- File Size: 2204 KB
- Print Length: 353 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1538714302
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (March 12, 2019)
- Publication Date: March 12, 2019
- Sold by: Hachette Book Group
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07M9KK2RY
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,931 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Brilliantly creepy...I couldn't put it down! So scary, pacy, and compelling...One I'm still thinking about now.-- "Claire Douglas, bestselling author of Last Seen Alive" --This text refers to the audioCD edition.
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--This text refers to the audioCD edition.
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In The Woman in the Dark, we are introduced to the Walker family. Patrick and his wife, Sarah, and their two teenagers, Mia and Joe. After Sarah’s-assumed- suicide attempt, Patrick convinces her to purchase his childhood home using the money she inherited from her mother after her death. He’s painted a picture of happiness when speaking of his memories and upbringing in this house, and he feels that this will be a fresh new beginning for the family.
This might sound like an okay idea, only, the family that lived in the home after her husband’s parents had to sell it, were murdered there. Now known as The Murder House, Patrick’s childhood home has been uninhabited for years. It’s unsettling, dated and worn, and gives off an uneasy vibe. Upon moving in, Sarah slowly begins to discover that the Walker family history was riddled with secrets, and the picture of perfection her husband painted, was nothing but a smokescreen designed to disguise those lies.
I never trusted Patrick, not for a single second. He was manipulative and rubbed me the wrong way,setting off my creep meter for the entire novel. I thought he was a well-constructed character, even if I didn’t like him! While I never suspected the children of any wrongdoing, I found the daughter was incredibly cruel towards her mother, who was apparently grieving her own mother’s death, battling depression and recovering from an alleged suicide attempt. She blamed her for everything and showed her zero support. Her attitude was horrible and I had a hard time investing in her character.
There were also a few side characters that were weaved into the story to create mystery and to have you continue to question who was responsible for the goings-on- if not a spirit being. I appreciated the role they each played and how they propelled the plot forward, adding to the suspense, but I also found there were a few loose ends when it came to a couple of them. They just sort of dropped off or disappeared with no explanations towards the end.
Overall, this was an addictive read and one I would easily recommend to someone looking for a suspenseful thriller chock-full of family drama! Paranormal or psychological thriller? You'll have to read it to find out!
Sarah grew up with a mother who suffered from agoraphobia and a father who left, her childhood was less than ideal. When she meets Patrick, as a young nineteen year old, he sweeps her off her feet with his pretty face and pretty stories of a charming childhood. When he introduces her to his newborn baby boy Joe, she is swept up again. Her friend Caroline warns her that she is losing herself to Patrick but Joe needs her and she agrees to a pleading Patrick to get married. An abandoned college degree, birth of a daughter, and deep depression over her mother's death, has Sarah slowly seeing underneath all the pretty facades.
With my mother's money, I could make my husband's dream come true. But in doing that, I'd be destroying every dream of my own.
Woman in the Dark, has a strong Amityville Horror vibe with elements of The Girl on the Train. The story is mostly told all from Sarah's point of view with little snatches of a mystery person's pov. If you're familiar with the aforementioned stories, you'll know pretty soon where the story is headed. There were plenty of secondary characters to try to throw you off and have you second guessing supernatural or psychological, but most of the feelings of dread found here are from the knowing what Sarah is about to go through. The writing style, especially in the beginning, used a lot of short choppy sentences that gave it a staccato flow for me. This worked and didn't work for me, not a personal style favorite but when put together with how Sarah, her husband, and her two kids are portrayed in the first half, isolated or detached from one another, the style fits. The second half flows more smoothly as the pace picks up a bit, the reader starts to learn more as Sarah and her family start to interact and blind spots from only getting Sarah's point of view, start to fill.
I'm thinking of the dozen cracks in his control that have grown since we moved here.
When the reader comes into the story, Sarah is trying to emerge from deep depression over her mother's death and a maybe suicide attempt. Patrick convinces her to give up her inherited money to buy his childhood dream home, which they can only afford because fifteen years ago, a family, except for the younger son, was murdered there. Patrick's childhood home is called Murder House. Every thing is murky for Sarah as she is on medication and trying to become herself again, this makes the story murky, along with a lot of characters. Some secondary characters worked as credible misdirections and others, like Ian Hooper convicted of one of the murders, Tom the surviving younger son, and Sarah's friend Caroline, ended up landing very flat because of how they weren't utilized correctly; introduced, tangentially boogeymen, at times forgotten, and then left to sort of drift off.
I have to face it, stop hiding. I shake my head. I always do this---eyes tight shut, hands over my ears, hoping it will all go away if I just pretend it isn't happening. I can't do that anymore.
While I mentioned the constant circling of the question between supernatural or psychological, which the story never really gives a definite answer to, and Patrick's slow unraveling sending shivers down your spine, I think a lot of women will recognize the true horror of the story to be all the gaslighting. Murder House felt like an allegoric symbol for a woman trapped, pretty veneer covering up rot, showing once again, ghosts might not be the scariest beings haunting your home.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Top international reviews
The story was also implausible, but even if you swallow the basic plot, there were details that were wrong. For instance, Sarah applies for a passport for her 17-year-old stepson, which is impossible, as in the UK you can only get child passports for your offspring if they are under 16. But her stepson would not have been able to get a passport for himself either, as we are told he had no birth certificate. Facts like this are so easy to check on the internet.
I also find it weird to read books set in England that have Americanisms such as "snuck" and "mad at": they really jar. I think the swearing was excessive too.
Patrick sees this as the perfect opportunity to make life even better for himself and manipulates Sarah into selling the family home to move into his childhood home by the sea.
Unfortunately for Sarah, the house Patrick has such wonderful memories of became known as the Murder House when the family who lived in the house after Patrick were all murdered there.
Patrick gets his own way and the family move, but it doesn't take long for personalities to change, odd feelings and cold spots within the house to be discovered and a mysterious person is seen watching the house on several occasions.
Its easy to see why many are saying this book is the 'must-read' thriller of 2019, spooky and twisted in many ways, this book keeps you guessing right to the bitter end.
Sarah and her family move to a decaying house on the Welsh coast that her husband, Patrick, grew up in and that he has always wanted to return to. It is also known as “the murder house” after a man killed an entire family there, after Patrick’s family had moved out.
Sarah has her own problems, depression, and a complex relationship with her late mother, so despite her misgivings she allows her husband to fulfil his dream of moving back to the house he had his seemingly idyllic childhood in.
You did kind of wonder why the husband, Patrick, was so insistent with this, the house was a dump, falling apart and it stretched them financially. Their teenaged children were obviously also not happy to be uprooted.
When they move in, Patrick becomes more and more controlling and his personality seems to change, or at least to get worse. It is not clear if this is due to Patrick’s personality or the malign influence of the house. Sarah’s teenage children are also unhappy, thinking the house is creepy.
There is a feeling of malignancy throughout the book, and it portrays very well the crumbling, creepy house that they are living in. As the house decays around them, mold, damp etc, it is hinted that there is something not quite right with the house, that it can never be a home.
I enjoyed the book but found Sarah a bit too passive and unquestioning throughout. Your relatively normal husband of 17 years suddenly wanting to take out a massive mortgage to buy a semi derelict house you can’t afford, where a grisly murder happened, to recreate his childhood home would normally set alarm bells ringing, but seemingly not for Sarah.
I thought it had undertones of The Shining- is it the house or the person that is the root of the problem? Despite the passivity of Sarah as all, literally, crumbles around her, it was an enjoyable read.
Sarah wafts through life agonising over every decision ,usually ending in indecision , repeating herself all the time, subjecting herself to Patrick’s increased bullying and controlling nature. She loves the children but the disfunctional family unit makes it a misery memoir. The book is too long and too repetitive. We never know what Patrick’s job is and where all the money went. It doesn’t ’ end happily but by that time I had stopped caring .
Just enough chilling creepiness to not want to read in the dark, under the covers ... and thank goodness I haven't got a cellar ... but the pace quickens right to the final twist.
A terrific read, congratulations on a great debut novel. I can't wait to read the next one!
A real page turner.