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…
Clare Martin, the narrator of this gripping read from Hammett Prize winner Goodman (River Road), and her husband, Jess, sell their twice-mortgaged Brooklyn loft and move to Concord, N.Y., where Clare grew up and the couple attended college. They can't afford to buy a home, so they accept jobs as caretakers of River House, their former writing professor's dilapidated mansion. At first, the change in scenery proves beneficial to them both; stalled author Jess begins making progress on his next book, and the estate's blood-soaked history inspires Clare to write a novel of her own. But when Clare starts seeing ghostly figures and hearing cries in the night, readers will be forced to wonder whether River House is actually haunted or Clare is suffering a mental breakdown. Though the story's setting and tone pay homage to such authors as Edgar Allan Poe, Shirley Jackson, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the fresh plot and modern characters give this twisty contemporary gothic a timeless feel.