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Review ❤️ The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman

March 20, 2017

the widows house carol goodman

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…

Release Date: Mar 7, 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: William Morrow
Price: $10.99


Jess and Clare Martin sell their loft in Brooklyn so they can move to the suburbs where Jess can focus on writing his second novel. They want a fresh start for their marriage and their debts and are shocked at how expensive homes outside New York City have gotten. They end up taking jobs as caretakers of “Riven House” in the Hudson Valley. The five hundred acre estate owned by their former writing professor includes a huge, octagon shaped mansion which is in badly need of repair. The worst part of Jess and Clare’s new home, however, isn’t the condition of the house but the sense that this house doesn’t want to see any of its residents living happily ever after.

Carol Goodman has a long list of writing credits, but this is the first book I’ve read by the author. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I really enjoyed the book. It starts out like a fairly straightforward story of a couple going through common struggles of money problems and jealousy, although with a strong sense of foreboding even from the beginning. Jess is portrayed as a talented but moody man with an eye for attractive women. Clare seems like a devoted, hard-working wife at first, but as the book goes on, the reader isn’t sure if Clare’s version of events is true or if she is simply insecure and paranoid. She sometimes appears very petty and Jess can come across like a jerk, but I cared about the characters even though I didn’t always like them.

It seems unbelievable that Jess and Clare didn’t see what was happening to them the longer they stayed at Riven House and get out. However, even though people had warned Clare from the beginning not to stay at Riven House, she feels she has finally found a place she belongs. She holds onto the belief that the house is good for her and for Jess’s writing career, even when she starts hearing non-existent babies crying in the night and seeing apparitions of women in the fog on the estate. At times, she even doubts her own sanity, but still feels drawn to the house even when tragedy strikes on the estate. By the end, the reader is in the same situation as Clare, not knowing what’s real and which version of events is the truth. Readers who enjoyed Wendy Webb’s The Vanishing or Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood will enjoy this gothic, psychological suspense novel. The Widow’s House is intriguing, dark, and sometimes strange, but this chilling novel is consistently suspenseful from beginning to end.

~ Christine

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for the review I would love to read this. I,’be been into a lot of suspense reads lately.
    Carol L

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