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The Evening Spider

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,613 ratings  ·  278 reviews
“The evening spider made its visit some time later—when Martha was almost five months old. I know Matthew saw that spider. I know it was na product of my imagination.”

In this compelling mix of psychological suspense and historic true crime, two young mothers—130 years apart—are haunted by the same house.

1885: From inside a New England mental hospital, Frances Barnett recou
Paperback, First edition , 380 pages
Published January 26th 2016 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Brittany Stark
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Maxine Well, I'd say that what happened to one or more of the characters in this book sucked; but the book itself didn't.
Well, I'd say that what happened to one or more of the characters in this book sucked; but the book itself didn't.

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Average rating 3.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,613 ratings  ·  278 reviews

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Meg Cabot
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Fascinating (true!) historical mystery told in diary/epistolary format, interspersed with contemporary 1st person narration, both about newly married women with infants living in the same house. Sounds complicated, but it wasn’t once I got into it - then it ended up keeping me turning pages late into the night! Loved, loved, loved how it all turned out.
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
1885, Northampton Lunatic Hospital. Frances Bernett is retelling her story to a visitor. Frances is a young wife and a mother who started to question her memories and her sanity after her child was born. Could her pregnancy have hurt her sanity? And, her obsession with the (true) murder trial of Mary Stannard seems a bit odd.

Present day. Abby is a new mother and she has adjusted to motherhood just fine, but then she starts to have odd experiences in her house. It feels like there is something, s
Vanessa *the Pixie Princess*
Feb 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
I won't add a book to my to-read list unless it has an average rating of 3.9 stars or higher. The exceptions are a)if it's the start of a series and the ratings get better for consecutive books or b) the book just sounds so interesting I just HAVE TO add it (this is rare). Obviously, this book fell under B. It just sounded so good, I just had to give it a chance. And it had a great cover! Great cover, great premise, it has to be good, right?
Sadly, no. This book was NOT a thriller, it was not sus
Nov 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Three stars: An interesting read that falters with an abrupt ending and unconnected story lines.

Abby is a new mother, living in an old house. She fell in love with the quaint old home that had been in the same family for 125 years, but now, she isn't so sure about her house. Abby has been hearing strange sounds on her daughter's baby monitor, and she has the unsettling feeling that she isn't alone in her home. When she starts digging, Abby comes into possession of a journal, written by Frances
Jan 16, 2019 marked it as didn-t-finish
This started out really creepy and then quickly became really dull.
Book Riot Community
Do you like spooky houses and historical murders and mysteries? Then this is the book for you! Abby is a new mother in a big home, and she thinks things are going well, until she starts to develop strange sensations that seem to be tied the house. In investigating the house's history, she reads the diary of one of its former occupants, Frances Barnett, who was later an inmate at a mental institution. Is the ghost of Frances behind the strange happenings? Told from the perspective of both women, ...more
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
I had been researching my family history in 16th century connecticut and then picked up this galley that had been on my nightstand waiting for the perfect time to be read. It was the perfect time! Based on an actual murder trial this book consisted of many things I love. .. a haunted house, an unreliable narrator, diary entries, newspaper clippings, meetings at a library! A perfect package!
Jennifer Brown
Nov 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars

Enjoyable mystery with a bit of paranormal added in. I enjoyed the back and forth between Frances' life in 1885 and Abby's life in the present day. It was kind of interesting to learn that this was based off real cases.

I would read more by this author if I came across them.
Talk Supe
Jan 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
The Evening Spider is an engaging read. I loved a lot of its parts: the mystery pertaining to several old court cases; Frances' psychotic break; Abby's pending breakdown; a haunting; a dead woman's journal; actual court documents; the novel told from two different perspectives from two different lifetimes. This is fascinating read for sure.

But the sum of all its parts left me frowning. Frances seems to be a huge catalyst to Abby's own issues. But that became more evident towards the end. So ther
Diana | Book of Secrets
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book very much. I’ve read a couple of Emily Arsenault’s books, and her characters are always complex and relatable, especially the two women in THE EVENING SPIDER. It combines true crime from the 1800s with a modern day ghost story. There are two young mothers living in the same house more than a century apart, a secret diary, a grizzly murder, and troubled ghosts trying to make contact. I loved the spooky Gothic atmosphere, and trying to figure out who was doing the haunting, and ...more
Nov 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
Somewhat unresolved sort-of-ghost-story and what felt like a very abrupt ending.
Colleen Turner
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Find my full review at

When I read the synopsis for The Evening Spider I immediately reached out to the wonderful ladies at TLC Book Tours and asked to please be a part of this tour. It had so many elements I love in one package: historical setting and true crime; psychological suspense; possibly ghosts with nefarious plans creeping around a creaky old house, terrifying a new mom. Jackpot! Now having finished I'm a little torn about how I feel about the stor
Kelly Hager
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
I love Emily Arsenault's books. They're incredibly creepy and also incredibly smart. This one is sort of a ghost story, and it's actually chilling.

There's so much going on in The Evening Spider that it's actually hard to discuss in any detail without the risk of spoiling things. So here's what I can say: I very much like Abby and empathized with what was going on with her.

Because of the way this is written, I had some very real questions about what was really happening and what was in A
Jul 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
I will admit that when I began this novel, I had high hopes for it. The buildup was slow yet enticing and I was eager to see how the story would unfold. Unfortunately, this novel let me down big time. The more I read, the more I felt like Abby was simply delusional. Most of the time, nothing was even happening to her and she created the "eerie" situation through her own actions. Just as the novel begins to pick up the pace, it starts to go in a weird direction that just seems rushed and abruptly ...more
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Audiobook. The story is told in alternating perspectives, Abby from 2014 and Francis from 1885. Abby lives in the house where Francis lived in 1885. A few strange noises and Abby starts digging into the history of the home's past residents. She is able to purchase Francis' diary, and as we follow along, it appears the woman is slowly going mad or is she?

It's a haunting mystery and the farther along I got the less sure I was of anything. Twist and turns and second guessing made this a fun listen
Emily Arsenault is a new to me author and the cover of this book caught my eye and when I read that it had an element of the paranormal, specifically ghosts, I wanted to read it. Despite all of the pretty negative reviews, I actually liked the book. I didn't have trouble following the two different narrators and time frames, Frances in the 1880's and Abby in the present BUT reading the journal written by Frances in the 1880's. Maybe that is where readers became confused? I admit that at first wh ...more
Feb 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
I'm a sucker for descriptions like the one for this book: "A gripping blend of psychological suspense and historical true crime...". This book is not gripping. Nor is it suspenseful in any way. It's pretty much drivel. Abandoned about halfway through. ...more
Feb 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Creepy at times, a tiny ghost story with a tad conflicting story line but overall a fun read.
Jun 04, 2019 rated it liked it
I love Emily Arsenault’s other books - this one not as much. I think I might just be kind of over gothic heroines - at least, the ones that are a little helpless and whiny and so ridiculous nonsensical dramatic things because they’re scared. It was just a bit over the top - so exactly what you probably want in this kind of book, but not what I wanted to read. I liked the side characters a lot, though - they felt very real and detailed and interesting (though the husband, oddly, was less defined) ...more
maria helena
May 27, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

I thought this was an interesting setup and the fact that it is inspired by a real event was a bonus, but the execution did not work for me. The alternating timelines (which is something I usually like) disrupted the flow of the story, I did not like any of the characters, and the heavy use of diary entires, letters, newspaper articles, and emails did not help at all (I have a strong dislike for epistolary novels), and the ending felt very unresolved.
Nov 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the story and the layout. I felt engaged and just a tad spooked (I picked it for an October read) and was so excited for the end to wrap everything up and have the big finale and then the last couple chapters just were a phenomenal disappointment. The ending I was hoping for (not for a specific ending, just one that was satisfying and made sense to the rest of the meat of the story), didn’t really happen. I was disappointed. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone but I wouldn’t slap ...more
Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was a 5 until the ending. I feel it lacked a resolution worthy enough to satisfy the curiosities I developed while reading. Lots of unanswered questions still, but it was such an interesting story, and one not typically in my wheelhouse. I enjoyed the alternating viewpoints and time periods between chapters.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
I do not know what the heck I just read?? Why does it end so abruptly??
Why is there so much "extra" in this book.
Blah, wasted 3 hrs-hope next book better!
Katherine Morgan
May 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent suspense thriller. Kept me on my toes and definitely a page turner. Would highly recommend to anyone looking for a mystery.
Kayla Rose
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
Creepy at first with promise, but the abrupt ending and really no explanation at all leaves me not really enjoying my reading experience with this one.
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review orginally posted on my blog:

The Evening Spider by Emily Arsenault
William Morrow, 2016
Fiction (Psychological Thriller; 400 pgs
Source: NetGalley/Edelweiss

The Evening Spider is set in both the present and the past, following the lives of two women, both obsessed with uncovering the truth.

Frances Barnett has spent the last few years locked in the Northampton Lunatic Hospital. She shares her story with a visitor, telling of how she came to be there, inc
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
A few years ago, I read Emily Arsenault's novel What Strange Creatures and loved the brother/sister sibling relationship at its core. Her latest novel, The Evening Spider, has a sibling relationship in it as well, although that is not the central issue of the story as it was in What Strange Creatures.

The inspiration for this story came from the author hearing what she thought was human voice over her daughter's baby monitor shushing the baby. She combined this with an interest in the true story
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Abby is a new mom with time on her hands. When she first hears the strange noise through her baby monitor, she's quick to attribute it to anything and everything she can. Anything but a ghost, that is. But after eliminating the possibilities, she begins to wonder.

A history teacher, Abby was charmed by the fact that their house dated back over a century. What's more, the house had been in the same family for much of that time before she and her husband bought it. But now she wonders about the ho
Pat Giese
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Most of this story baffled me. What was the need for the ghost/ specter? And, that odd woman named Fonda? There are layers of historic murders in this tale, some with too much gruesome detail i.e. the victim being dissected to use as evidence in the trial! Later we learn that the woman who's husband placed her in an asylum had witnessed her husband cutting himself to collect blood apparently used to frame a neighbor for a murder where he was one of the prosecuting attorneys...what a scumbag. But ...more
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I haven’t had a terribly interesting life, so I won’t share too many details. But the highlights include:

• When I was a preschooler and a kindergartner, I had a lazy eye and I was Connecticut’s “Miss Prevent Blindness,” appearing on pamphlets and television urging parents to get their kids’ eyes checked. I wore an eye patch and clutched a blonde doll wearing a similar patch. I imagine it was all r

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