Sarah and Patrick are married and have two children, Joe who is seventeen and Mia who is fifteen. Since Sarah’s mother passed away, she is riddled with guilt and her emotional state is fragile. Now, she is told she tried to commit suicide. But surely she didn’t. She loves her family too much to contemplate such a thing.
Patrick wants to buy the old seaside Victorian house he was brought up in. Sarah objects for two reasons. Firstly they cannot afford such a house and secondly… this house was the site of the murder of an entire family. It is known locally as “The Murder House”.
Patrick is insistent. He says that a move to this house would be a fresh start for their family. Sarah could make it the idyllic house of his childhood memories. So, with the addition of the entire amount of money Sarah’s mother bequeathed to her, they buy the house.
Immediately upon moving in Sarah knows that this move was a dire mistake. The children hate the house. Patrick is acting unlike himself. Moody and volatile, he is drastically changed… And, it seems as though someone is watching the house. Could it be the murderer of the family who once lived here?
With no money for redecorating, the house is dreary. Peeling wallpaper, moldy and damp, the house has cold spots. Sarah can never feel warm. And she is sleeping her days away…
Sarah, unable to face her present predicament, turns to her art as a form of escape. She was in university when she met Patrick but dropped out to marry him. Now, after many years, she wants to return to her painting.
One day she comes home to discover Patrick in the backyard – burning her sketches. A whole lifetime’s worth of sketches of her beloved children…. turned to ash.
This is just one of many betrayals and acts of emotional sabotage.
Will Sarah and her family survive living in “The Murder House”?
WOW! “The Woman in the Dark” was my 100th read this year and what a brilliant thriller!
Compelling writing and continuous tension ensured that I was riveted to the story for the entirety of the book. A debut domestic thriller that reads like the work of a much more experienced author.
A thriller chock-full of lies, secrets, family dysfunction, and menace.
The Welsh seaside setting, the macabre house, and the protagonist, Sarah, all combined to make this novel one of my favourite reads this year!
Highly recommended! Now, I can’t wait to read Vanessa Savage’s second novel “In the Woods” due to be published in January 2020 by Sphere.
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley.
Vanessa Savage is a graphic designer and illustrator. She lives in South Wales with her husband and two daughters.
Her debut novel, The Woman in the Dark, was bought at auction by Sphere in the UK and Grand Central Publishing in the US and was published as a lead title in January 2019. Her second novel, The Woods, will be published in January 2020.
Follow Vanessa Savage on Twitter.