In the 1970s, a single night in a remote hunting lodge with a Hollywood director and his leading lady causes an international scandal that wrecks Astrid’s glittering stage career and rips apart her marriage.
Her ex-husband, the charismatic Scottish actor Magnus Fellowes, finds global fame, while Astrid retreats to a Sussex windmill. Now 82, she lives there still, with a troupe of dachshunds and her loyal friend, Mrs Baker, who came to clean over twenty years ago, and never left. But Mrs Baker has a troubled past too – one that’s caught up with them. There has been an ‘Awful Incident’ at the windmill; police are sniffing around. Then Astrid hears that Magnus, now on his death bed, is writing a tell-all memoir. Furious, she sets off for Scotland, determined to stop him, at all costs.
Windmill Hill is the story of two very different women with painful pasts and their unlikely friendship – deep, enduring and loyal to the last.
Hi and welcome to my review of Windmill Hill!
I fell in love with Lucy Atkins’s writing when listening to Magpie Lane. That book really blew me away and made me buy The Night Visitor, which I loved almost as much. Both of these created expectations, which unfortunately, Windmill Hill never really lived up to.
I should have read the blurb more carefully, or interpreted it differently, because my expectations were way off, and that definitely impacted my reading pleasure. I expected more historical fiction elements, as well as more thriller elements, much more of a mixed bag of genres, but this is really just general contemporary fiction. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, except that that is not one of my preferred genres, and I have to be in the right mood for it, and clearly, I was not. My favourite part of Windmill Hill were the letters written by its original owner around 1920, even if I did think they contributed little to the story.
While I do like elderly protagonists and I did like Astrid well enough, I found myself not caring as much as I felt I should to properly enjoy reading about her. (I did love her dogs, though!). Also, my own scatterbrain couldn’t quite keep up with Astrid’s 😬 I love windmills so I totally expected to love the setting, and while I did learn a few things, the setting was not quite as atmospheric as I’d hoped it would be.
Starting out, I had no idea where this book would lead me, and I was happy to follow, but about halfway through, I noticed I’d started to lose interest, which got worse the further I got. Secrets are hinted at, but their reveals were not much of a surprise, and I don’t know, maybe I’m jaded, but it all felt a little been there, done that. Which kills me cos I really wanted to love this book and I never got beyond “it’s an okay read”.
Look, Windmill Hill is not a bad book, not at all. It’s not the book, it’s me, it just wasn’t the right fit for me. So please don’t let me stop you if you’re interested in reading it. Odds are you’ll enjoy it more than I did.
Windmill Hill is out in digital formats, audio and hardcover on 25 May, with the paperback to follow next year.
Thanks to Quercus and NetGalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own.
Uh huh. Nope.
Oh no what a disappointment! I loved Magpie Lane as well and was hoping this would be similar. i think I’ll borrow this one from the library.
I’m afraid not, Nicki. I think borrowing it from the library is a great idea!
Fab review! Such a shame this story didn’t come through for you… I confess that I don’t think this story would be for me either. I still want to read Magpie Lane though.
I can’t recommend Magpie Lane enough! Windmill Hill, though, not so much 😬