The Woman in the Dark by Vanessa Savage

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Alrighty, I’m going with a 3.75 star rating for The Woman in the Dark. Now you just have to hear me out as to why I’m fussing about with this rating between the 3-and-4-stars. This one should be a 3-star book for me but it definitely can’t be a 4-star because there’s plenty of issues I had with it. So why the 3.75 stars if we’re going to rate the book using this numbered rating system? Well, even though The Woman in the Dark is filled with every well-worn plot device and twist you’ve ever read and brims with every known and overused trope possible, and because this is an extremely familiar thriller/suspense novel, (You’ve read this book before, countless times. Myself, I just finished reading one so very similar and it was also for our book club as well (As Long As We Both Shall Live)…. The Woman in the Dark is chock-full of over-done everything but….I could not stop turning those pages! I honestly burned through this one reading in just under 4 days. I found myself racing to get back to it, wanting to be reading this one so I could find out how it was all going to turn out (even though I knew with everything in me how it was going to end already).

The Woman in the Dark is about a family that moves back into the husband/father’s childhood home. However, that childhood home has since become known as the “Murder House” because of the murders of the family that lived in it after the husband/father did. No one besides Patrick wants to move to this house, how could anyone ever want to live in a house that is famous for being the “Murder House”?

Does this book contain:

  1. Manipulative and abusive husband trope? Check.
  2. Clueless main character that is on the constant receiving end of husband’s manipulations and never, once ever, clues in to those manipulations of control through drugging, turning children against her, keeping her locked away from the outside world, making her question everything, but still never questioning or knowing anything ever in the 17 years of marriage about his past? And just never having that light bulb moment as to who her husband might actually be? Check.
  3. The previous wife/girlfriend that may or may not be dead? Check.
  4. A baby that may or may not be dead? Check.
  5. The “twist” in who may or may not be responsible for the feelings of creepiness, the leaving of clues, notes and objects for Sarah to find so that she can piece together what the Murder House was and how her husband Patrick’s past may play into it, but never, ever does no matter how many obvious clues and comments she’s left with get it? Check.
  6. Your husband isn’t who he says he is? Check.
  7. The is it you? or is it really me? as my husband suggests is the cause of all our problems? Check.
  8. Count the many number of times on many pages where someone is telling the main character to “open your eyes”, “you have no idea what is going on”, “you are clueless” and that main character STILL not getting it? Check.
  9. Secrets in the cellar? Check.
  10. A mysterious person watching the house? Check.
  11. People from the town making obvious and pointed comments about your husband’s past and the history behind the Murder House? Check.

Yes, despite how annoying all of this over-use of just about everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-plot-devices became for me, and how unbearable it was at just how thick Sarah was and how frustrating it was that she was never going to grab a clue, and knowing how the story was going to play itself out was unquestionably obvious…..I was glued to its pages! Why? Why was I so entertained? I just don’t know?!?! 🙂

Because I do have to say overall, this was a quick and fun read, it’s not a difficult or complex one for sure, it’s definitely not hard to figure out what’s going to happen, but I can honestly say it was a completely enjoyable reading experience.

I do think this was a good book club choice, however, we really do need to find a different genre for our next book, maybe something a little meatier this time around, but it has to be different for sure. We just can’t pick another thriller/suspense because it’s old and tired now, it’s time to move on. Find an original voice. But even with all these issues aside, The Woman in the Dark is one I might recommend! Sometimes you just need this kind of book to bridge you over to until your next one – or maybe it’s what you need as a break from something heavier you just read?

Thanks to Grand Central Publishing for suggesting, it was one I accessed through Netgalley (yes, I’ve added many, many more to my Netgalley catalogue since I originally posted about my Netgalley challenge . Yikes!)