As someone who does not normally pick up mystery based novels, I found myself immediately drawn to The Animals at Lockwood Manor. From the very beginning I was hooked with Jane Healey’s beautiful writing. The writing is descriptive, accurate, and the sentence structures make everything flow smoothly. I found myself being drawn into the story and lost there for ages, but the mystery of Lockwood is what made me stay. I found myself on edge with every one of Lucy’s nightmares and with the slow decline of Hetty’s sanity. My anxiety increased with Hetty’s as each incident with the museum’s animals happened. Jane Healey’s ability to portray these emotions and have the reader feel it as well deserves the highest praise.
Another aspect I would like to praise Jane for is her incredible portrayal of the slow blooming romance between Hetty and Lucy, which I truly could rave about forever. The reason for this being that not only does the romance feel natural and real, but gentle and tastefully done. Each encounter Lucy and Hetty had with each other all led up to an amazingly well written scene where they admit their feelings and make love. I would like to note it does not feel like “smut” or just an everyday sex scene. You could truly feel the love and respect Jane had for her characters as you read not only this scene but every other interaction as well. I admired the fact that although there were two LGBT main characters within the story it did not feel as if that is all the story was.
As for the other characters, I wish that Jane Healey had maybe given them a bit more depth since they were prominent enough to be constantly brought up and within the scenes. Besides that, I found the story’s slow progression leading up to an ultimate climax of events was incredible! As a reader I am happy to see a bittersweet but happy ending where each character got the ending they truly deserved. The Animals at Lockwood Manor was an amazing novel that I plan on recommending to many.