What was it like? Living in that house.
Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.
Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father”s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father”s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.
Thank you Dutton Books and Netgalley for my advanced copy of Home Before Dark by Riley Sager. This title publishes June 30, 2020.
This book gave me CHILLS.
Probably my favourite Sager yet – Home Before Dark has all the eerie vibes ranging from Amityville Horror, Haunting of Hill House and the Conjuring – I couldn’t get enough!
The story is told in two unique POVs, that of Maggie Holt – now an adult – who has just inherited the “haunted” house she lived in as a young child following the death of her father; the second POV is told in chapter excerpts from a book that was written by Maggie’s father, Ewan Holt, following their experience in the house.
Maggie’s father recently passed away and much to her surprise she inherits Baneberry Hill, a home she and her family lived in for 20 days when she was 5 years old and which was the subject of a popular book written by her father. Maggie had no idea the house still belonged to her father and despite this stories and rumours, Maggie is adamant that none of the haunting was true. Her quest for answers turns into more than she could have imagined and has her questioning the doubt and resentment she has carried for over 25 years against her parents.
I could not put this book down. Sager did an exceptional job at setting the stage with dark and eerie atmospheric and gothic vibes. The House – Baneberry Hall – is a character in and of itself and while I was reading I certainly felt like I was inside the house with the rest of the characters – scared out of my wits!
The story is reminiscent of the Haunting of Hill House – which scared the heck out of me – and loosely based on the Amityville Horror house legend. I inhaled this book in less than 2 days after recently devouring Sager’s first three books in weeks prior (all of which I LOVED as well).
I highly recommend adding this to your summer reading list – especially if you like a good haunting/ghost story!
My Rating: 5/5
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