Frances Barnett and Abby Bernacki are two haunted young mothers living in the same house in two different centuries.
1885: Frances Barnett is in the Northampton Lunatic Hospital, telling her story to a visitor. She has come to distrust her own memories, and believes that her pregnancy, birth, and early days of motherhood may have impaired her sanity.
During the earliest months of her baby’s life, Frances eagerly followed the famous murder trial of Mary Stannard—that captivated New Englanders with its salacious details and expert forensic testimony. Following—and even attending—this trial, Frances found an escape from the monotony of new motherhood. But as her story unfolds, Frances must admit that her obsession with the details of the murder were not entirely innocent.
Present day: Abby has been adjusting to motherhood smoothly—until recently, when odd sensations and dreams have begun to unsettle her while home alone with her baby. When she starts to question the house’s history, she is given the diary of Frances Barnett, who lived in the house 125 years earlier. Abby finds the diary disturbing, and researches the Barnett family’s history. The more Abby learns, the more she wonders about a negative—possibly supernatural—influence in her house. She becomes convinced that when she sleeps, she leaves her daughter vulnerable—and then vows not to sleep until she can determine the cause of her eerie experiences.
The cover and the interesting blurb caught my attention and I was eagerly approaching the day I could start to read this book. I love reading books with a parallel story line. And, this one appealed to me quite much because I love haunted house stories. The blurb I read said that it was a psychological suspense and I can understand that the book has been labeled that, unfortunately, I never felt any suspense while reading this book. But, I can understand that there are readers that this book will appeal to very much. I’m just a very hard reader to impress sometimes. I think my main problem was that the story set in 1885 never really got interesting enough for me, the diary notes about the trial and another case that France’s husband was representing just never fully worked for me. I did wonder about Frances growing interested for arsenic, especially when she apparently had done something awful to be put in a lunatic asylum. But, I just never really found myself that deeply interested in Frances and her life.
I did, however, like Abby and reading about her struggle with coming to term if the house was haunted or not. And, through Abby’s struggle, we get to know more about her and a very painful memory that she is carrying with her. I think Abby slowly learning more about the house, revealing some info here and there about her past is what makes the book truly interesting.
The ending was good, especially when the truth about Frances being in a lunatic asylum was revealed.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, just because I didn’t feel that this was a thrilling psychological novel doesn’t mean that other would not find it so. As I wrote before; I’m very hard to impress sometimes. However, it was interesting to read, and I think if you like reading about women in the last 1900-century and their role in society will you like this book.
I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review.