Real or not real? Home Before Dark by Riley Sager [Review]

Time for some spooky reads now that it’s October! It’s been so long since I’ve read a haunted house story. Even though I’m slightly averse to horror, I enjoy a good spooky read every now and then especially if it’s a haunted house story. I’ve seen Home Before Dark a lot on Instagram with some very good reviews.

The book is basically divided into 2 stories.

“Every house has a story. Ours is a ghost story. It’s also a lie. And now that yet another person has died within these walls, it’s finally time to tell the truth.”

Real?

The book follows Maggie, daughter of a renowned author who wrote a best selling book that tells the story of her family’s time in Baneberry Hall. In the book, her father gives his account of their family’s short stay after having bought the house but later how something sinister made them flee for their lives one night.

Now that Maggie’s father has passed away, she is plagued by questions. She has little to no memory of what happened since she was so young at the time. One thing she knows for certain, her dad was a liar telling the world that the things that happened in the book were actually true. Why would he make these lies up? What really happened during their time there? It’s time for Maggie to go back home and find some answers.

Not Real?

The other part of Home Before Dark is the book her father wrote, a “non-fiction” story about a haunting. Maggie knows the book can’t be true…can it? As the book is recounted similarities between fact and fiction become blurred calling into question just how much of the book is real. Is it possible Baneberry Hall is actually haunted?

“Do you think it’s possible to believe two things at once?”

My thoughts

Mind you this is an opinion of a novice in this genre. Someone who is a veteran reader of these kinds of books might have a differing opinion.

For me at least, the book kept me somewhat interested. The building up can be a bit slow on Maggie’s side of the story while the “memoir” side is interesting and ominous. When fact and fiction starts becoming muddled is when things started getting interesting.

In typical haunted house fashion, there are moments where I was thinking, “If this person has to sleep with a knife next to her bed, why is she not running away?” Alas, by now we should all know this kind of real world common sense does not exist in these stories because otherwise there is no story at all. Sooo, putting that aside…

The last third of the book kept me reading without wanting to stop. There were many aspects to this book that had to be answered when you compare both stories. When one answer is presented, the author turns it on its head questioning everything, only to give you another answer. Towards the end the author throws you in a loop after loop and I found the explanations satisfying.

If you are looking for a good haunted house story, then you’re in for a treat. Novices to the genre and possible veterans will enjoy this one! By the end I’m just left asking myself, in a house like this…why would I want to be home before dark? What I’d want is to get as far away as I can!

I gave this one a 4 out of 5!

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