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The Widow's House

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3.65  ·  Rating details ·  2,680 ratings  ·  441 reviews
This chilling novel from the bestselling, award-winning author of The Lake of Dead Languages blends the gothic allure of Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca and the crazed undertones of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper with the twisty, contemporary edge of A.S.A. Harrison’s The Silent Wife—a harrowing tale of psychological suspense set in New York’s Hudson Valley

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Paperback, 333 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Ow1goddess It's certainly about ghosts, and I would say that there are events in the book that cannot be explained without some supernatural goings-on, but how…moreIt's certainly about ghosts, and I would say that there are events in the book that cannot be explained without some supernatural goings-on, but how much is left open to interpretation. It's more about being haunted, in every sense. Haunted by the past, by secrets, by unfulfilled desires, by doubt and jealousy- really it's a love letter to ghostly and gothic literature in general. I caught references to "The Yellow Wallpaper ", Jane Eyre, Shirley Jackson, maybe The Shining, Rebecca, and I'm sure there were more.(less)
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3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,680 ratings  ·  441 reviews


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Diane S ☔
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jesse and Clare met in a selection only Writer's class taught by an enigmatic Professor. Although this Professor thought Clare had more talent than Jesse, it is Jesse who publishes a book and Clare who ends up as a copy editor in order to support her talented husband. The years have not been kind financially, Jesse unable to complete a second book, so they decide to sell everything they have and find a place where Jesse feels he can write. They will end up at the Octagon shaped house, called Riv ...more
Book of Secrets
Apr 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this Modern Gothic from Carol Goodman. It's creepy and twisty, and it keeps you guessing as to what's really going on.

The main characters are Jess and Clare Martin, who met in an "invitation only" writing class in college. Jess had one novel published in his early twenties, but that was years ago, and now they're broke. The couple ends up back in their small college town as caretakers of their old writing professor's crumbling estate. It seems like the perfect place to rekindle Jess'
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Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
I read The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman a couple of years ago and was deeply impressed with the book. After that, did I read The Ghost Orchid and The Sonnet Lover and was not as impressed (not bad books, just not was good as The Lake of Dead Languages). So, when I saw this book and read the description did I immediately want to read it. I love old mysterious houses and the description of this book, about a couple moving there as caretakers made me think of The Shining. Especially sinc ...more
Kira
The mystery was weak. It meandered rather than having one big issue to focus on. The first half mostly focused on the apple blossom girl. A lot of that unraveled rather quickly, so it wasn't suspenseful. About halfway through I wasn't really sure where the story was going, and frankly didn't care either.

The thing that made this unbearable to get through was the characters. Clare was a doormat. She threw her life away for the asshole she married. What made it worse was that Clare never realized t
...more
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

Clare and Jess Martin are struggling writers even though Jess has already had one book published. They both want to continue writing, and Jess wants to make his second book a best seller, but their finances are holding them back.

They have exhausted their savings and are now looking for a new home that they can afford. Unfortunately, everything is out of their price range.

But....when they have the offer to be a caretaker at Riven House in the town where they both went to college, where Clare grew
...more
Kristy
Jess and Clare Martin met at Bailey College, in the Hudson River valley, but have been living in New York for years. Jess wrote a successful first novel not long after graduation, but that money has long been spent. He's been working on his second book for ages; it's long overdue, and he needs a new muse. So the two decide to move back to the Hudson River area, where Jess can focus on the book without distractions. They take on duties as caretakers at Riven House, the home of their former colleg ...more
Elaine
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Fictionophile
I'll admit first off that it was the stunning cover that first attracted me to this novel. Then, when I realized I had already read a book by this author that I really enjoyed ("The drowning tree"), the deal was sealed.

Set in the Hudson River Valley of Upper New York State, "The Widow's House" features a literary married couple, Clare and Jess Martin.  They have left their Brooklyn life after experiencing financial problems and are now looking to 'escape to the country' and a new start. Their ma
...more
Carol
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Widow's House by Carol Goodman
4 ★'s

From the Book:
When Jess and Clare Martin move from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to their former college town in the Hudson River valley, they are hoping for rejuvenation—of their marriage, their savings, and Jess's writing career.

They take a caretaker's job at Riven House, a crumbling estate and the home of their old college writing professor. While Clare once had dreams of being a writer, those plans fell by the wayside when Jess made a big, splashy literary de
...more
Sherri Thacker
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hauntings, ghosts ... etc.. Not sure what I believe but this book makes you think about it all.
Joyce
I've always loved a good Gothic novel, contemporary and historical, and Carol Goodman usually has a touch of that in her books. Not horror really and not psychological suspense but that uneasiness that builds throughout. They often take place in an isolated setting (here, an old mansion in the Hudson River Valley. It may be haunted but it's certainly full of dark secrets. Does it have a special pull on our heroine Clare? Does it cause madness? It's so well described that it's almost a character ...more
Melanie
Very atmospheric, with undertones that range from Rebecca and Rosemary's Baby to The Haunting of Hill House and Harvest Home. Not that this novel is derivative at all -- it's a truly engrossing and labyrinthine story of writers reconnecting with a former mentor in an octagonal house in upstate New York. They interact in the heart of apple country, with local folklore that may or may not be true, but certainly influences everyone's reality. As wonderful as Carol Goodman's previous Gothic-tinged n ...more
Rheama
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've gotta tell ya. Page 153: I literally gasped, jumped, and clutched my chest while standing in a room full of strangers. I didn't see that coming even for a second. You got me good, Carol.

My warmth and appreciation for this book snowballed. At first, it was just a big mess of apples (yes, apples), annoying writers, and ghost cliches. Then patterns, connections, and secrets began to emerge until the last few pages it dawned on me this was a 4 star read instead of a 3.

With that being said, ther
...more
Jeanette
Mar 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Many readers will like this one to at least 4 star, it's written through Claire's "eyes" thoughts. Her story, her marriage, her desires, her future wishes etc. She knows her own gifts, that's saying it mildly,

It is a constant melodrama. At one time she compares it to a soap opera plot when explaining to the law. On that, she is entirely correct.

This will be a treat for those who liked "Yellow Wallpaper" and action.

For me the writing was on the wall before the first 100 pages was out. A hazard o
...more
Lynn
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received this as a Goodreads Giveaway book but it was already on my list of books to look for. Carol Goodman is one of my favorite authors. This book did not disappoint.
Clare and Jess Martin relocate to the Hudson River Valley to try to restart their lives after they run into some professional, marital and financial difficulties. They take a job as caretakers for a mansion owned by their former English professor, Alden Montague, a rather eccentric old man. Clare starts seeing ghosts and heari
...more
Paula Cappa
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well plotted story. I’m a writer of ghost stories myself so I can appreciate the skills of author Carol Goodman. This story has supernatural possibilities mixed with psychological twists and the drama of historical family saga. The cliché of ghosts being real or imagined is a tune that Goodman plays throughout the story and does it quite well. Portraits of the characters and their motivations are all spelled out and although I found some things predictable, The Widow’s House is suspenseful ...more
Karen Mace
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
Listened to this on Audiobook borrowed from the library.

The blurb of this story lured me in and the comparison to Rebecca as well was one I couldn't resist. If only this was as half as good as that! At the heart of the book is an intriguing story of a house they move to being surrounded by ghosts from the past that refuse to let go until they seemingly destroy more lives.

BUT! I just couldn't get past the fact that the couple this story centres around - Clare and Jess - were the most annoying, in
...more
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
I love ghost stories; I love haunted house stories. Add in the magical combo of "The Yellow Wallpaper" meets Rebecca, and I am sold.

Our heroine, Clare, is the devoted wife to Jess, a writer whose runaway debut landed him fame and some fortune, but now faces writer's block as he wrestles with his second book. They move to Clare's hometown in the Hudson Valley, an area dominated by apple farms. Most everything is out of their price range, but they find they can live rent free at the decrepit River
...more
Sian Thomas
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
The Widow’s House is written by my all-time favourite author, Carol Goodman.

Our protagonist, Clare, is a copy editor, married to famed author, Jess Martin. His first book was a success but he’s struggling to complete a second and their finances are taking the brunt. As a result, they move back to the Hudson River area where Clare grew up, taking up the position of caretakers at Riven House, an estate falling into dereliction owned by their old college writing professor.

The scene is set immediat
...more
❀⊱RoryReads⊰❀
Solid creepy suspense.
Myndi
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In an attempt to revive Jess’s writing career, he and his wife Clare relocate from NYC to her small, rural hometown in upstate NY, taking on positions of caretakers of an old, eccentric home. What transpires after that is a gothic tale of old ghosts haunting the living until their vulnerabilities and secrets are laid bare.

It has been many moons since I read The Lake of Dead Languages by the same author, but I loved it so much that I couldn’t wait to read this. And this? This is better. It has be
...more
Kelley
Novel received courtesy of Goodreads.com First Reads Giveaway

I spent the entire book trying to decide if Clare, the main character, was crazy of if she really was experiencing all of this paranormal activity. I loved it!

Clare and her husband Jess move back to Clare's hometown near the college where they met. Clare was adopted as an infant and unloved by her adoptive mother. Jess had a similar childhood. All through her childhood, Clare experienced premonitions an sightings. After they move back
...more
Sharon Huether
Apr 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, first-reads
I won this Free book from Goodreads First-Reads
Jess and Clare Martin Took a care takers job at an old estate along the Hudson River in New York.
Jess a struggling writer needed some inspiration for a new book.
Their old college professor lived there too.

Strange happenings at the house bothered Clare ..to such an extent, she thought she was going mad.
Clare had such an imagination, she also begin to write a novel.

Jess and his friend Katrina had plans for Clare. She was lucky to find out some of t
...more
Heidi
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four stars: A creepy, atmospheric, suspenseful thriller.

Jess and Clare are hoping to make a fresh new start in the country, wanting to break free from the city. Unfortunately, all the houses are way out of their price range, until they are presented an opportunity as caretakers for a run down mansion. The owner of the Riven House, happens to be their old writing professor. Clare and Jess are thrilled to reconnect with their old mentor, and they both hope to use this opportunity as a chance to r
...more
Hunter Jay
Apr 29, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ridiculous "Gaslight" inspired story. I have read two other books by this author which had their problems, but were entertaining. This is dreary paranoia and morbid introspection from start to finish. The narrator was so annoying, I am surprised I got through it. So many instances of "I bit my lip to control my tears," or "tears rolled silently down my cheeks as I ...". Absolutely no spine; no fight. Page after page of feeling sorry for herself. There are strange lapses of just poor writing as w ...more
Tina
Mar 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I had a few issues early on with this novel. The way Goodman describes Jess and Clare in the beginning made me believe they were much older than their 35 years. It wasn't until around page 40 that you discover how old they actually are. I also didn't like the fact that "Clare," spelt in the masculine form was female and "Jess," a more typical short from of Jessica was her husband. This was just completely unnecessary.

This novel is fast past, incredibly interesting and intense. I really liked tha
...more
Cherie
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has been compared to Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca. In my opinion, nothing can top Rebecca. But, this is a "must read" for all of my gothic genre friends. The sense of foreboding is well accomplished in this tangled web. This new gothic has all the requirements: an old mansion, dark family secrets, ghosts in the mansion, a troubled marriage, and not everyone is who they seem. I loved this novel and it was successful in creating the old fashioned gothic suspense mystery that is so hard now to f ...more
Ashley (bookishmommy)
I couldn't really decide how I wanted to rate this book. I definitely enjoyed the second half far more than the first half. I would say it's a slow burn. There are a lot of details which is usually not the case in fast paced thrillers. I would say this is more of a haunted house/mystery/ with some supernatural elements. It's not scary but it is interesting and I did find myself really wanting to know how this all pieced together. I didn't really connect with Clare and I thought Jess was an ass. ...more
Maggie Holmes
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Are the ghosts Clare is seeing real or just products of her imagination? Does she have some secret power that causes things to happen around her? Carol Goodman creates such an atmosphere that you aren't really sure any more than Clare is. The story isn't particularly original, but Goodman's language is so beautiful that you are swept along, discovering more and more as Clare does in the haunted Riven House.
Recommend to fans of Kate Morton and Shirley Jackson.
Exercise: a tobaggan ride.
Amy
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to talk to someone about this book! Cannot stop thinking about it. Unreliable narrators seem to be all the rage in writing now, and it works well in this book! Very spooky gothic style book about a couple who moved to northern NY to focus on their writing. Clare gets caught up in a local ghost story. As soon as I was done, I had to read the last few pages again and fell asleep with the light on!
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Carol Goodman is the author of The Lake of Dead Languages, The Seduction of Water, which won the Hammett Prize, and The Widow's House, which won the Mary Higgins Clark Award. She is also the co-author, with her husband Lee Slonimsky, of the Watchtower fantasy trilogy. Her work has appeared in such journals as The Greensboro Review, Literal Latte, The Midwest Quarterly, and Other Voices. After grad ...more
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