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While You Sleep

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  1,104 ratings  ·  306 reviews
A pacy, chilling psychological thriller, set to reinvent the genre.

It begins, they say, with a woman screaming…

On a remote Scottish island, the McBride house stands guard over its secrets. A century ago, a young widow and her son died mysteriously there; just last year a local boy, visiting for a dare, disappeared without a trace.

For Zoe Adams, newly arrived from America,
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published March 8th 2018 by HarperCollins
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3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,104 ratings  ·  306 reviews

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Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
* I was invited to read 'While You Sleep' ( a psychological thriller/ ghost story ) by the publisher and have given an unbiased review in exchange*

Standing in splendid isolation on a remote Scottish island, the McBride house may have been brought into the 21st century in terms of its renovation, but its secrets go back centuries.

Artist, Zoe Adams has travelled from her home in America, to rent the McBride house, primarily because of its isolation - she's seeking refuge from a failing marriage,
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
It begins with a woman screaming......

Zoe Adams has rented the McBride house on a remote Scottish Island. The house is steeped in local gossip, legend, secrets and mystery. A century ago, a young woman and her child died there. More recently a local boy disappeared after going to the house on a dare.

Zoe beings to hear music, a woman's voice, feelings of being watched, and a nighttime visitor. Soon she beings to make friends with some locals and begins to hear more about the home's dark history
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs-read
**3.5-stars rounded up**

Zoe Adams needs to get away from her life in the United States. Recently separated from her husband, she rents a newly renovated home on a remote Scottish island, thinking time alone is exactly what she needs.

It doesn't take long after arriving at the McBride house, however, for her to discover that some places hold long memories and she is definitely not going to be getting the relaxation she was hoping for.

Soon Zoe begins researching the history of the house and what sh
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Stephanie Merritt writes a disturbing and eerie ghost story and an unsettlingly intense thriller set on an isolated Scottish island. Vulnerable American Zoe Adams escapes a troubling marriage, whilst simultaneously seeking artistic inspiration for her painting. She rents the remote McBride house, a place mired in rumour and superstitious folklore, where long ago a widow and her son died, and more recently where a young boy mysteriously disappeared. Initially Zoe is sceptical about the supernatur ...more
Will Byrnes
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, fiction, gothic
It begins, they say, with a woman screaming. You can’t tell at first if it’s pleasure or pain, or that tricky place where the two meet; you’re almost embarrassed to hear it, but if you listen closer it comes to sound more like anguish, a lament torn from the heart: like an animal cry of loss, or defiance, or fury, carried across the cove from cliff to cliff on the salt wind.

“Everyone who comes here is trying to escape from something.”
While You Sleep is described on the back cover of the ARE I
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Zoe travels to a small Scottish Island where she has rented a remote house because she craves peace and quiet as she has recently left her husband. It's clear when she arrives on the Island that the house has a strange and disturbing history. On her first night she has a terrifying dream and can hear strange noises and thinks she is seeing visions. This thriller/ghost story is not my usual genre but I really enjoyed this book and found it addictive. It was very atmospheric and gave me the shiver ...more
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2018
I decided to listen to the audiobook version of this since I couldn't wait to see if I would get approved for it on NetGalley.

And, I absolutely loved the book! It's such an engrossing tale and I was captivated by the story right from the start. The only drawback was that the book had to end and I wanted more!

Full review to come!
“Even in sunshine there was a bleakness to the island’s beauty that had whispered to her.”

While You Sleep is a book dripping in beautifully written atmosphere and eerie goings-on and features a protagonist who isn’t entirely reliable or likable.

Zoe arrives at a remote island to rent a recently renovated home in Scotland. She’s running from her life, for – reasons, and needs some alone time. The neighbors are welcoming and a little smothering even though she does her best to keep them at arm’s l
3.5 Stars. Review to follow.
Roman Clodia
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Wicker Man meets Anne Rice's The Witching Hour

Gorgeously Gothic and packed with atmosphere as an American artist takes up residence in a haunted house on a tiny, remote Scottish island. What plays out has been seen many times before: eerie singing in the night, erotic dreams of a demon lover, lost children, obsession and a diary from the past.

Merritt may not be doing anything very original here, but she delivers her tale with fluency and panache.

Thanks to HarperCollins for ARCs via NetGall
Jul 24, 2018 added it
Shelves: waaaa
Yet more ghosts!

Lots of strange goings-on in a creepy haunted house, set on the wild and remote coast of a wild and remote Scottish island. A sexy ghostly psychological thriller. Not really my usual, I have to say, although there was a certain compulsion to find out how all the various threads would get tied up at the end. (A little jiggery-pokery necessary, plus a rather convenient and unlikely death).

My daughter gave me this, which made me wonder what induced her to pick it out. Then I found t
Feb 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Confession: I read this book because “It begins, they say, with a woman screaming…” – now that’s a sure-fire way to get my attention, who is this woman and why is she screaming!? While You Sleep is marketed as a psychological thriller, it’s paranormal heavy and contains a good mystery.

As the blurb indicates, this novel has a haunted house vibe to it, and Zoe is about to get caught in the midst of it. Zoe is an “outsider” and is very much treated like one by some of the locals, and this made me w
Ophelia Sings
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Fragile Zoe escapes her marital woes by fleeing half way around the world from her native America to the seclusion of a remote Scottish island. There, she attempts to make beautiful but isolated McBride House her home - but dark secrets and a tragic past lie within its turreted walls. A past which will not sleep - and an evil which will not die...

'It's pretty far-fetched', states a character in Stephanie Merritt's thriller/chiller, While You Sleep. He's not wrong. This is the stuff of monumental
Rhian Eleri
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Umut Reviews
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review and more is also on my blog:
While You Sleep is set on a remote Scottish island, which is already enough to send shivers down your spine. Our main character, Zoe Adams, arrives at the McBride house in the middle of nowhere to escape from her failing marriage and stay alone for a while to put things together. From the moment she enters this “haunted” house, her stay becomes uncomfortable with some strange intrusions. Phones get disconnected, lig
Jeanne Adamek
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am not actually sure if I 'liked' the book but it was so well written I have chosen to give it 4 stars. The story is dark and I found somewhat depressing (others that gave a reviews said that it was creepy or scary). For me it was the powerful way that the author used her words that kept me turning the pages and thinking about what I have just read...
Lesley Moseley
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Only gave an extra star because I did actually finish it, more fool me. Last few pages were just hogwash, setting it up as the first book in a series, I wouldn't be surprised. Count me out.
Jessica Woodbury
I joked on Twitter that this book has a pretty simple hook: Sex Ghost. I don't want to underplay it because there is more sex than you'd expect and it's a scarier book than I expected, too. Sex Ghost is the main event here and if that sounds up your alley, you will probably have a lovely time with this book.

As a pretty regular horror reader, this book didn't quite deliver the way I'd hoped. It was so promising in the early chapters! I loved the Scottish setting, it's well-drawn and complete, pu
Angela Smith
Zoe Adams needs to get away from her past for a bit. She flees her troubled marriage and rents an old house on a remote Scottish island. The house has quite the history and none of it good.

Zoe can tell there are stories about the place that her landlord does not want her to hear. As strange things begin to happen she wonders if the house is really cursed or that her mind is playing tricks on her.

The story is fairly slow paced but intense at the same time. It's hard to know who to trust and who
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wouldn't want to read this book if I was home alone, I found it quite disturbing and hauntingly chilling. It is a long time since I have read anything quite so spooky and I loved it. It's hard to distinguish between what is real and what is imagined. The setting is an old house set at the top of cliffs on a remote Scottish island, you can almost hear the wind whistling and howling with the waves crashing against the rocks,not the type of place for a woman to be staying alone. I thought the boo ...more
I'm not into the lack of consent, even from a ghost. It's a DNF, but I would consider a different style book by this author because she is very talented. Not reviewing or rating because I elected to stop reading at 26%.
Vikki Patis
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I confess, this gave me the creeps more than once. I jumped at the gurgling noises of the boiler during the night. Last night, our IFTTT wasn't working properly, so Alexa couldn't turn the lights on. When I got up to switch the landing light off, the bedroom light turned off too. This is what While You Sleep did to me, but I am a self-confessed wimp.

Zoe, an American woman in her 40's, moves to a remote Scottish island to get away from her failing marriage. It's clear from the beginning that she
Paula Sealey
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fabulously eerie ghost story, this book kept me riveted with its tense and chilling plot.

Attempting to escape her marriage problems back home in America, Zoe flees to a remote Scottish Island. She rents out a house that is mired in local myth, with disappearances and ghostly happenings reported. While dismissing these legends initially, Zoe starts to believe that supernatural forces may be at work when disturbing events occur during her stay, and she sets out to solve the mystery of the McBri
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
American Zoe arrives on a Scottish island to take up a month's tenancy in the old McBride house. Pretty soon she's having strange dreams, erotic and otherworldly that imply there's something more to the house than a tragic history. I thought this was going to be a crime novel (although there are some elements of criminal activity) but it was a haunted house ghost story. Loved it.
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
A Goodreads Win

This took me quite a while to read as I found it a bit too unsettling and needed to be a particular mood.
They story was quite slow to start & unfold & in which I was finding it a bit difficult connecting with the characters, this significantly improved as the book went on & concluded with a very powerful ending.
Lula Lavender
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
While You Sleep by Stephanie Merritt is a gorgeously gothic thriller, packed full of atmosphere and suspense, it follows American artist Zoe as she leaves behind her life and estranged husband to spend some time in an isolated Scottish house with an eerie history.

The setting of a tiny, remote Scottish island adds a claustrophobic twist to the tale, with tension building up from both the isolated location and the close-knit community. I found While You Sleep to be a little slow going to begin wit
Just finished and will write more of a review later. Do know this is not only spooky as hell but could also be titled "Fifty Shades of a Grey Ghost."

Update 1/24/19: I don't have much more to add except this spooky gothic ghost story with an excellent atmospheric setting on a Scottish isle will keep you on the edge of your couch and may also make you blush a little. One twist was fairly easy to figure out but a couple of others may surprise you. And the ending will have you saying "What just hap
Simone Elizabeth
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this book. It sounded good and the cover drew me in....... I hated it. This book put me in a reading slump where I just couldn't be bothered to pick it up knowing how much I wasn't enjoying it. I slipped over loads of pages again and again and just gave up. I don't usually give up on books but couldn't get into this one
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very spooky read, I loved it ! Full of suspense I couldn’t put it down :) 9/10
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Abandoned. More of a supernatural romance book. It's just not for me.
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(Also writes under the pseudonym S.J. Parris)

Stephanie Merritt (born 1974 in Surrey) to Jim and Rita Merritt is a critic and feature writer for various publications including The Times, the Daily Telegraph, the New Statesman, Zembla and Die Welt. She has also been Deputy Literary Editor and a staff writer at The Observer.

Merritt graduated in English from Queens' College, Cambridge in 1996. Prior