The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman #TuesdayBookBlog #suspense

This chilling novel from the bestselling, award-winning author of The Lake of Dead 30759310Languages 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 twenties. 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, see 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… – Goodreads.com

Reading The Widow’s House was a strange experience for me because rarely have I come across a book in which I disliked so many characters.  That being said, this is a wonderful blend of gothic and twisty psychological suspense and once I reached around the halfway mark, I honestly wasn’t sure which direction this story would take.  And I still wasn’t certain until the last several pages.  So, yeah – it’s compelling.

The setting is modern day New York, but Riven House might as well be an old ancestral manor in the English countryside.  With a long tainted history, it holds many secrets that are gradually revealed as the pages are turned.  Toward the end of this book, like Clare, I wasn’t sure what was real anymore and questioned everyone’s motives and actions – which thrilled me as a reader.

Getting back to the characters – I’ll focus on Clare.  It’s difficult for me to connect to a story when I can’t get behind the MC.  Clare isn’t very likable for various reasons, but for me, it’s because she considers herself inferior to her husband and is constantly worried about upsetting him, and when there’s friction between them, she looks for another man to rescue her.  Slather some paranoia on top of that and you’ve got yourself a basket case; however, I’ll say that some of her behavior makes sense at the end.

Although I didn’t care for most of the characters, the plot was strong enough to hook me and I’d recommend this to fans of psychological suspense.  The Widow’s House is scheduled for publication March 21st, 2017.

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the ARC.

 

The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman #FridayBookShare @ShelleyWilson72

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Friday Book Share was created by Shelley Wilson.   Anyone can have a go – all you need to do is answer the following questions based on a book you are currently reading/finished reading this week and use the hashtag #FridayBookShare.  The rules are as follow:

First line of the book.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb.

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Your favorite line/scene.

I’m currently reading The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman – will probably finish it today or tomorrow.

First line:  When I picture the house I see it in the late afternoon, the golden river light filling the windows and gilding the two hundred year old brick.

Recruit fans by adding book blurb:  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 twenties. 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, see 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…

Introduce the main character:  Clare is far from my favorite character – I actually don’t care for any of the characters in this book, but am enjoying the mystery.  Clare is kind, weak, and subservient.

Delightful design:

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Audience appeal:  Fans of psychological suspense with a gothic feel.

Your favorite line/scene:  I pulled the sleeping bag over his chest, stood up, and startled at the sight of my reflection in the glass doors.  Only it wasn’t my reflection.  The figure on the terrace was splattered with blood too, but she was wearing a long dress and a shawl covering her head and shoulders and she clutched a bundle to her chest.  I stood frozen, waiting for the image to dissipate into something else – as it always had before – into a scrap of fog, a trick of moonlight, a shift of shadow.  But it didn’t.  Instead it – she – turned and vanished into the darkness of the lawn.

The Vanishing by Wendy Webb

Recently widowed and rendered penniless by her Ponzi-scheming husband, Julia Bishop is eager to start anew. So when a stranger appears on her doorstep with a job offer, she finds herself accepting 17646414the mysterious yet unique position: caretaker to his mother, Amaris Sinclair, the famous and rather eccentric horror novelist whom Julia has always admired…and who the world believes is dead.

When she arrives at the Sinclairs’ enormous estate on Lake Superior, Julia begins to suspect that there may be sinister undercurrents to her “too-good-to-be-true” position. As Julia delves into the reasons of why Amaris chose to abandon her successful writing career and withdraw from the public eye, her search leads to unsettling connections to her own family tree, making her wonder why she really was invited to Havenwood in the first place, and what monstrous secrets are still held prisoner within its walls. – Goodreads.com

This was a modern day Gothic horror story – young woman a new arrival at an old family estate, then the ghosts come out to greet the fresh meat.

Although I didn’t feel this book deserved a 5 star rating, I found it difficult to put down.  Julia’s story immediately drew me in, but at times I questioned her decision-making process.  I could almost believe her decision to accept Adrian’s job offer – it’s not like Julia was overwhelmed with options, but other times, she seemed to have the logic of a naive teenager who really should have known better.

Amaris Sinclair was a joy to read and added some humorous moments to the story.  I loved her straightforward, love of life attitude.

The pacing was perfect and one of the reasons I was riveted to this book.  There were highs, lows, revelations, plot twists, and white knuckle moments and a huge surprise at the end of the novel that made me want to go back and look for clues that would have indicated that outcome.

This is an excellent novel to curl up on the couch with and read on a snowy day – or rainy night.  It’s definitely worthy of your time.  The Vanishing is due to be released January 21, 2014.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.