It begins, they say, with a woman screaming . . .
On a remote Scottish island, the McBride house stands guard over its secrets. A century ago, a young widow and her son died mysteriously there; just last year a local boy, visiting for a dare, disappeared without a trace.
For Zoe Adams, newly arrived from America, the house offers a refuge from her failing marriage. But her peaceful retreat is disrupted by strange and disturbing events: nighttime intrusions; unknown voices; a constant sense of being watched.
The locals want her to believe that these incidents are echoes of the McBrides’ dark past. Zoe is convinced the danger is closer at hand, and all too real—but can she uncover the truth before she is silenced?
If you’re looking for something in the flavor of gothic horror with a little bit of romance and an unreliable narrator to thrown in, While You Sleep by Stephanie Merritt is the perfect choice. Reading it during a thunderstorm (which takes place quite often in the book) is even better. While I don’t tend to like romance, this book plays it off in a manner that even I can enjoy.
Set on a small island off the coast of Scotland, Merritt immediately creates an atmospherically gloomy environment. The main character, Zoe Adams, is an introverted artist who’s taking some much needed time away from her family in a lovely Victorian Era house in a town where she knows no one. Unbeknownst to her, the house has a reputation. Soon, things start to get a little rough, and the vacation turns into a nightmare. The question is, is there a phantom lending truth to the house’s status, or is there more than meets the eye?
When it comes to characters, Merritt’s ability to write dynamic and three-dimensional characters is spot on. I found myself becoming attached to a few while loathing others. The small town feel is replicated in the behaviors and actions of several characters, which tends to be something I’m wary of, being from a small town myself.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It’s one I’d like to own, and one I’ll definitely recommend to fellow horror fiends. I’d like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.