Review: Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

What was it like? Living in that house.

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.

In the latest thriller from New York Times bestseller Riley Sager, a woman returns to the house made famous by her father’s bestselling horror memoir. Is the place really haunted by evil forces, as her father claimed? Or are there more earthbound—and dangerous—secrets hidden within its walls?

Genre: Horror, Mystery Thriller
Rating: 4⭐️

What a satisfying, creepy ghost story! This is my first book by Riley Sager and I was not disappointed. Home Before Dark is a story of a haunted house with a dark past and the repercussions it left on a family decades later. I highly recommend for readers who enjoy a ghost story or mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end. But be warned: do not read this alone or in the dark!

Home Before Dark is told in two different storylines. In one storyline, Maggie, our main character, returns to her childhood home after her father’s death to investigate the mystery surrounding all the rumors of Baneberry Hall being haunted. The other storyline is the horror memoir her father wrote about the house when Maggie was a child. Claiming that the house was haunted, her father’s story details the creepy hauntings and the eventual events that forced them out of Banberry Hall.

When Maggie first returns to Baneberry Hall, she is convinced ghosts don’t exist. She knows her father is a liar and there is no possibility of truth in his memoir. As strange things start to happen in the house when she returns, Maggie starts to question what the truth is and if this house is a danger to her after all. Reading along with Maggie’s story, I shared her skepticism of ghosts – the house wasn’t really haunted right? However I couldn’t deny the house had a dark past and I found myself questioning more and more as the story went on. It was such a wild ride to read!

I personally really enjoyed the alternating chapters with the horror memoir. It had me questioning which parts of the memoir were true and which were false, and why did Maggie’s father claim it was all true? There was so much buildup throughout the story that I worried I would be disappointed with the ending as I sometimes am with this genre. However, I honestly could not have guessed the ending and it was so satisfying.

I highly recommend Home Before Dark as a creepy read for all fans of thrillers with a little paranormal activity mixed in. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Have you read Home Before Dark? What were your thoughts on it? Do you have any other favorites by Riley Sager? Tell me in the comments!

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