This chilling novel from the best-selling, award-winning author of The Lake of Dead Languages blends the gothic allure of Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca and the crazed undertones of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper with the twisty, contemporary edge of A.S.A. Harrison's The Silent Wife - a harrowing tale of psychological suspense set in New York's Hudson Valley.
When Jess and Clare Martin move from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to their former college town in the Hudson River valley, they are hoping for rejuvenation - of their marriage, their savings, and Jess's writing career.
They take a caretaker's job at Riven House, a crumbling estate and the home of their old college writing professor. While Clare once had dreams of being a writer, those plans fell by the wayside when Jess made a big, splashy literary debut in their 20s. It's been years, now, since his first novel. The advance has long been spent. Clare's hope is that the pastoral beauty and nostalgia of the Hudson Valley will offer some inspiration.
But their new life isn't all quaint town libraries and fragrant apple orchards. There is a haunting pall that hangs over Riven House like a funeral veil. Something is just not right. Soon, Clare begins to hear babies crying at night and seeing strange figures in fog at the edge of their property. Diving into the history of the area, she realizes that Riven House has a dark and anguished past. And whatever this thing is - this menacing force that destroys the inhabitants of the estate - it seems to be after Clare next.
Goodman offers an engaging atmospheric and spooky story set in the Rhinebeck area of the Hudson Valley in New York state. I know the area and think she did a good job capturing its feeling of place and the mood of the setting. The story starts out a bit slow as the author sets the scene but gains steady momentum as the tale progresses. In the end, I thought it all came together and held my interest throughout.
One caveat--I might suggest skipping the publisher summary. This write up is filled with plot spoilers if you read the list of books they compare this book to. It's a lot more fun to go into this book without all the hints and preconceived notions presented. Ghost stories should be fun and take you by surprise--sans spoilers--at least to my mind, that is.
Campbell is one of my favorite narrators these days. I think she did an acceptable job here. Just a tiny bit wobbly in a few spots, but overall, I enjoyed her as usual.
Recommended if you'd like a seasonally focused bit of spooky October fun with minimal eye rolling required. I enjoyed it.
21 of 24 people found this review helpful
this has all the Hallmarks of a Carol Goodman book. a story of writers living in a maybe or maybe not haunted house. this is a Gothic novel so it's a little on the dark side. but if that's your cup of tea you will love this book.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This was a fairly interesting mashup of classic gothic novels, but I did find the narrator's voice to be a bit grating at times. I didn't find the "haunting" aspects particularly scary, but it was an interesting attempt to give a shoutout to Henry James. The book does drag on a bit in the end. The "epilogue" lasts several chapters, and while it was nice to see all of the threads neatly tied up, I found myself counting down the minutes until it ended.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
This has got to be one of her best. Can't wait till the next one.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful
The book has an engaging story arc with complex and believable characters. The narration is wonderful.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Good plot but soooo drawn out. However, Cassandra Campbell is one of my favorite narrators.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Waaaaay too far afield. And waaaaay to long to bother listening to. Couldn't stay awake.
2 of 7 people found this review helpful