Discussion, Fiction, NetGalley, Nope, Problematic

What Really Happened In The Chateau, You Say? – Well… Not Much, Apparently. Le Chateau by Sara Ridout

I’m a sucker, when it comes to a big, spooky, perhaps haunted house, lost memory and the promise of a mystery. Which is why I was easily sold when I read this blurb (*taken from Goodreads):

When Charlotte regains consciousness after an accident, she finds herself living a stranger’s life. The previous five years are a blank, and her husband, Henri, and daughter, Ada, are strangers. Arriving at their family chateau in southern France, she hopes to regain her memories. Instead she feels isolated and unsettled. Strange events hint at underlying darkness and menace. Charlotte doesn’t know who to trust.

So, I don’t know about you… But to me, that sounds good. Promising, even.

Except I kind of also wish it delivered..?

Books with a premise like that can kick butt. They can kick butt hard and thoroughly! But they can also fall flat. So flat, it’s not even a pancake, it’s so gone. It’s like… Splat-flat. Not there anymore.

And usually, there are reasons they do that. Very often, those reasons are all the same. So we shall discuss these reasons now.

Reason 1. The obvious villain.

Page 3, enter the villain. Who is, obviously, your lovely little lady, the mother-in-law, lady of the house. I wonder what perpetuates the stereotype?… Well, I *really* don’t know. Could it be that in most stories, the rich mom is a maniac? And could it be made it more obvious that she is..? And while we’re at it, why is she always meddling in the dark arts?

Reason 2. The husband.

For some reason, the husband always has to be oblivious to life and its happenings. He will never notice that his mother is a murderous, scheming bitch. He will just leave his poor, helpless wife (mind you, recently released from hospital with head trauma and amnesia of the past five years) in the care of his mother, to be further drugged and abused. #oblivious

Reason 3. The ally.

For some reason, the ally our protagonist usually has is a quirky friend from her old life. Most of the time she is also promiscuous. Dear god, I must contain myself to stop rolling those eyes. Don’t want a sprain.

Reason 4. The neighbour.

Is it so wrong of me to expect the neighbour to be a nice old guy with no sexual interest in the story? Why does he always have to be trying to have an affair with the protagonist? Just…

Reason 5. The bitch.

If you think we’ve had enough cliche tropes already… Well, I wish we were done. We aren’t. You know how in these stories, there always seems to be the perfect looking, every single bit of straight hair in the right place bitch with a boring classic two-piece ladies suit, just trying to take the protagonist’s place? Usually working with the maniacal mother-in-law, too? Her dream daughter-in-law? Yes, that one. Okay, so maybe not always the two-piece classical clothes, but usually ditto on the perfect straight hair (don’t get me started about how I hate people always judging us girls with curls as ‘inappropriate’ and ‘artsy’ as if it’s something we weren’t just born with). So yeah, more eye rolling.

Reason 6. The details.

I just want to ask you. Does it not puzzle you how the sick and frail person, barely able to walk, always gets put in the third floor, with some crazy, dangerous spiral stairs that they need to take if they want to… I don’t know, go to the bathroom? Who would do that??? What world does that even make sense in? And why is this in every single book like this?

While reading this book, I know I constantly kept asking myself, is this a mystery? Romance..? Is this a gothic… something..? What is this book about? It was so sad that the mystery never delivered (when you know exactly what will happen after like 40% of the book). All those hints about the paranormal? Never got anywhere. Just… Meh.

So I know I will be picking and choosing my book blurbs with more care in the future. I thank the publisher for providing me the copy in exchange for my honest review. I’m glad I didn’t have to pay for this book. I would have been sad.

Do you easily get drawn into premises that entice with big, secretive houses, lost memories and a mystery? Do you often get disappointed by books like that?

I’m Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there’s also a lot of scifi, fantasy and… GIFs. I’m also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.

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Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium
Guest

omg your review is so hilarious. I love it. As usual. BIG FAN HERE [hugs] the curly hair???? I didn’t know people say that! I only have the most beautiful compliments for curly hair [and some insane envy and jealousy since I have straight- to-hell-I-look-like-native-american-hair ] of the tropes, the tropes… the details, the undefined wth this book is about I would have gone INSANE LOL!

Sophie
Guest

I’m sorry this was such a disappointment! Really, so many clichés all at once are never okay… I hope your next read really makes up for this one!
Great review 🙂

Terri @ Alexia's Books and Such
Guest

I’m a sucker for lost memories, so disappointed to hear that this one doesn’t live up to its promise. But totally love your review! So much eye-rolling! So many cliches! Those would’ve driven me crazy, so kudos for finishing the book!

And as a straight-haired girl who has always coveted curls, I’ll trade you any day!

Grab the Lapels
Guest
I love haunted house stories, especially movies these days. Otherwise, no house means we’re likely to see some torture porn. The ultimate haunted house book might be The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, but if you don’t have time to read it, you could always go to your library and check out the movie The Haunting, which is based on the book and follows it closely (don’t want the trash version with Owen Wilson that came out in the early 2000s). As for all the tropes you spotting: anyone who is too ANYTHING is a stereotype and should… Read more »
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[…] on that later! This week I have blogged two times, as usual. I’ve posted two reviews – Le Chateau which was so bad it deserved a sarcastic review which might be funny for you to read, and A Closed […]

Anna
Guest

Haha I love your gifs! I’m sorry the book turned out to be a disappointed– I would have been sucked in by that blurb too, it sounds right up my ally. I’m glad your review has saved me the time reading it.

Raph
Guest

I know you think this review is funny, but I just find it mean-spirited and condescending.

Should you ever have a book out, I hope you’re never subjected to a review as derisive as this.