Maggie Holt was just a kid when she and her parents fled their new home in the middle of the night due to paranormal activity. As they lived out the next few months in a motel room, her father wrote his infamous book, House of Horrors, which detailed the haunting events of their brief 20-day stay in Baneberry Hall. Now, as an adult, Maggie inherits the old house after he father passed away. She returns to the Hall with plans to renovate and sell it as quickly as possible, but secrets from her past have a different plan. Will she be able to avoid the same fate as her family 25 years ago?
If you’re looking for a quick recommendation, yes, I would definitely recommend this book!
I read this book in two days. I’m sure everyone knows what a huge Riley Sager fan I am at this point, but you have to know what a great book this is! Despite my love for Sager’s work. Several times, in various summaries I read and even in the book, Maggie’s story is likened to The Amityville Horror. Both because Maggie’s father’s book was received with widespread fanaticism and skepticism.
Throughout the book, Sager inserts chapters of House of Horrors alongside Maggie’s story. It feels as though you’re reading two books in one. In the process, the reader sees Maggie’s family’s stay and her own stay at Baneberry Hall come to an end. But the truth only reveals itself in Maggie’s story. Which she later writes in her own book, House of Lies. I loved how it felt like I was reading a book within a book.
Maggie constantly doubts the truth of her father’s work, but when spooky things start to happen similar to that of her father’s book, she begins to believe in her father’s book. As the reader, you’re constantly swayed, just as Maggie moves between doubt and belief. It made me feel uneasy. Not to mention the ghostly activity that starts slow, but soon happens all the time as we near the end of the book. I will warn readers if you are scared of snakes, there is one scene that had me squirming. I think I had to take a break after that, just to feel normal again.
The story is mostly focused on the happenings int he house and its history, for which the characters suffer. They seem a bit shallow, but the focus of the story is not on them. It’s the house, which takes on its own character as we learn more and more about its dark history and what happened to Maggie’s family 25 years ago. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to a busy mom. Despite the near-constant fatigue of parenthood, you’ll be sure to read this book as quickly as possible to find out what happens at the end.
Five out of five stars
If you enjoyed my review of Home Before Dark by Riley Sager, you might also like Final Girls also by Riley Sager. Check out my review!
If you’re interested in purchasing Home Before Dark, here are some quick links to buy the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And, if you’re interested to see what others think, here’s the link to the book on Goodreads.