The mystery sparkles with suspense and intrigue
The house in the woods Zoë Miller Hachette Ireland, € 13.99
When it comes to her novels, Irish author Zoë Miller has managed to carve a number of key story marks for herself that make her work instantly recognizable. Its plots tend to focus on buried secrets and the past coming back to haunt the present, all delivered with a generous dose of nervous psychological intrigue. His 12th novel – The house in the woods – is no different.
Evie Lawrence is a famous actress who has graced the stage and screen for decades and is recognized by everyone she meets. Now aged 70 and keen to live a quieter life, she buys a secluded house by the sea in Wicklow called Heronbrook. Her family used to vacation in the house when Evie was a teenager, and despite what happened there, she is keen to rekindle the nostalgic feelings she has for that time.
When Evie is injured in a hit and run accident near Heronbrook, she reluctantly allows her grandniece Amber to move in to care for her. Amber, aware that Evie fell out with her family many years ago, is curious about what caused the breakup, but Evie is clear that she will never discuss what happened.
Amber, meanwhile, has her own issues. Her career and love life have dramatically imploded and she needs to step back to think about her future.
So when the opportunity to take care of her aunt presents itself, she grabs it with both hands. However, as a series of disturbing incidents begin to unfold in Heronbrook, Amber begins to wonder if what happened to Evie was really an accident. Or is someone trying to get revenge on her for what happened all those years ago at Heronbrook?
The house in the woods sparkles with suspense and intrigue right on the front page and using flashback scenes all the way to the 1960s, when Evie was a teenager, Miller layers the storyline in a seamless way that keeps you fully engaged. As well as presenting a mystery to be solved, this novel also offers a gripping exploration of family dynamics, with a plethora of realistic emotional touchpoints that really add to the story.
If you like the novels of Adele Parks, Clare Mackintosh, and Lisa Jewell, this book is for you.