Review: Home Before Dark - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

In the latest thriller from New York Times best seller Riley Sager, a woman returns to the house made famous by her father’s best-selling horror memoir. Is the place really haunted by evil forces, as her father claimed? Or are there more earthbound – and dangerous – secrets hidden within its walls?

What was it like? Living in that house.

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity – and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself – a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.

Alternating between Maggie’s uneasy homecoming and chapters from her father’s book, Home Before Dark is the story of a house with long-buried secrets and a woman’s quest to uncover them – even if the truth is far more terrifying than any haunting.

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Home Before Dark
By Riley Sager

Review: Home Before Dark

“Maggie… Promise me you’ll never go back there.
Never ever… It—it’s not safe there. Not for you.”

A woman confronts the ghosts of her past in Riley Sager’s must-read, HOME BEFORE DARK.

Sager freshens a classic horror trope to deliver this outstanding gothic thriller. Wonderfully atmospheric and creepy, his latest channels The Amityville Horror and House on Haunted Hill.

Twenty-five years ago, in the dead of night, Maggie Holt and her family fled Baneberry Hall—a Victorian estate nestled in the Vermont woods. In House of Horrors, a novel that subsequently fascinated readers worldwide, her father claims they were terrorized by evil spirits. But Maggie has no memories of these malevolent encounters. She’s confident that what her father penned is nothing but lies—lies which have haunted the whole of her adulthood.

Now dedicated to restoring old homes, Maggie decides to return to Baneberry Hall with the guise of flipping the ill-famed mansion. She’s determined to uncover the real reason behind their abrupt departure.

But almost immediately Maggie experiences things right out of her father’s book, things which hint at the sinister secrets that hide within its crumbling walls. And before too long, she uncovers the truth is far more terrifying than the lies.

Sager creates a rich, deeply menacing atmosphere that kept me on edge. I could clearly envision Baneberry Hall with its glowing entry chandelier, filled with old furniture no one dared return to claim, scarred by the murder and insanity it witnessed (or instigated). Tension rachets as we alternate between Maggie’s present-day experience and chapters from her father’s book, making me wonder what truly lurked around the corner. I had theories aplenty of course, and was yet surprised as the final, satisfying scenes felt into place. I didn’t think I could love another book of his as much as FINAL GIRLS, but I loved this one just as much.

Brilliantly plotted, wonderfully creepy and impossible to put down. Read it immediately into the night… but leave the lights on.

“Houses are always changing. Coats of paint. Rows of laminate. Rolls of carpet. They cover up a home’s stories and secrets, rendering them silent until someone comes along to reveal them.”

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