappeared to? And why did Melissa whisper that solitary word before she finally slips away: Sorry. It looks like the family has been cursed: Melissa is dying, Megan is deaf, the mother has left, her papa hung himself and her best friend Carla was killed in an explosion. This is a fast paces read that's filled with suspense. It's also more of a mystery than a thriller. The story is told from Megan and Carla's perspectives. The characters are well developed but not all of them are likable. I quite enjoyed this standalone about a dysfunctional family. I would like to thank #NetGalley #Cannongate and the author #CaroRamsay for my ARC of #TheCursedGirls in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    For me The Cursed Girls had the potential to be a great book but I’m totally in the fence with this one. Whilst I didn’t dislike it, I didn’t particularly like it either. I’m not sure if it was the writing style or what but it just didn’t do it for me. I would rate this book 2.5 stars but have rounded up to three as I did want to finish it. Thank you to NetGalley, Canongate and the author for the chance to review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    bookcaked

    The Cursed Girls focuses on a wealthy Scottish family haunted by curse: many of those in their family succumb to ‘madness’ and many have died, or committed suicide. Many of the characters are women, and the first half of the book had some good gothic tones/tension, but that was lost for me as the story progressed. I found many of the female characters weren’t explored well. There is a large presence of mental health, mental health issues, and specifically DID, or Dissociative Identity Disorder. F The Cursed Girls focuses on a wealthy Scottish family haunted by curse: many of those in their family succumb to ‘madness’ and many have died, or committed suicide. Many of the characters are women, and the first half of the book had some good gothic tones/tension, but that was lost for me as the story progressed. I found many of the female characters weren’t explored well. There is a large presence of mental health, mental health issues, and specifically DID, or Dissociative Identity Disorder. From a psych perspective, I am so tired of seeing this as a trope in crime, this specific disorder, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed. Due to its recent and frequent appearance in many crimes, I immediately found myself losing some interest. I enjoyed the setting of the tale and I usually enjoy complex family history, but this one wasn’t for me. Thank you to NetGalley and Canongate Books US for the ARC.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Story is padded and too confusing😟 2.5🌟 stars I originally chose to read this book because of the Scottish setting and the plot seemed intriguing. What I found was a story that was confusing, filled with unnecessary trivia and marginally enjoyable. I did not find any of the characters sympathetic. The end was better than the first half but not by much. And the story finished on a bit of a whimper after a drawing room scene to expose the villain in a manner reminiscent of a classic Christie whoduni Story is padded and too confusing😟 2.5🌟 stars I originally chose to read this book because of the Scottish setting and the plot seemed intriguing. What I found was a story that was confusing, filled with unnecessary trivia and marginally enjoyable. I did not find any of the characters sympathetic. The end was better than the first half but not by much. And the story finished on a bit of a whimper after a drawing room scene to expose the villain in a manner reminiscent of a classic Christie whodunit. Most troublesome for me was the sudden, partial immersion at the start into a bunch of characters and events and no explanation of why they were interconnected and relevant. Then there was a very fungible timeline where ages and dates were inconsistent , moving and shifting constantly. Add in the change in point of view from Megan, the youngest daughter in a troubled wealthy family, to Carla, who apparently died three years before the story's start: too odd and confusing. And the Scottish setting -- not really very relevant, which was a disappointment for me. There's also a macabre story about rooks and the house that just seemed downright weird and gratuitously violent. Based on this example, I don't think this author's work is my cup of tea. Thanks to Canongate/Black Thorn publishers and NetGalley for providing a complimentary advance copy of the book; this is my voluntary and honest opinion.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Noirita (inoirita)

    A family story that revolves around a very unfortunate family living in a sort of a cursed place? Yes please! I was very intrigued by the blurb of the novel and I knew I had to read it. The plot unfolds when Megan Melvick, the younger daughter of the Melvick family returns to her family home in Scotland to see her sister, Melissa for the last time before she dies. The family had to go through a lot of tragedies and are on the way of collapsing. In Melissa's wedding a few years ago, there was a d A family story that revolves around a very unfortunate family living in a sort of a cursed place? Yes please! I was very intrigued by the blurb of the novel and I knew I had to read it. The plot unfolds when Megan Melvick, the younger daughter of the Melvick family returns to her family home in Scotland to see her sister, Melissa for the last time before she dies. The family had to go through a lot of tragedies and are on the way of collapsing. In Melissa's wedding a few years ago, there was a death and the family had to endure the pain of losing it's members by suicide, a child watching the hanged body of it's grandparent will forever be imprinted on the young mind. Megan and Melissa's mother has been missing for three years- it is astonishing that the living family members are holding their sanity after one tragedy after tragedy. The dysfunction family has no members that one can put their trust on. The reader will not be able to guess who committed the crimes and will be enticed in the dark brooding atmosphere of the novel. A once beautiful but now decaying house, filled with family portraits of the dead ones as if they are looking over the living members in a not very guardian angel way adds to the spookiness of the plot. There are supernatural presences and a mysterious forbidden woods that's like icing on the already eerie atmosphere. Megan comes back to face all the demons of her past and to investigate all the unfortunate happenings to the family. The characters are untrustworthy, unlikeable but well constructed. With the dark setting and the darker characters it was a fast paced good one time read for me! I had received an e-ARC from Netgalley and Blackthorn. All opinions are my own.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Martha Brindley

    This is a really good tale of a privileged but dysfunctional family, living on a Scottish estate. The book focuses on women and the hardships they encountered in life. It's a psychological mystery, filled with twists, good characterisation and an interesting storyline. Told from two points of view, Megan and Carla's, both of whom I failed to like and overall, an enjoyable read. Thanks to Net Galley for my ARC. This is a really good tale of a privileged but dysfunctional family, living on a Scottish estate. The book focuses on women and the hardships they encountered in life. It's a psychological mystery, filled with twists, good characterisation and an interesting storyline. Told from two points of view, Megan and Carla's, both of whom I failed to like and overall, an enjoyable read. Thanks to Net Galley for my ARC.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Not another of Caro Ramsay’s Anderson and Costello series but a standalone story of a privileged Scottish dysfunctional family, dealing with disappearance and death. When Megan Melvick returns home to the family estate, Benbrae, to bid her dying sister goodbye, she is unsettled. Not only by her sister’s final whispered word - ‘Sorry’ - but also by the presence of her absent mother’s close friend, Heather. Does the latter have designs on Megan’s father? ‘The Cursed Girls’ focuses on women whose li Not another of Caro Ramsay’s Anderson and Costello series but a standalone story of a privileged Scottish dysfunctional family, dealing with disappearance and death. When Megan Melvick returns home to the family estate, Benbrae, to bid her dying sister goodbye, she is unsettled. Not only by her sister’s final whispered word - ‘Sorry’ - but also by the presence of her absent mother’s close friend, Heather. Does the latter have designs on Megan’s father? ‘The Cursed Girls’ focuses on women whose lives have been blighted in some way. However, their stories, and the novel as a whole, failed to hold my attention, perhaps because some of the issues raised have been explored engagingly in other recent psychological thrillers. I also feel that the influence of the past on the villain’s behaviour is skimmed over a little too simplistically. Difficult to write more without dropping plot spoilers. My thanks to NetGalley and Black Thorn for a copy of this novel in exchange for a fair review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Collins

    The Cursed Girls is a really atmospheric psychological thriller by Caro Ramsay. I loved the Scottish Island setting, which gave the book a very mysterious and almost mystical feel, particularly with the mention of the faerie pools. There is a gripping mystery that pulled me into the book, and I devoured it in just a couple of sittings. Megan is such an intriguing character. She is returning to her childhood home following the death of her sister Melissa five years earlier. When they were childre The Cursed Girls is a really atmospheric psychological thriller by Caro Ramsay. I loved the Scottish Island setting, which gave the book a very mysterious and almost mystical feel, particularly with the mention of the faerie pools. There is a gripping mystery that pulled me into the book, and I devoured it in just a couple of sittings. Megan is such an intriguing character. She is returning to her childhood home following the death of her sister Melissa five years earlier. When they were children, their mother also disappeared. Their mother’s disappearance has never been solved, and it has haunted the family for years. I loved the atmospheric feel to this book, which added gloominess to the setting and a menacing tone. Caro Ramsay brings the Island setting to life really well. I felt as though I was there as I was reading. It felt very isolated and very foreboding. There are talks of a curse upon Megan’s family. I love anything with a slight hint of the supernatural weaved into the plot; it gives the story a really chilling tone. The disappearance of Megan’s mother and what happened to her sister confirms the belief for Megan that there is a curse placed on her family. There isn’t a big supernatural element here in this book, but there is a hint which adds to the suspense and the atmosphere. I wanted to know what had happened to Megan’s mother and what happened on the day of her sister’s wedding. This book is shrouded in mystery, and the writing kept me hooked as I flew through it to find out what happened and what was going on. I felt Megan was a character who I could never entirely trust. I felt that there were some things about her past which she was holding back. I liked how Caro Ramsay took us into the minds of several characters, and I was particularly intrigued by the voice of Megan’s friend. There is quite a difference between the two friends. Carla comes through as a much stronger individual than Megan. I found some parts told from her point of view chilling. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Cursed Girls. Caro Ramsay is a new author to me, and I will definitely be catching on what I have missed. If you enjoy reading novels with a dark and menacing atmosphere, then you need to add this book to your TBR pile.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jaffareadstoo

    From the start of The Cursed Girls novel there is a real sense of atmosphere and a dark, brooding presence which lingers throughout the whole of the story which opens in 2004 with an intriguing and rather sad prologue, only for us then to be whisked straight into 2019 as Megan Melvick returns to the family home after an absence of three years. That this return home is filled with trepidation is heightened when we realise that Megan is only back at the house because her sister, Melissa is dying. From the start of The Cursed Girls novel there is a real sense of atmosphere and a dark, brooding presence which lingers throughout the whole of the story which opens in 2004 with an intriguing and rather sad prologue, only for us then to be whisked straight into 2019 as Megan Melvick returns to the family home after an absence of three years. That this return home is filled with trepidation is heightened when we realise that Megan is only back at the house because her sister, Melissa is dying. The brooding Italian House on the Benbrae Estate, in Scotland, is where Megan and Melissa spent their idyllic childhood, running wild in Tentor Wood, dogs yapping at their heels, however, there are also secrets about their time here, and a there is hint towards Benbrae's shadowy past which runs right into the present time. The story moves with languid ease revealing snippets of a mystery which broods with menace especially as there is a third player in this game of secrets, a distinct voice which is clearly troubled and who has much to to reveal. The author writes well, gradually building the tension, and maintaining the sense of family complexity, until it is hard to determine who is truthful and who is perhaps hiding something truly awful. I particularly enjoyed getting to know more about Megan, she's a troubled soul, with a bruised vulnerability which makes her involvement in the story all the more poignant and it is her presence which resonates throughout the whole of The Cursed Girls. Whilst the author is perhaps best known for her well established Anderson and Costello crime series, this standalone psychological suspense story has a similar dark edge but is very much a success in its own genre.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    Having previously enjoyed her Glasgow-based Anderson and Costello detective series, I thought I’d give this standalone psychological thriller by Caro Ramsey a try. The Cursed Girls is very different but equally compelling. Set on a country estate in the west of Scotland, overlooking the Holy Loch, this story takes us behind the scenes at the Melvick family ancestral home, the Italian House. After an absence of three years, Megan has returned to say goodbye to her older sister Melissa who is dyin Having previously enjoyed her Glasgow-based Anderson and Costello detective series, I thought I’d give this standalone psychological thriller by Caro Ramsey a try. The Cursed Girls is very different but equally compelling. Set on a country estate in the west of Scotland, overlooking the Holy Loch, this story takes us behind the scenes at the Melvick family ancestral home, the Italian House. After an absence of three years, Megan has returned to say goodbye to her older sister Melissa who is dying; their relationship had always been difficult, but her father was keen for her to return. There are a lot of unsolved mysteries surrounding this family, who believe themselves to be cursed, and a sense that everyone has something to hide. Why did Megan lose her hearing as a small child (she was not born deaf), where did her mother go when she vanished all those years ago, and who caused the fatal explosion at Melissa’s wedding? The story is told from Megan’s point of view, with flashbacks from Carla, and they have very different narrative voices. Megan is trusting and naïve, and believes everything people tell her; Carla is tough, streetwise and trusts nobody. This way we get a much fuller picture of what went on. The Cursed Girls is well written, with believable fully fleshed out characters and a wonderfully atmospheric setting in the wilds of Argyllshire. The slow beginning sets the scene, and the build-up of tension as secrets are gradually revealed lead to a kind of Agatha-Christie-style finale where DS Murray brings everyone together to reveal what he has discovered; there are other references to her as well if you know what you’re looking for. Throughout the book there is a sense that nothing is as it seems on the surface. It starts off with a lot of questions, and under each layer that is revealed there is another, and another, until we finally get to the truth. I enjoyed this story immensely and kept on reading it late into the night. Thanks to Black Thorn, Canongate and NetGalley for a digital copy to review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Claire | blondebookreview

    Now THIS was some psychological suspense. I will say I went into this completely blind. I read the quick synopsis but that was about it. I haven’t read any other of Ramsey’s books so this was my first. Set in Scotland, Megan comes back to the estate she grew up on 5 years after her friends death, 3 after her mother walked out, and will be saying goodbye to her older sister at any moment. It’s safe to say tragedy follows the Melvick family including Megan, who’s family did not discover she was de Now THIS was some psychological suspense. I will say I went into this completely blind. I read the quick synopsis but that was about it. I haven’t read any other of Ramsey’s books so this was my first. Set in Scotland, Megan comes back to the estate she grew up on 5 years after her friends death, 3 after her mother walked out, and will be saying goodbye to her older sister at any moment. It’s safe to say tragedy follows the Melvick family including Megan, who’s family did not discover she was deaf until she was four years old. With Megan’s return home memories are drudged up as well as many questions surrounding them. We find Megan to be an unreliable narrator with a history of mental illness. We also get the perspective of her friend Carla in both past and present timelines. As more memories unfold and secrets are revealed we learn whether the Melvick women really are cursed or if there’s more to it. I really enjoyed this one. It definitely had a slow start and took me awhile to get into it, but around chapter 10 I was engrossed. Ramsey does a great job of giving you information to figure out without giving too much away. I can truly say I had no idea what was going on and found everyone to be suspicious. As everything was being revealed in the last few chapters I found myself having to play close attention and even needing to reread some pages as Ramsey unfurled the story. A lot of things are strongly inferred and instead of stated as fact. The air of mystery was held throughout the whole story. This was great twist on a suspicious and well-off family with a long history if tragedy.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ariail Heath

    This is a twisty turner book that will have you walking through the mind of Megan Melvick. Having just returned to her family's estate "The Italian House." To say that Megan is resistant to return home is a full blown understatement. The Melvick family has an impeding haze of death around them that has taken Megan's grandfather, best friend, and now her older sister Melissa. With more questions than answers going through Megan's head she wonders most importantly if her mother, who walked out on This is a twisty turner book that will have you walking through the mind of Megan Melvick. Having just returned to her family's estate "The Italian House." To say that Megan is resistant to return home is a full blown understatement. The Melvick family has an impeding haze of death around them that has taken Megan's grandfather, best friend, and now her older sister Melissa. With more questions than answers going through Megan's head she wonders most importantly if her mother, who walked out on them three years before, will return for the funeral? Megan's delicate mental state and trying to keep herself stable during a trying time appears to get harder and harder the more time passes in the house. This is a very well written book and all of your answers are given by the end but it just didn't excite me quite the way I wanted it to. I think if you are targeting something with good character development you should definitely jump into this though. Thank you to Caro Ramsay, Canongate, and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Tomasso

    I would like to thank Netgalley and Black Thorn for an advance copy of The Cursed Girls, a stand-alone psychological thriller set on a family estate on the West Coast of Scotland. Megan Melvick returns home to the estate she fled three years earlier because her sister is dying. Megan feels like an outsider, her mother left just before she did and hasn’t been heard from again, her deafness means she doesn’t catch everything being said and there are too many secrets. I thoroughly enjoyed The Cursed I would like to thank Netgalley and Black Thorn for an advance copy of The Cursed Girls, a stand-alone psychological thriller set on a family estate on the West Coast of Scotland. Megan Melvick returns home to the estate she fled three years earlier because her sister is dying. Megan feels like an outsider, her mother left just before she did and hasn’t been heard from again, her deafness means she doesn’t catch everything being said and there are too many secrets. I thoroughly enjoyed The Cursed Girls which is a mesmerising tale of secrets, lies and misinterpretations. I wasn’t sure of what I was going to get with this novel as it isn’t my usual fare, but Ms Ramsay’s name was enough to give it a try and I’m so glad I did. I was blown away by the mystery, the execution and the characters. Where to start? The novel is told alternately from Megan and her best friend Carla’s points of view. Megan is somewhat naïve and trusting, living in a bubble and floating through life, taking what she’s told at face value. Carla, on the other hand, is tough, street smart, slightly anarchic, due to a troubled upbringing, and very funny in her acerbic, sometimes bawdy take on life and analysis of events . Their present day is tied up in the past so they both muse over past seminal events to try and make sense of the present. I found the contrast between their two strong voices fascinating and compulsive. All, however, is not as it initially seems so there are plenty of twists and surprises for the reader. The novel is very well paced with hints and reveals in every chapter and I found myself analysing every little snippet for a clue about what was going on. I can’t say that my analysis took me very far as there is always a new reveal to supersede any line I thought I might have. There is a denouement in the novel, but it doesn’t seem so important in comparison with all the secrets that are laid bare and the home truths that the girls have to learn. I found this really interesting as normally I’m all about the perpetrator and their just deserts. I think it’s a testament to the characters and their story that I feel like this. The Cursed Girls is one of the best books I have read this year so I have no hesitation in recommending it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Louise Page

    This was not my usual type of read, but I am so happy that I did pick it up and give it a go. I loved the Authors style, the mix of language worked to not make you feel like an idiot reading the novel, but also worked to show the level of education that the main character has. The plot was twisty and I loved it, though I did guess the ending not long before it came to light. I love that it kept me guessing most of the time. And the way that the author described ptsd was amazing. A great read, a This was not my usual type of read, but I am so happy that I did pick it up and give it a go. I loved the Authors style, the mix of language worked to not make you feel like an idiot reading the novel, but also worked to show the level of education that the main character has. The plot was twisty and I loved it, though I did guess the ending not long before it came to light. I love that it kept me guessing most of the time. And the way that the author described ptsd was amazing. A great read, a must pick up!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Diana Ellis

    Caro Ramsey is a clever author and this is yet another example of a book that hooks you in until you are enmeshed in the story and cannot wait to reach the end of the mysterious happenings. The weird and wonderful has the characters in its thrall, yet the down to earth explanations bring the sceptical reader some reassurances. The three young girls become part of an intergenerational family saga with an unexpected outcome. It is very cleverly written with a ghostly presence of one of the charact Caro Ramsey is a clever author and this is yet another example of a book that hooks you in until you are enmeshed in the story and cannot wait to reach the end of the mysterious happenings. The weird and wonderful has the characters in its thrall, yet the down to earth explanations bring the sceptical reader some reassurances. The three young girls become part of an intergenerational family saga with an unexpected outcome. It is very cleverly written with a ghostly presence of one of the characters to fill in the story from the two girls' perspectives. Recommended.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ileana Muñoz

    Edge of your seat kind of book. The Cursed Girls is a page turner. Very well-crafted characters and a captivating storyline. Definitely a winner!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Fiona Campbell

    Megan Melvick returns home to her family's Scottish estate, as her sister Melissa is dying. It seems the family is cursed. Megan herself is deaf, her friend Carla died in an explosion, her mother left inexplicably and she watched her Papa hang himself from a tree. Much of the book focuses on the stories of the female characters and the difficulties they have faced in life. Who engineered Carla's death and the disappearance of Beth Maverick (Megan's mum) are the key issues and this kept me guessi Megan Melvick returns home to her family's Scottish estate, as her sister Melissa is dying. It seems the family is cursed. Megan herself is deaf, her friend Carla died in an explosion, her mother left inexplicably and she watched her Papa hang himself from a tree. Much of the book focuses on the stories of the female characters and the difficulties they have faced in life. Who engineered Carla's death and the disappearance of Beth Maverick (Megan's mum) are the key issues and this kept me guessing until the reveal at the end. I liked the structure of the book, with Megan and Carla 's point of view in alternating chapters. This was a well written and engaging read and I really liked the premise. Thanks indeed to netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Joanne Dixon

    Fast-paced and suspenseful - it drew me in from the first page and i read this in one sitting - would highly recommend

  25. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    With so many twists and turns, this mystery kept me on my toes. How far will a family go to hide it’s past? Which friends can be trusted? Whose interests are really at heart. This book started off with so many questions and as they were answered, more mysteries and buried secrets came to life. At times, it was more of a psychological mystery - what is real and what is imagined? It was amazing to see what went on behind closed doors of a perfect family and at what lengths they would go through to With so many twists and turns, this mystery kept me on my toes. How far will a family go to hide it’s past? Which friends can be trusted? Whose interests are really at heart. This book started off with so many questions and as they were answered, more mysteries and buried secrets came to life. At times, it was more of a psychological mystery - what is real and what is imagined? It was amazing to see what went on behind closed doors of a perfect family and at what lengths they would go through to appear perfect. With wealth and fame it becomes difficult to know who you can trust to protect you; and at what cost. A tragic and gripping story until the last page.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lynsey

    ’The Cursed Girls’ just bled old school crime at every turn, from the ‘big house’ setting, the psychological tricks, the nods to Agatha Christie and even the weather - that long hot summer! This was a stunningly clever novel from Caro. I devoured it in one sitting and still feel a week later as if I am in that world. The pacing was terrific, the chapters jumping back and forth between the two girls, kept us guessing right until the end! Megan Melvick has hidden herself away from her family over t ’The Cursed Girls’ just bled old school crime at every turn, from the ‘big house’ setting, the psychological tricks, the nods to Agatha Christie and even the weather - that long hot summer! This was a stunningly clever novel from Caro. I devoured it in one sitting and still feel a week later as if I am in that world. The pacing was terrific, the chapters jumping back and forth between the two girls, kept us guessing right until the end! Megan Melvick has hidden herself away from her family over the past few years, but now that her older sister Melissa is on her death bed she has been summoned home by her father. Reluctantly she heads home to ‘The Italian House’ hoping that the memories don’t overwhelm her. She uses her hearing loss and aids to hide away from situations and feelings but one thing she is sure of. Her mother Beth will return now her sister is dying. A woman who walked out on her marriage and children for another man and hasn't been heard from since. This is definitely a family that tragedy follows - a death at Melissa’s wedding, Beth missing, madness and they also have their own suicide tree! As readers, we see the action from Megan and her childhood friend, Carla, perspectives. The chapters jump between the two of them and it really helps to ramp the tension up. As Megan begins to look more closely into past events, we see that it begins to revolve around Melissa’s wedding and her sister's treatment of her growing up. Carla is the same age as Megan but comes from a very different background. She has been branded as a ‘troubled teen’ by authorities and comes from a deprived area just done the road from Megan’s family estate. Her Father works for the Melvicks as their gardener and Carla has always been interested in the family but it soon becomes apparent that both girls feel like outsiders and naturally are drawn to one another. I loved both girls characters but I also found the mental health aspects of both of them fascinating. I have read some reviews saying that this is a storyline that has been done a lot recently, but this book was originally published under the name ‘Mosiac’ so Caro was one of the first to use this. Anyway, does it matter when something has been executed as well as it has been here? It's clear that Caro has done her research and as someone who has a close family member suffer from disassociation disorder so much of it rings true! Now, as someone who makes her living selling vintage Agatha Christie books, I ADORED all the nods to the Queen of Crime. From the setting, the ‘upstairs, downstairs’ distinctions, having an overlooking portrait of an old ancestor named Agatha, to that final reveal all in the drawing-room! Oh my, it was delightful and comforting. I can see there has been a lot of inspiration taken from her novels but I can't go into it without giving away spoilers. But, if you end up reading this book you will know! Also, like a Christie book, I didn't guess the ending which is refreshing and entertaining but also frustrating in equal measures. I have no hesitation in recommending this book and if you end up liking the writing style you will be pleased to know there is a police procedural series set in Glasgow that the author also writes. I love the Anderson and Cooper series as well. Basically, just read everything Caro has written!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary Picken

    Megan Melvick is heading back home to Benbrae in Argyll after a three-year absence to visit her dying sister, Melissa. Approaching the Scottish country estate where she grew up, memories come flooding back and they are not happy ones. Megan always lived in the shadow of the headstrong and beautiful actress, Melissa. Megan only had one childhood friend, the wild and in your face Carla, ostracised by the rest of the family as highly unsuitable, and it is these two voices whose guide the story, swit Megan Melvick is heading back home to Benbrae in Argyll after a three-year absence to visit her dying sister, Melissa. Approaching the Scottish country estate where she grew up, memories come flooding back and they are not happy ones. Megan always lived in the shadow of the headstrong and beautiful actress, Melissa. Megan only had one childhood friend, the wild and in your face Carla, ostracised by the rest of the family as highly unsuitable, and it is these two voices whose guide the story, switching from past to present. Carla’s brutal take on events is scathing and she really tells it as it is. Megan misses her friend terribly. Megan is hard of hearing, though she wasn’t born that way,and she can’t remember when she became so. She likes the silence, though. There’s a history of mental instability in the Melvick family which has caused everything from suicide to sleep-walking and indeed the hanging tree in the gardens is a permanent reminder of just how toxic this house can be. The history of the Melvick family is laced with tragedy and it seems that this aristocratic lineage is cursed. Megan herself will be the sole surviving heir to the estate once Melissa passes and she really doesn’t want to live in the Italian House, as it is called; this evil house which she finds unpleasant and full of terrible memories. Melissa and Jago got married in this house five years ago and now Melissa is dying. It was at her wedding that tragedy struck and a bridesmaid died. Megan’s mother Beth also disappeared that night and no-one has heard from her since. Speculation is that she ran off with another man. Ivan Melvick, the Lord Lieutenant of the County and Megan’s father, now has a new woman in his life. Megan does not know what happened the night of Melissa’s wedding, but she does know that the police at the time said it was an accident. Now there’s a new investigation underway. Megan is further unsettled by Melissa’s last word to her, as she sits at her dying sister’s bedside, Melissa tells her she is sorry…and then dies. As Megan begins to unravel, we question just how reliable a narrator she is. She is suffering from memory loss and blackouts, and the drugs her father’s doctor prescribes do not seem to help. As she tries to confront what happened in her past can we rely on what she remembers? Caro Ramsay delivers a beautiful dark and gloomy atmosphere of a toxic house laced with poison where secrets as dark as bitter chocolate prevail and class prejudice runs through this family like Blackpool through a stick of rock. Tight plotting and vividly drawn characters make this complex, layered and ultimately sad tale spring to life. There’s a fabulous Christie-esque feel to the book too with class divides and a terrific final revelatory scene. Verdict: The Cursed Girls is a taut psychological thriller of a cocktail made with murder and madness, wrapped in secrets, sprinkled with red-herrings and chilled with suspense. It slips down easily and left this reader giddy with delight.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kath

    4.5 stars. I'm a big fan of this author's Anderson & Costello series of Police Procedural books so I was quite intrigued to see how she would do with a stand-alone psychological thriller. And I wasn't disappointed. Megan returns home to say goodbye to her sister Melissa who is at death's door. She's pretty much estranged and it's been three years since she visited. She has her reasons. Just before she dies, Melissa whispers something to Megan, something she can't quite understand the reasons behin 4.5 stars. I'm a big fan of this author's Anderson & Costello series of Police Procedural books so I was quite intrigued to see how she would do with a stand-alone psychological thriller. And I wasn't disappointed. Megan returns home to say goodbye to her sister Melissa who is at death's door. She's pretty much estranged and it's been three years since she visited. She has her reasons. Just before she dies, Melissa whispers something to Megan, something she can't quite understand the reasons behind. What is she sorry for? Soon, the memories of growing up on the big Scottish estate where she is now staying start to flood back - alarmingly so - especially those of Melissa's wedding some five years since, and Megan starts to worry that her past is coming back to haunt her, especially regarding best friend Carla and what happened to her on that day. It was also soon after the wedding that their mother upped and left, there was talk of an affair but nothing solid and she has not been seen or heard of since, apart from one message soon after leaving. There's a lot more that goes on in this book but it is so convoluted and interconnected that pretty much everything else I could say might include spoilers. Suffice to say that this book held me rapt throughout my time reading it. I was, along with Megan, pretty much confused for the majority but, instead of feeling uncomfortable, I revelled in this feeling as it brought me closer to Megan as a character in a quite claustrophobic, but satisfying, way. As others have said, it is a bit Agatha Christie in style - the big country house, one policeman investigating and a similar style of reveal - but it's not a copycat by any means. The story and characters stand up themselves very well. It's a story about secrets and control. There are various family issues throughout, some more influential than others, some really rather shocking too. Sibling rivalry is a bit front and centre too as Melissa is the golden child to Megan's black sheep! And there's a fair slice of manipulation to be found too - all elements that, if done well, can make a book of this genre. And they are! All in all, an interesting change for an already enjoyed author, more of the same please! My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Vivienne

    “I had learned early that it was better to drown in silence than to swim in a world of noise. Noise is nothing but a painful distraction from the truth.“ - Megan. My thanks to Canongate/Black Thorn for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘The Cursed Girls’ by Caro Ramsay in exchange for an honest review. This proved a satisfying mystery set primarily on a grand family estate overlooking Holy Loch in Scotland. Its main protagonist is twenty-year-old Megan Melvick, who has been summoned home after a three-yea “I had learned early that it was better to drown in silence than to swim in a world of noise. Noise is nothing but a painful distraction from the truth.“ - Megan. My thanks to Canongate/Black Thorn for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘The Cursed Girls’ by Caro Ramsay in exchange for an honest review. This proved a satisfying mystery set primarily on a grand family estate overlooking Holy Loch in Scotland. Its main protagonist is twenty-year-old Megan Melvick, who has been summoned home after a three-year absence to visit her dying sister, Melissa. Memories come flooding back to her of the night of Melissa's wedding five years previously and the tragedy that ended the evening. Then three years ago Beth, their mother, disappeared without explanation and soon after Megan left home. Just before she dies Melissa whispers ‘Sorry’ to Megan. Yet for what? Megan feels that to overcome her demons that she needs to confront her painful recollections of that terrible night. Yet can she trust her memories? Megan is assisted by DS Andrew (Drew) Murray, who is looking into the sensitive cold case associated with the wedding tragedy. Megan was an appealing protagonist. She may come from privilege but her family is clearly dysfunctional. In addition, Megan is deaf though uses hearing aids and has good language skills. She also has been diagnosed with mental health issues and has blackouts. I did feel a little disappointed about how Melissa’s decline and illness was depicted though it did happen away from Megan and the sisters were not close. Melissa was a difficult young woman, who Megan describes as having had “a wee touch of the Ophelias”. Aside from bullying her younger sister, Melissa was a Bridezilla and her reported behaviour in the run up to the wedding was appalling. I loved the descriptions of the estate and especially the woods, the Benbrae pond and the dangerous faerie pools beyond. Megan describes the area as “borne from Tolkien fantasy, as dark and dense as Mirkwood”. Again, Megan’s quiet bookish nature was easy for me to relate to as well as her desire to shut out the distractions of the world, Overall, a dark, atmospheric mystery with a touch of Agatha Christie that proved a satisfying read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Karen Huxtable

    Megan returns home to Benbrae the family pile on a small Island in Scotland. She left three years ago and has been called back by her father as her older sister Melissa is dying. The Melvick families house ‘ The Italian House had a habit of pulling back those that had been born there, driving them to insanity, or suicide by inherited melancholy ‘. Melissa passes away shortly after Megan arrives but their mother does not. The book is written from two perspectives Megan and Carla. Carla was an unli Megan returns home to Benbrae the family pile on a small Island in Scotland. She left three years ago and has been called back by her father as her older sister Melissa is dying. The Melvick families house ‘ The Italian House had a habit of pulling back those that had been born there, driving them to insanity, or suicide by inherited melancholy ‘. Melissa passes away shortly after Megan arrives but their mother does not. The book is written from two perspectives Megan and Carla. Carla was an unlikely friend of the family who also comes from a equally dysfunctional family but there is a huge class divide which she encounters when she is sent to the island to live with her grandmother. Their stories are intricately entwined and this really kept my attention. Is there really a curse on the Melvick family and is it just bad luck or something else. This is really well plotted story with lots threads that leave you questioning everything. A glamorous wedding, a tragedy, an untimely death and lots of secrets make this a gripping read. As a huge Agatha Christie fan I loved the references to her books the horses named Poirot, Marple and Tuppence. The big house with the dysfunctional family. Agatha, the ancestor in the painting made it all the more engaging for me. Carla’s retelling of the story is very different to that of Megan and we uncover alot from these retellings. As the story progresses the mystery deepens and old wounds are re opened as the family gather for Melissa’s funeral. After a few incidents with Megan, her old Doctor Scobie, a family friend of her father is summoned to the Italian House. This is a clever tale as you really don’t know what is going to happen next and I love that in a story. Drew is another character in the story who is investigating Megan’s mother’s disappearance, up until this point it was thought she had run away with a lover and they are all expecting her to come back for Melissa’s funeral. The relationships in this book are complex and Megan has a condition that makes her an unreliable narrator which I also really enjoyed. This is a really great read, hints of Agatha Christie and a dark and complex story. This was my first book by this author and I really enjoyed the twisty, unexpected narrative. 4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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