Bantam | 12 September 2023 | 288 pgs
Source: Library 

Most people will avoid buying a haunted or a murder house, but not Sarah Slade. A self-help writer and therapist, she believes that renovating Black Wood House will give it a new life and not to mention that it might help to boost her fame both for her blog and her book. However, her husband thinks otherwise but Sarah's mind is set. This decision further put a strain on their already rocky marriage but Sarah is adamant. 

After they've moved into the house and begins the renovations, they start to experience a lot of strange occurrences. Such as, the contractor injured himself while doing the plumbing (an unfortunate accident?) or unexplained footsteps in the attic when no one is around (spooky!). Granted, it's an old house but Sarah couldn't shake the feeling that she's also being watched. On top of that, her neighbours and the community shun her like a plague and Sarah started to feel frightened after finding threatening notes meant only for her. Despite everything, Sarah wants to find out about the murder that happened in her house and if it is connected to the threatening notes she's been receiving lately. 

I've to confess I've mixed feelings about this book but let's start off with the things that I liked first. I loved the spooky, atmospheric element. A haunted/murder house usually draw me into the story and all the more with the main character being unreliable and harbour secrets and a dark past. Now onto the things that gave me doubts. I'm not sure if this book is leaning towards the horror genre or the psychological suspense genre; and ultimately a reader who chose either one might be left feeling a tad disappointed,  depending on one's expectations. Well, at least this reader was. 

Finally, Sarah. I did not understand her behaviours and actions at times and if there's one thing which made me dislike her more, that is she's stolen someone's (who's close to her) boyfriend and made him her husband. That said, the ending was a surprise (which led me to question some issues) but overall I enjoyed the author's writing. 
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6 Responses
  1. Lark Says:

    You know how much I love that haunted house kind of setting, too. I'm sorry to hear that parts of this book disappointed. Because the premise does sound really good.

  2. Melody Says:

    Lark - It does sounds like it has a good premise, isn't it? Just wish that the execution is better, oh well.

  3. Kay Says:

    I agree with what Lark said. I love a good haunted, Gothic-type book. However, as you said, if the protagonist has stolen someone to be her husband - not my kind of character. We'll see if it crosses my path at the library maybe. I might pick it up.

  4. Melody Says:

    Kay - I'll be curious of your thoughts if you decide to read it, Kay. :)

  5. Iliana Says:

    I think the main character would frustrate me a bit too but I admit I love haunted house settings! Will have have to add this one to my list.

  6. Melody Says:

    Iliana - I'll be curious of your thoughts if you read this book, Iliana. And a haunted house setting is always a plus to me for a thriller. :)

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