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The Evening Spider by Emily Arsenault

The Evening Spider: A Novel - Emily Arsenault

1885, Northampton Lunatic Hospital. Frances Bernett is retelling her story to a visitor. Frances is a young wife and a mother who started to question her memories and her sanity after her child was born. Could her pregnancy have hurt her sanity? And, her obsession with the (true) murder trial of Mary Stannard seems a bit odd.

Present day. Abby is a new mother and she has adjusted to motherhood just fine, but then she starts to have odd experiences in her house. It feels like there is something, someone in her daughter's room and she sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night hearing through the baby monitor “shh”, like there is someone in there comforting her baby. Through research, she finds out that Frances Barnett lived in the house 125 years before. Could Frances be haunting the house, and if so why?

The cover and the interesting blurb caught my attention and I was eagerly approaching the day I could start to read this book. I love reading books with a parallel story line. And, this one appealed to me quite much because I love haunted house stories. The blurb I read said that it was a psychological suspense and I can understand that the book has been labeled that, unfortunately, I never felt any suspense while reading this book. But, I can understand that there are readers that this book will appeal to very much. I'm just a very hard reader to impress sometimes. I think my main problem was that the story set in 1885 never really got interesting enough for me, the diary notes about the trial and another case that France's husband was representing just never fully worked for me. I did wonder about Frances growing interest for arsenic, especially when she apparently had done something awful to be put in a lunatic asylum. But, I just never really found myself that deeply interested in Frances and her life.


I did, however, like Abby and reading about her struggle with coming to term if the house was haunted or not. And, through Abby's struggle, we get to know more about her and a very painful memory that she is caring with her. I think Abby slowly learning more about the house, revealing some info here and there about her past is what makes the book truly interesting.

The ending was good, especially when the truth about Frances being in a lunatic asylum was revealed.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, just because I didn't feel that this was a thrilling psychological novel doesn't mean that other would not find it so. As I wrote before; I'm very hard to impress sometimes. However, it was interesting to read, and I think if you like reading about women in the last 1900-century and their role in society will you like this book.


I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review.