The Chateau

I’m a sucker for a good cover, and The Chateau by Jaclyn Goldis certainly has it. France is also a country I’m eternally drawn to, so it’s no wonder this thriller, set in Provence, captured my interest. It follows Darcy and her three friends as they return to her grandmother’s titular chateau. But when her grandmother is murdered one night, everyone is a suspect.

Special thanks to NetGalley and Atria for providing me with an ARC of this book!


Séraphine Demargelasse is 94 and knows her end is near. Hoping to set things right first, she invites her granddaughter Darcy and her three friends to her chateau—their first time all together there in 20 years. But before Séraphine can reveal her life-changing secrets, she’s brutally murdered. Who could have done this to her? One of the four women she invited to her home? One of her employees? And what motive could someone have to kill an elderly woman? Between a cast of characters, all with their own secrets and possible motives, the mystery surrounding Séraphine’s murder only brings about more questions until its shocking end.


The Chateau is a book I’ve been looking forward to for months, though it’s not quite what I expected it would be. It follows four women—Darcy, Jade, Vix, and Arabelle—as they return to Provence for their first reunion there in 20 years. Three of them met in a study abroad program in Avignon and quickly became friends, often spending time at Darcy’s grandmother’s chateau. Arabelle, the daughter of a maid there and two years their senior, was already close to Darcy and became part of the friend group, too. Now, Darcy’s grandmother Séraphine has invited the four women back to her chateau, ominously warning them that she has something important to tell them. Unfortunately, Séraphine is murdered before she has a chance to reveal her secrets.

Each chapter is told from a different point of view, mainly from the four women, but also occasionally from Séraphine, her maid Sylvie, or her groundskeeper Raph. While I generally enjoy multiple POV characters and don’t have a hard time differentiating them, in The Chateau, I found the characters’ voices were rather too similar. Not confusing, and their characters were different enough, but their voices weren’t as distinct as they could have been.

The first half is quite slow, even after the murder happens (earlier than I’d expected!). So much of it is the four women making petty observations about others or ruminating on something from their past. It kind of reads more like women’s fiction, and the characters haven’t yet realized they’re in a thriller. Weren’t they all acting too normal after Séraphine was murdered? Shouldn’t they all have been more affected than that?

Despite the above issues, The Chateau does pick up in the second half, and it starts to weave together interesting themes. There are so many secrets between the different characters! So many possible motives for murder! The book highlights money troubles and big inheritances, infidelity and plans for revenge, decades-old trauma and twisting family secrets. Even these women, who profess to be best friends, have some conflicts between each other.

The Chateau has some great diversity, with queer characters and relationships as well as Jewish characters. It also incorporates the atrocities of the Holocaust and how that history still impacts people (including some characters here) to this day. These themes work their way into the mystery at hand, but it’s a bit more complicated than you might expect!

Although it’s not a long book, The Chateau could have benefited from paring down some of the characters’ trivial observations in the first half. Or perhaps made them more compelling and focused early on? None of the characters were particularly likable, though I did warm up to most of them by the end. It was only as the action ramped up to the climax that the story and characters really came together.

By the end, the book seems to set itself up for a sequel. Could there be more in store for these women? We shall see.

Final Thoughts

The Chateau is an interesting book with several compelling themes and shocking secrets. It’s rather uneven, but if you can get through the slower first half, the second half pays off. While the characters aren’t the easiest to root for, the beautiful French setting and mystery make it worth the read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Get the Book

You can buy The Chateau here – it’s available as a hardcover, ebook, and audiobook.

The Chateau by Jaclyn Goldis
GenreThriller; Mystery; Women’s Fiction
SettingProvence, France
Number of Pages336
Format I Readebook (NetGalley)
Original Publication DateMay 23, 2023

Official Summary

A dream girls trip to a luxurious French chateau devolves into a deadly nightmare of secrets and murder in this stylish, twisty thriller for fans of Lucy Foley, Ruth Ware, and Lisa Jewell.

Welcome to picturesque Provence, where the Lady of the Chateau, Séraphine Demargelasse, has opened its elegant doors to her granddaughter Darcy and three friends. Twenty years earlier, the four girlfriends studied abroad together in France and visited the old woman on the weekends, creating the group’s deep bond. But why this sudden invitation?

Amid winery tours, market visits, and fancy dinners overlooking olive groves and lavender fields, it becomes clear that each woman has a hidden reason for returning to the estate after all these years. Then, following a wild evening’s celebration, Séraphine is found brutally murdered.

In the midst of this shocking crime, a sinister Instagram account pops up, exposing snapshots from the friends’ intimate moments at the chateau, while threatening to reveal more.

As they race to uncover who murdered Séraphine—and is now stalking them—the friends begin to suspect each other. Because the chateau houses many secrets…several worth killing for.

About the Author

Jaclyn Goldis - credit Shai Hansav

Credit: Shai Hansav

Jaclyn Goldis is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and NYU Law. She practiced estate planning law at a large Chicago firm for seven years before leaving her job to travel the world and write novels. After culling her possessions into only what would fit in a backpack, she traveled for over a year until settling near the beach, where she can often be found writing from cafés.

More Books by Jaclyn Goldis

Jaclyn Goldis - When We Were Young

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