It’s October, which means time for scary books. I have plenty of scary books on my TBR to choose from, but I was immediately attracted to the cover of Laird Hunt’s In the House in the Dark of the Woods. It’s intriguing and creepy and weird. And my favorite kind of scary books are the ones that are at least a little bit weird.
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
(From Goodreads) In this horror story set in colonial New England, a law-abiding Puritan woman goes missing. Or perhaps she has fled or abandoned her family. Or perhaps she’s been kidnapped, and set loose to wander in the dense woods of the north. Alone and possibly lost, she meets another woman in the forest. Then everything changes.
On a journey that will take her through dark woods full of almost-human wolves, through a deep well wet with the screams of men, and on a living ship made of human bones, our heroine may find that the evil she flees has been inside her all along. The eerie, disturbing story of one of our perennial fascinations–witchcraft in colonial America–In the House in the Dark of the Woods is a novel of psychological horror and suspense told in Laird Hunt’s characteristically lyrical prose style. It is the story of a bewitching, a betrayal, a master huntress and her quarry. It is a story of anger, of evil, of hatred and of redemption. It is the story of a haunting, a story that makes up the bedrock of American mythology, but told in a vivid way you will never forget.
After thinking about it for a few days, I still have mixed feelings about this book. I think this was a good book. I just don’t think it was for me. I’ll start with the things I did like, because there was lot to enjoy about this book. I mentioned that I like weird scary books, and this one was definitely no exception. I really love when authors invent strange and super creepy elements of their story, and I think Hunt did a great job. It was definitely one my favorite parts of the story, and was definitely effective at depriving me of sleep.
I also enjoyed the setting. Apparently, I hadn’t read the synopsis all the way through (or at all), because I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was set in colonial New England. I love early American history, and it made for such an interesting setting for a horror novel. I think it worked really well, and I was definitely a fan.
What prevented me from loving this book was the writing. Which, to be fair, I think was objectively good. I’ve read a lot of poorly written books, but In the House in the Dark of the Woods is not one of them. I just wasn’t personally a fan. And I think the writing kept me from becoming invested in the characters and the story. It just felt a bit distant. I’m struggling to find the exact words to describe how I felt about the writing. It wasn’t slow, but it just kind made the main character seem a bit unintelligent, which I didn’t love. I don’t think it was by any means bad, I just didn’t connect with it, personally.
★★★☆☆ – For me, In the House in the Dark of the Woods was a solid three stars. I honestly think this is a good book. The story was interesting, and I liked how weird it was. But, overall, it just wasn’t the book for me. Which is absolutely fine – we’re not all going to like the same books. If this sounds interesting, I’d say give it a shot. You might love this.
In the House in the Dark of the Woods will be available in bookstores October 16. You can preorder a copy on Amazon now.
To get the audiobook for free, use this link to sign up for a free trial of Audible and choose In the House in the Dark of the Woods as one of your two free books.
This book was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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