Thursday, 20 October 2016

The Empty Room - Sarah J. Clemens

The Empty Room by Sarah J. Clemens

The small town of Eastbrook, Maine seemed like the close-knit community where newlyweds Dean and Elizabeth Montgomery could begin their lives together, and the 1901 Victorian seemed like the house they’d always dreamed of owning. The only condition for purchasing the property was that it was sold in “as-is” condition.

When the couple arrives in Eastbrook, they receive anything but a warm welcome from the local residents. And when they realize that as-is condition meant that the previous owner of the house had left every worldly possession behind, the dream of the small town life starts to take a mysterious turn.

Day after day, Dean and Elizabeth uncover more truths than they could have ever imagined, or ever wanted to know about the secrets that were hidden in the small town of Eastbrook. And as neighbors become growingly hostile with every encounter, this young couple searches furiously to uncover what the residents are trying to hide.

As their journey unfolds, Elizabeth goes missing and Dean must turn to the very neighbors he fears may have known what would happen to her from the moment the couple arrived for help. Because in this town, some secrets are better off hidden.

My Review

I have to admit that I struggled a bit with this book to begin with. It started with a prologue that explained the back story. I don't think that it really needed it to and it nearly put me off reading the rest of the book. Once into the chapters themselves though, things picked up. I still didn't warm to the story straight away, I'm not sure exactly why that was. Some of the dialogue was a little strange and stilted, although it did turn out there was a reason for at least some of that. 

Despite my initial misgivings about the book, there was something about this story that kept me turning the pages and wanting to know where it was going. I was intrigued about the plot and what was really going on and wanted to find out. 

I did actually guess at least some of the ending (although not all) but it was this ending that made the book worth reading and keeping going with. I'd been in two minds before that, but once I reached the last couple of chapters, things sped up and I couldn't help but keep going. Those last couple of chapters helped lift my whole impression of the book. I thought that the mystery was very well done and carefully woven into the story. There were a few things that I was left confused about, but over all it worked really well. It also kept me thinking about it, long after I'd finished reading. This is certainly not a forgettable tale.

Although I wasn't completely happy about this story, for a number of reasons, over all I enjoyed it. It was unusual and in parts gripping. I can't help but wonder though, if a little editing and re-writing wouldn't have just helped lift it from an average read to a really good one.

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