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Quick take

A woman inherits her creepy childhood home to find it's haunted by more than memories. Cue the Ouija board game chills.

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    Famous author

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    Creepy

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Murder

    Murder

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    Book about books

Why I love it

Every house has a story to tell and a secret to share.

So begins Riley Sager's clever, twisty, and altogether spine-chilling Home Before Dark, the story of a family, a childhood, but most of all, the story of a house—and a brilliantly spooky one at that.

When interior designer Maggie Holt inherits her childhood home, the ominously named Baneberry Hall, her feelings are mixed. She has a complicated relationship with the house her parents fled decades ago, a house her father claimed was haunted in a best-selling book that inadvertently turned Maggie into a minor celebrity. For her part, Maggie has never believed her father's account, and her uncertainty over the truth has poisoned their relationship. Inheriting Baneberry Hall threatens to revive the notoriety she has long sought to escape—but it also gives her the chance to find out the truth about what really happened there all those years ago.

What follows is a deliciously terrifying story. As the narrative flicks back and forth from Maggie's father's account to Maggie's own present day investigation, we gradually learn the truth about what went on at Baneberry Hall, taking in some very satisfying twists and turns along the way. You'll want to read this one after dark, ideally with the wind whistling in the eaves and a window banging somewhere just out of reach. But keep the light switch handy. You just might need it.

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Synopsis

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.

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Preview

Get an early look from the first pages of Home Before Dark.

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Member thoughts

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20243 ratings
  • 71% Love
  • 27% Like
  • 2% Dislike
    June 2020
    • A Burning
    • The Vanishing Half
    • Home Before Dark
    • One to Watch
    • The Last Flight