I’m constantly on the prowl for new books so recently I subscribed to a book subscription called “A Box of Stories”, you can check them out here —>https://aboxofstories.com/

It’s a pretty nifty idea, a collection of books from undiscovered authors, hand picked for you based on your chosen genre and there’s a few to choose from! You have:

(this image is a screenshot from https://aboxofstories.com/ and I do not own it)

I went for Crime, Mystery & Thriller and I must say I was pretty happy with the selection I received, I am currently finishing book number three, which is The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana. You receive a surprise box each time and you can change the frequency of the deliveries. You can also link this to your Goodreads accounts too, so you don’t accidentally get a sent a book you’ve already read, it’s great!

I have left small reviews on 2 out of the 4 books that I’ve read already so if you’re interested, do check out my Instagram page, but the book that has left me pondering days after I’ve finished it is “The Woman in the Dark” written by Vanessa Savage. I’ve enjoyed it so much, that I bought a copy for my mum!

So this brings me to the true intention of this post: my first book review! So grab a cup of tea, get cosy and enjoy reading! There will be spoilers! So stop reading now if this is on your “To Read” list.

The Woman in the Dark by Vanessa Savage

A a psychological thriller set in modern day South Wales, we meet Sarah, who after the death of her mother has a very difficult time piecing herself back together. Her husband Patrick, worried about her and their children, feels a new start will be best for the family so they move down to live by the sea in Patrick’s childhood home- a home in which a brutal murder took place 15 years ago and therefore been renamed to the Murder House.

The first thing I want to unwrap is the trigger, the final nail in the coffin, so to speak, which becomes the reason as to why the family has to move; Sarah accidentally overdoses on sleeping pills. Six months before this her mother passes away, leaving her a small sum of money, which Sarah wants to use for travelling the world with her family. After her overdose, Sarah agrees to give this money to her husband so they can buy his childhood home and start a new life.

Shortly after moving into the new home, strange things begin to happen, over time Patrick becomes aggressive and unpredictable, falling into fits of rage and mood swings, always lovingly apologising afterwards. Little bizarre “gifts” such as children’s toys are left at the front door with no explanation and let’s not forget the stranger watching the house from across the road. We can see this is very quickly becoming a toxic environment for the entire family. Sarah, feeling responsible for their families unhappiness, is desperate to make things work and to help her husband create the perfect home he dreams off.

Patrick believes they can bring the house back to its former glory, but we soon come to find the murderer of the previous owners has been released on parole, we are introduced to cold spots in the house, writing on the wall hidden under peeling wallpaper, stares and whispers from neighbours. We very much get a creepy possibly haunted house feeling, the paranormal element always at bay and with lack of any explanation this only increases the tension keeping you gripped up until the last page.

Sarah has been instructed to take medication for her anxiety but this results in her loosing her grip on reality thus becoming disconnected from her children. What I liked here was that we didn’t have to deal with little children that had to be taken care of, we have a 17 year old boy and a 15 year old girl, both developed characters with their own little storylines within the book. This idea by the author, also helped to shows us readers, the effect the medication had on Sarah and the lack of knowledge she actually has about what happens in her children’s lives, this becomes particularly evident when her son is admitted to a hospital after being assaulted and we come to find out how her daughter has lost her virginity.

After you finish this book, you come to realise the title gives a fair bit away. It tells you that the stranger watching the house is indeed a woman, from a darker time, but I feel like it also says a lot about Sarah. Due to her blind love and trust in her husband, she was unable to see the way she was being manipulated and gaslighted by Patrick from the day she met him. Because of the medication she took, she wasn’t able to see the pain & difficulties her children were going through and how her lack of support affected them. She was in fact, in the dark in regards to all the people and things that matter.

Overall, this is quite a dark read, with a lot of twists and small elements of horror, however it’s written so well that it is difficult to put down. It keeps you guessing not only with the storyline but also the general theme of the book, you half expect a possession to take place and I guess in a way it does with Patrick, who becomes a completely different man to whom we were introduced to at the start. The final chapters in the basement, felt like a lid has been lifted to years of secrets, the violence from Patrick demonstrated him spiralling completely out of control. It also resulted in Sarah finally being exposed to who her husband really is and how he has been orchestrating their entire life.

If you are looking for a good read, I would definitely recommend this, it was a solid 5 stars from me.

Has anyone else read this? What were your thoughts?

Be kind to one another,

Kamila

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