First line: Every house has a story to tell and a secret to share.
Summary: Maggie Holt has lived in the shadow of the book, House of Horrors,
written by her father about the time they spent living at Baneberry
House. She has no memories of their time there and cannot get answers
about what really occurred there twenty-five years earlier. When she
learns that she has inherited the house from her father she decides to
go back, against the dying wish of her father, and try to find some
My Thoughts: I think this is one of my favorite
books by Riley Sager. He does a phenomenal job of creating a tense and
thrilling story. I find it interesting that he always writes women but
he does it so well.
From the very beginning I was hooked on
Maggie’s story. I needed to know what happened just as much as she did. I
could not turn the pages fast enough. I liked how the chapters
alternated between “the Book” and Maggie in present day. The parallels
made me want to keep reading with all the foreshadowing. There were
several scenes where I had to set the book down and breathe a little bit
to get past it.
This definitely has a The Haunting of Hill House vibe to it. A big scary house where a family it tormented. What could be better? But Sager does a great job of making this story his own. He has his classic twists and turns. I could not recommend this enough to anyone who loves a good thriller/ghost story.
FYI: Perfect for fans of The Haunting of Hill House, the Netflix show and book.
The English Wife by Lauren Willig
“They say he’s bankrupted himself rebuilding the house—all for her
, of course.”
Summary: When Bayard Van Duyvil is found dead with a knife in his chest and his wife, Annabelle is missing, speculation starts around the happy couple. Did Annabelle kill her husband? Who is she anyway? The whirlwind romance and quick marriage to an English woman brings gossip and questions to the New York society. Janie, Bay’s sister, is determined to find out who killed her brother and clear her sister-in-law’s name.
Highlights: I am a huge fan of Lauren Willig and her books. She can write a good mystery with well-developed characters. I really liked the character of Georgie/Annabelle. She has a twisted past that is slowly revealed through the story. Her relationship with Bay was one of my favorite parts. I enjoyed their interactions and the way that their relationship changed. The rules and etiquette of society were so annoying but I believe very real for the time. Divorce and gossip were game changers for people of the upper classes. The old money hated the new money. There is a plenty of detail about the period making it easy for me as a reader to understand and be transported into the story. The ending shocked me. I was not expecting the story to wrap up the way it did but it was perfect. As I read another review, they compared it to Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I think this is a great comparison.
Lowlights: The switching between 1899 and 1894 got a little confusing at different points. I am not always good about reading the little notes at the beginning of the chapter detailing when and where the story is taking place. It is very important in this book. In the middle, the story seemed to hit a lull. It was all about building up to the climax at the end.
FYI: Another win for Lauren Willig! If you like this, check out her Pink Carnation series. They are fantastic.