Publisher: William Morrow
Date of publication: March 2017
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 was really looking forward to reading The Widow's House. I have been in the mood for a good ghost story. I ended up with mixed feelings about the book. I liked it, I just didn't love it. In the story, Clare and her writer husband Jess, move to her hometown to make a fresh start. Clare begins to see ghosts and wonders if she is going crazy.
There were definitely parts of the story that I liked. The writing was really good. The author has a way of setting up the dark Gothic atmosphere of the house and estate that makes the reader feel as if they are a part of the story. I also liked that the story was from Clare's point of view; allowing the reader to experience everything along with Clare. It definitely made me wonder at times if Clare ws crazy.
Having said all of that, the book really dragged for me until about the last 1/3 of the book. I thought the overall story was kind of predicable, so I was a little disappointed in the end. I was interested enough to keep reading to the end. I was just really hoping for something unique and I just didn't get it.
I think fans of this author would love this book. I recommend it to anyone who likes psychological Gothic stories involving creepy houses.
About Carol Goodman
Carol Goodman is the critically acclaimed author of fourteen novels, including The Lake of Dead Languages and The Seduction of Water, which won the 2003 Hammett Prize. Her books have been translated into sixteen languages. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her family, and teaches writing and literature at the New School and SUNY New Paltz.
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