The Guest Room
Welbeck Publishing Group
A twisty and gripping debut psychological thriller about a lodger with a sinister obsession
Careful what you look for. Careful what you find.
After the mysterious death of her beloved sister, Tess is grief-stricken and lonely. She’s forced to BnB Rosie’s old room to pay the bills.
With strangers in her home, Tess discovers a distraction: their possessions.
Tempted into the room while they’re out, she goes through her guests’ things, imagining the stories they hold. These forbidden glimpses into their lives and the chance of being caught are a momentary thrill – the only thing she can feel through the numbing pain of her loss, and the so-far fruitless police investigation.
When handsome and inscrutable Arran takes the room, Tess finds his diary. The entries are about an unnamed woman. Crush or obsession? Slowly, his writing takes a darker tone, and Tess can’t stop reading.
In her compulsion to know, to uncover the truth, there’s something Tess fails to notice. She’s being watched. Everyone has their secrets. This one is closer to home.
Tasha Sylva is currently based in the south-west of England, after time in London, Scotland, and southern Spain where she was an English teacher. The Guest Room, her first novel, was inspired by various stays in BnBs and strangers’ homes, wondering if any of her hosts had ever looked through her things, and what their implications could be. Tasha is also an aspiring small-scale farmer with a focus on regenerative agriculture, community and localisation.
What a fantastic debut, a modern mystery. Character driven – I love this portrait of grief, loss, undying love, guilt ( why not me?) that is portrayed in this mystery, Sylva captures it well.
This narrative has lots of elements and situations that we can all relate – who has not stayed in an apartment/BNB, share house, friends house and wondered about the previous occupants, the owners, the cohabitors of the property? I think its part of human nature to be inquisitive but be careful of what you might discover!
This is fast paced read, I loved the sprinkling of “art” in the narrative, the depth of feeling and sense of loss and grief portrayed here. Survivor guild was excellently portrayed, the relationship between Tess and the police investigating this crime rang true and heartfelt. I felt empathy for both parties dealing with a terrible situation. It was almost the end of the read before I had an idea of who the murderer was.
I enjoyed this read I think you will too.