Rating: 5 / 5
It is safe to say I am a big Riley Sager fan and that he is one of my auto read authors. HOME BEFORE DARK was therefore one of my most anticipated summer reads and I’m thrilled to say it did not disappoint!
HOME BEFORE DARK’s Maggie Holt is the daughter of a man who made himself famous telling her story. According to his book, when their family lived at Baneberry Hall in Vermont, Maggie had some imaginary friends who weren’t entirely imaginary. Instead these creepy beings were haunting the house and Maggie was the only one who could concretely see them. Even though the story takes on some sinister overtones and Maggie even has a scar which perfectly lines up with narrative, Maggie has no memory of anything sinister at Baneberry Hall. As far as she’s concerned, her father made it all up and put her at the center of attention just to make a buck.
When Maggie’s father dies, she is shocked to learn that he still owns Baneberry Hall and that it is now hers to do with what she will. Against her mother’s advice, Maggie decides to go check out the house herself. In addition to fixing it up for sale, Maggie is hoping she can get to the truth of the house’s history and her own. Things soon begin to happen that make her start to question if maybe there is more truth to the story than she has thought.
Summer is a time when I want some really gripping and thrilling reads to distract me from the heat and this one provided exactly that. There is something about an abandoned house that sets the scene for a chilling and creepy read. This one is laid out in two narratives, bouncing between Maggie’s experiences in the living day and her father’s depictions in his book. As things fall into similar patterns, Sager does a great job of leading Maggie and the reader to wonder what is real and what is fiction.
There are several layers of mystery as Maggie tries to figure out why her family fled Baneberry Hall the way they did (surely it wasn’t really about the supernatural!) and other occurrences in the house’s past and in the surrounding town. All of these elements kept me guessing and threw some surprises at me that I did not see coming!
This wound up being my favorite read for July because it kept me hooked and it was the perfect read to suit my summer reading mood!