THE WIDOW’S HOUSE by Carol Goodman


Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Source: Borrowed from the library
Rating: ★★★★


This chilling novel from the bestselling, award-winning author of The Lake of Dead Languages 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…


I enjoyed this Modern Gothic from Carol Goodman. It’s creepy and twisty, and it keeps you guessing as to what’s really going on.

The main characters are Jess and Clare Martin, who met in an “invitation only” writing class in college. Jess had one novel published in his early twenties, but that was years ago, and now they’re broke. The couple ends up back in their small college town as caretakers of their old writing professor’s crumbling estate. It seems like the perfect place to rekindle Jess’ writing career – possibly Clare’s too – but the house has a dark history, and its ghosts don’t want to keep quiet.

I liked the eerie atmosphere and uneasy feeling the story conveyed, and the mystery of the house’s tragic past was intriguing. Loved how it all wrapped up in the end! I was quite surprised at the outcome. I’m glad I spotted this one at the library and will definitely add Carol Goodman’s other books to my wishlist.

EDDIE: THE LOST YOUTH OF EDGAR ALLAN POE by Scott Gustafson

eddie
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 23, 2011
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★


When young Eddie is falsely accused of destroying the Judge’s chicken coop, his adopted parents give him two days to find the true culprit. Guided by logic, but entranced by the poetry of the paranormal, Eddie seeks to solve the mystery, along the way meeting Captain Mephisto, a darkly unusual magician. With help from his Raven and the prodding of a mischievous imp, McCobber, it is no wonder that Eddie grows up to become a master of the macabre.

Scott Gustafson crafts a finely wrought portrait that is both humorous and touching. Coupled with his stunning gothic illustrations, EDDIE is sure to win fans young and old.


My son got this book for Christmas, but I had to read it first – because Poe! EDDIE is a mystery geared toward middle grade readers, and it gives a glimpse into what Edgar Allan Poe’s childhood might have been like, and how experiences in his youth influenced the stories and poems he wrote as an adult.

How did a neighbor’s prize rooster and a cat end up inside Eddie’s pillow case, and stuck on the roof? Eddie’s harsh stepfather Mr. Allan only gives him a day to prove his innocence. With the help of his pet raven and a mischievous imp, Eddie sets out to solve the mystery.

This book is a good introduction to Poe for young readers. The author Scott Gustafson also illustrated the book, and the detailed drawings are amazing. IMO, nothing too scary. A fun, quick read, worthy of the keeper shelf.

THE SHIMMERING ROAD by Hester Young

shimmeringroad
Series: Charlie Cates, #2
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Source: Penguin’s First to Read Program
Rating: ★★★★


A pulse-pounding mystery from the author of The Gates of Evangeline featuring Charlotte “Charlie” Cates, an unforgettable heroine whose dark visions bring to light secrets that will heal or destroy those around her…

When soon-to-be mother Charlotte “Charlie” Cates begins to have recurring dreams about harm coming to her unborn daughter, she knows these are not the nightmares of an anxious mom-to-be. They are the result of her mysterious gift. But before she can decipher what these dreams might mean, Charlie learns that the mother who abandoned her when she was a toddler is the victim of a double murder in Arizona. The other victim — Jasmine, a half-sister Charlie never knew she had — has left behind a child, a little girl who speaks to Charlie in her dreams and was present on the night of the murders. Convinced that she must help her orphaned niece, Charlie travels to Tucson, Arizona, where she must confront her painful ties to her mother and delve into her sister’s shadowy past.

To untangle the web of secrets that will reveal the truth of her nightmares, Charlie can no longer avoid her family’s checkered history. Who is in the racy photos that turned up in Jasmine’s apartment? Where is her niece’s father, whom Jasmine was rumored to have been seeing again on the sly? Was her mother’s charity work in Mexico really as selfless as it seemed? And most important of all, what did her niece really witness on the night of the murders?

The search for answers leads Charlie across the Mexican border, from the resort town of Rocky Point to the border town of Nogales, and elucidates the meaning of her dreams in most unexpected ways. Ultimately, to protect her niece and her unborn child, Charlie must battle not just evil but the forces of nature, in one final terrifying encounter in the Tucson desert.

A thrilling mystery that combines literary suspense and romance with a mystical twist that is unputdownable. If you love Kate Atkinson and Alice Sebold, you should not miss Hester Young.


Is there such a thing as a Southwestern Gothic? If so, this is it. THE SHIMMERING ROAD is an intriguing sequel to Hester Young’s first book, THE GATES OF EVANGELINE. (Read GATES first, so you’ll know the backstory.) Charlie’s paranormal gift brings her and fiancé Noah to Tucson, Arizona, and straight into a complex murder mystery that hits close to the heart. The story grabbed my attention pretty quickly, and of course, Charlie’s dark visions gave me the creeps. I was surprised by Charlie’s initial reaction to her orphaned niece, though by the end I could understand where she was coming from.

I enjoyed the desert setting of this book, both in southern Arizona and just across the border in Mexico. The author did a great job incorporating life in a Mexican-American border town into the mystery. Lots of interesting twists in the plot, and I was never sure what characters could be trusted. Definitely a page-turner!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Penguin’s First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review.