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.

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

  1. 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!
    Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium recently posted…Red Rising – 5 supernovasMy Profile

    1. Hahaha can we trade hair xD I seriously don’t like mine. At least your accepted with straight hair. You can’t go wrong with straight hair. With curly you’re always “intending it”. Gosh, I didn’t intend to be born with this jungle on my head xD I’ve always dreamed of straight hair! Cause it’s so regular, clean and aesthetic. I’ve been given hell about my hair for maybe 20 years. Being a curly teenager is a nightmare xD

      And I’m so glad you liked this! It’s hard to get people to read bad reviews, but I like writing bad reviews so much xD cause I get to use all that humour xD

      1. haha so funny how we usually want what we don’t have 🙂 “so regular, clean and aesthetic” means BORING to me 😉 you have no idea the things I’ve done to my hair to get curls, which to us straight-to-hell-hair girls mean: interesting, wild, adventurous, vivacious, flirty … sexy! 😉
        Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium recently posted…Red Rising – 5 supernovasMy Profile

        1. Oh nooo… not sexy, never sexy. Messy and untidy. And possibly reflecting a bad character. And lazy. Most people have called me lazy. “Like don’t you brush ever??” God… I mean, I wouldn’t hate my hair, but SO MANY people have told me such horrible things about it that I now don’t really even believe compliments anymore :/ straight might be boring, but at least they don’t think you’re lazy. And unprofessional. It’s terrible when people make conclusions about your character based on your genetics. It’s ridiculous. I guess it’s like racism? Like how they’d judge about your character because your skin color is different. Same here.
          Maybe it’s local. But all I’ve been called for my curls is various breeds of dog. Not even human. And never sexy 🙁

          1. I don’t think so. Cause those people straightened their already straight-ish hair with irons. So basically probably not jealous 😀 just really nasty people. I can’t think of something I wasn’t bullied about, really. I grew up in a terrible environment. They hated anyone who was even remotely different. Short, smart and curly? #ded

  2. 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 🙂

  3. 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!
    Terri @ Alexia’s Books and Such recently posted…Biannual Blogathon Bash – June 2017My Profile

    1. I know right xD thanks!
      Oh, you know, if anyone comes up with a way to trade anytime soon, I’m all up for it xD I’ve lived through nightmares over my curls, been called lazy (cause hair isn’t straight) and hated for it. It’s really given me a lot of pain. For further reference, read the comments I wrote to Dragonfly xD

  4. 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 be erased from the page. Maybe a stereotype appearing in a rough draft is fine, but flesh that person out before publication!

    1. Yep. You’re totally right. Using too many stereotypes sounds more like parody than fiction.

      Haha, we can’t check out movies in our libraries, libraries here just have books 😀 actually, I am a big chicken! Especially about movies, but books too. Haunted houses might give me the nightmares 😀 when I chose this one, I wasn’t hoping for something scary and paranormal, more like just a Gothic mystery, like those Victorian Gothic castles, you know? Or something like Kate Mosse’s Labyrinth – where the protag finds out stuff about the past and mythology and ancient mysteries. Oh well 🙂

      1. You know, I think you would like Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. There were so many haunted places and heroines fainting in books that she wrote Northanger Abbey as a satire. It’s pretty funny while trying to be a haunted house-type book!

        1. Oh yes! That one is on my list 🙂 just need to make a priority to read it. Didn’t know about the haunting though! Do know about her lovely ironic tone from her other books though 🙂

          1. The novel has a heroine who REALLY wants there to be something mysterious and haunted, like in the books she reads…I can’t remember if anything actually haunting happens!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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