“Aiden Bishop knows the rules. Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until he can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest at Blackheath Manor. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others. With a locked room mystery that Agatha Christie would envy, Stuart Turton unfurls a breakneck novel of intrigue and suspense. For fans of Claire North, and Kate Atkinson, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a breathlessly addictive mystery that follows one man’s race against time to find a killer, with an astonishing time-turning twist that means nothing and no one are quite what they seem.” The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton.
This is now one of my favorite books. It may even be my favorite. Actually, you know what? This is my favorite book.
Aiden Bishop wakes up in someone else’s body and has to solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle. He has eight days and eight different bodies to do so. Well, it’s the same day but he’s a different person each time, so he has eight days while everyone else is living the same day. Every day he’ll wake up in a new host’s body, each with their own strengths and their own weaknesses. If he solves the murder, he gets to go home, but if he doesn’t his memory will be wiped and he starts his eight days back over. As if that isn’t hard enough, he isn’t the only one trying to escape Blackheath. There are three people all vying to escape, including Aiden. Now Aiden has to figure out who the other two people are, stop them from killing him, and figure out who he is – because Aiden has been so long at Blackheath that he barely knows who he is anymore. Throw in a plague doctor who keeps giving Aiden weird hints and disappearing before Aiden can ask questions, and you have a book full of lively and sometimes scary characters.
Everyone is out to murder someone else and everyone is either lying or hiding a secret. People keep going missing, and not just from today but there are people missing from 19 years ago that play a part as well. 19 years to the day Thomas Hardcastle, Evelyn’s little brother, was murdered at the lake at Blackheath and now it’s her turn. But why? Why this day? And why Evelyn?
Are you intrigued yet? There are so many well-written twists that mesh perfectly with the story; I felt like I was having my mind blown every few chapters! Most of the time I can guess where a story is going or what is going to happen, because most of the time stories follow a certain theme, but not The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. I didn’t see anything coming, yet it all made perfect sense. This book is incredibly original and I have no idea how Turton wrote this without becoming lost in his own world. It’s pure creative genius.
The language in this book is amazing too. Turton describes things beautifully with intriguing imagery that makes little moments in the story pop to life. Each character has their own unique voice as well, which can be hard to accomplish. Aiden barely knows who he is anymore, so he keeps losing himself to his hosts. This means that not only does Turton have to write Aiden, but he also has to write people like Ravencourt, an obese man who hates scandal and is incredibly smart or Jim Rashton, a dashing police officer who is moral and madly in love with his fiancé Grace – and make each man come to life on the page in their own unique way. Turton does this amazingly and with great skill.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Why: So, you’ve probably guess that I adore this book. All the twists and turns, the secrets and shocking revelations made for an incredible read. Even though there were a few different plot lines (except not because it’s all the same day just different people? Crazy to think about) it’s not hard to keep up with the action. It’s an enjoyable read that I couldn’t put down. It’s set in a magical realism 20s; time loops are thing but almost no one knows how to drive the one car in the story because they’re all still using horses and carriages to travel. It honestly gives me The Great Gatsby vibes, but insanely better. I really don’t want to give away more of the plot because you have to experience it in full! Go all in, don’t even think about it, just read.
Ending Thoughts: Truly an amazing book and I have no idea how more people aren’t talking about it! Go buy it! Buy a copy for everyone in your household!
Incidentally, this is how I picture Stuart Turton explaining the plot of The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle to anyone.
Wishing you a safe and blessed day, Storm