Hetty Stanley was a schoolteacher. Hetty Stanley was a prudish spinster. Hetty Stanley was a murderer. Hetty Stanley has been dead for more than a century.
Dane Butler is doing his best and his best isn’t enough, but a little luck puts him into an inherited home that shares a property line with a woman and her son. Winona and her son Casey are no better off than Dane, forcing the strangers to rely on one another.
One day, Dane looks up from his computer at the sound of Winona shouting in through his door. Her four-year-old son is missing—no boots and no coat, January in Minnesota. Hours pass. Police scour the woods and begin pointing fingers at the only plausible suspects, but one high-ranking officer knows the painful history. Children have been disappearing from the old schoolhouse property for decades, and although it is impossible, there’s only one likelihood: Hetty Stanley.
To save Casey, Dane and Winona must find the link to Hetty and follow it, no matter how impossible the route seems or what trials they might face and what stakes they must overcome.
MY REVIEW – 3 stars
I’ve struggled over my review and rating for Hetty the last two days… and finally decided on 3 stars. Here’s why…
The book got off to a decent start, letting us meet Hetty right off. It went downhill a bit from there until about 60% into the story.
While I understand and appreciate a more active way of getting Dane’s and Winona’s backstories, the constant flip flopping, and time warps, made it confusing quite a bit if the time. It also made the story lag quite a bit. We went from immediate action to humdrum daily life for such a large chunk of the book. Had this not been called the scariest book ever by quite a few people, I’d have never made it to the “scary” bits.
Admittedly, the sex scenes in Winona’s point of view with “the Cowboy” very nearly made this a two star read for me. They were unrealistic and had I not known going into the book it was written by a man, those scenes would have made it glaringly obvious. I think I actually cringed a few times.
The creepy factor would spark then die again as the dead kids made their appearances. I’d get excited, thinking things were about to take off, only to go back to the humdrum parts that lagged. Until Casey disappears. That’s when the magic happens …
I wouldn’t call this the scariest book, in fact, I would call it slightly creepy and at times a bit chilling, but as horror goes, it didn’t make my heart race or make me want all the lights on. It was a decent story and seems to be set up for a potential spinoff.
I just don’t think this author’s writing is quite to my taste, even though the idea behind Hetty was rather fabulous.
*Disclaimer: I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.