Hi friends! I’m super excited to share my thoughts on this book with you, considering it was so addicting I accidentally binge-read the last 300 pages. Oops.
A huge thank you to Penguin for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review!
The other orphans say Margot is lucky.
Lucky to survive the horrible accident that killed her family.
Lucky to have her own room because she wakes up screaming every night.
And finally, lucky to be chosen by a prestigious family to live at their remote country estate.
But it wasn’t luck that made the Suttons rescue Margot from her bleak existence at the group home. Margot was handpicked to be a companion to their silent, mysterious daughter, Agatha. At first, helping with Agatha–and getting to know her handsome older brother–seems much better than the group home. But soon, the isolated, gothic house begins playing tricks on Margot’s mind, making her question everything she believes about the Suttons . . . and herself.
Margot’s bad dreams may have stopped when she came to live with Agatha – but the real nightmare has just begun.
I’ve tried reading a couple of YA horror books before. They were…eh to say the least. So I went into this, turned off all my lights, turned on my phone, and read. And as I slowly felt tendrils of fear crawl up my spine, I realized: wow, this is actually a horror story of quality caliber. It’s not gory and gruesome, or even shockingly exciting in the way of action. No, it reminds me ever so slightly of Jane Eyre, with a huge mansion, but something always seems slightly…off. And that’s the kind of horror that gets me, the incredible combination of creepy atmosphere and suspicious characters. I loved this.
Margot is an interesting dilemma for me. I liked her well enough don’t get me wrong! However, there were times when I felt that she was too eager to please Laura, a little too ignorant of the things happening around her. in all fairness though, this behavior makes sense as the book goes on and we come to understand her character more. I also really loved and appreciated Margot and Agatha’s friendship!
I LOVED the dynamic here. We have a husband who’s hardly ever home, a mother who is caring but has strangely strict rules, and a daughter who hardly speaks or reacts at all. (And I mean, later on we have the Handsome Older Brother but I digress* for now). And this all takes place in a gothic-y mansion.
One of my favorite aspects was actually the perfectly written contrast between the “darker” parts of the story (forbidden rooms, scenes at night) and the “lighter” parts (the bright garden, a “meaningless” conversation here or there). It enhanced the atmosphere by making everything totally unreliable which I think was an absolutely brilliant move on the author’s part.
*am i…actually showing self-control????? this might never happen again let’s enjoy it while it lasts-
Plot-wise, I think normally I would be bored. We hardly move away from the mansion, and a lot of the thrills and chills are psychologically induced. But the author has such a compelling writing style, and keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire book! I found a couple of things a bit obvious, but luckily I didn’t really mind.
As for the romance…I uh…didn’t think it really added to the story. Like yes, I loved getting to see the characters becoming more fleshed out as they become more vulnerable and open with each other. But I also wasn’t feeling the romantic aspects of it. Like cool, they like each other. It felt a little insta-lovey to me at first, but I do think it was resolved rather well in the end.
Honestly? I don’t want to say too much more because spoilers*. But I was pleasantly surprised by how good this was, and I really want to check out the author’s other books. If you’re searching for a good creepy read that won’t terrify you but give you a proper amount of chills, or even anything with a gothic twist, I’d highly recommend this one! You can preorder this here or add it to Goodreads here!
*i have been known to spoil things before irl accidentally but NOT TODAY MY FRIENDS.
Do you have a favorite horror novel?