The Evening Spider by Emily Arsenault
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Source: eARC courtesy of publisher
Each time I pick up a psychological thriller to read, I wonder why I did… I really don’t have the stamina for the suspense with these things. It’s because they make it sound so plausible, most times, that it’s pretty scary that your next door neighbour could possibly be just like these crazy characters. The Evening Spider appeals because it sounded a little like The Asylum by John Harwood which I enjoyed quite a bit plus the ghost story spin with alternate perspectives in time made me think that I could really like this book.
The beginning of the novel was promisingly chilling and mysterious in tone. It began with Frances Barnett, in 1885, who was speaking directly to her brother (though it read more as if she was writing a letter to him) and promising to reveal how or why she was committed to the Northampton Lunatic Hospital; alone, helpless, and friendless. All through the novel, I kept wondering what she’s done to deserve this exile from society and believe me, I’ve imagined the worst! The twist to this mystery, however, was totally unexpected. Even though Frances isn’t a character you’d like (she seems standoffish or maybe just unable to find her place in society), I find her to be more open in her story and more easily understandable than her future counterpart, Abby Bernacki.
If you are mother, you would know that zombie-like period in the early baby stages. Even now, the memory of what those times were like is but a blur in my mind. Reading Abby’s perspective was something similar to that… everything was clear a mud. I guess, the author has achieved this effect brilliantly though it made the reading experience a little frustrating. Without giving too much away, the ending of this perspective was disappointing even with the subtle twist –it’s so subtle that you really have to read between the lines and made up your own mind what’s going on.
Overall, I’ve enjoyed maybe about 75% of the books mostly to do with the historical perspective which I reckon was done really well (character and plot). I’ve enjoyed the investigation part that Abby took on and even when she was willing to open her mind to something supernatural but again I feel the not-so-conclusive ending lets me down. I still think it’s worth the read even just for the historical part.
Thanks William Morrow Paperbacks for eARC via Edelweiss in exchange of honest review