My thanks to Century Publishing for an early copy for review
Source: Review copy
Publication: 3 February 2022 from Century
By the time you read this, I’ll have killed one of your husbands.
In an isolated retreat, deep in the Northumbria moors, three women arrive for a weekend getaway.
Their husbands will be joining them in the morning. Or so they think.
But when they get to Dark Fell Barn, the women find a devastating note that claims one of their husbands has been murdered. Their phones are out of range. There’s no internet. They’re stranded. And a storm’s coming in.
Friendships fracture and the situation spins out of control as each wife tries to find out what’s going on, who is responsible and which husband has been targeted.
This was a tight-knit group. They’ve survived a lot. But they won’t weather this. Because someone has decided that enough is enough.
That it’s time for a reckoning.
Gilly MacMillan’s The Long Weekend is a great page turner. It isn’t especially novel in terms of the premise, but it is, in the main, well executed.
Maggie and John are farmers in a pretty remote location. John is staryting to show signs of Alzheimers and Maggie is trying to secure their future by focussing on providing quality holiday and short break lets in their converted barn.
One of their first set of guests is a party of friends whose husbands are all old school friends, but the wives know each other much less well. Emily, Jayne, and Ruth arrive in advance of their husbands who are set to join them the next day. Ruth is a new mum to Alfie and a doctor with a secret she is trying hard to hide from everyone. Ruth’s husband, Toby has seemed remote since their son was born. Emily is younger than the other women doesn’t have much in common with them. She’s married to Paul and is really quite insecure. Jayne used to be in the army and she’s finding it hard to adjust to ‘real’ life. She’s married to Mark.
Edie should have been with them this weekend, but her husband has recenty died and instead she’s left a special message for the women. By the time they read her message, she will have murdered one of their husbands.
Trying to shrug off the message as some kind of perverted joke, the women try and settle in to Dark Fell Barn. But as the night progresses and they feel the oppressive weight of being stuck in the wild and on this occasion, very stormy, moorlands where mobile phones have no signal and they are cut off from civilisation. The women grow increasingly concerned to try and find out if their husbands are alive.
Thus begins a rollercoaster of a story with many twists and turns as we see the women unravel and their deepest fears, secrets and flaws are exposed.
The Long Weekend is told from multiple points of view, and sometimes this does get confusing because the voices were not always as distinctive as I might have wished. These are not immensely likeable characters either. It’s hard to feel much empathy for any of them. But these are characters who stick in the mind and Gilly MacMillan does dark and brooding psychological suspense well.
Full of twists and turns this is an eerie and atmospheric read and there are some excellent surprises which lead to a startling, tense conclusion.
Verdict: A solid mystery which challenges assumptions and delivers some really unexpected moments.
Gilly Macmillan is the internationally bestselling author of seven novels including WHAT SHE KNEW, THE PERFECT GIRL, ODD CHILD OUT, I KNOW YOU KNOW and THE NANNY, and TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH. A former art historian and photographer, Gilly studied at Bristol University and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She lives in Bristol, UK, with her husband and three children. Gilly’s novels have appeared on the New York Times, Sunday Times, Globe & Mail and Der Spiegel bestseller lists and have been translated into over 20 languages. She’s been described as ‘one heck of a good writer’ (Wall Street Journal) and her novels have been praised as ‘nuanced, completely addictive’ (People), ‘riveting’ (Publishers Weekly), and ‘visceral, emotionally charged…heart-wrenchingly well told’ (The Daily Mail).
Photo © Céline Nieszawer/Leextra