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Spider Light

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  534 ratings  ·  58 reviews
"The dangerous thing about spider light is that it hides things - things you never knew existed. But once you have seen those things, you can never afterwards forget them..."

Antonia Weston has come to the sleepy market town of Amberwood in search of peace and anonymity after a shattering and all-too-public tragedy in her life. But shortly after her arrival, a series of dis
Paperback, 407 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by Simon Schuster UK
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3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  534 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Wendy Darling
Say the word "asylum" and I'm instantly intrigued.

This thriller is well-plotted and surprisingly layered, with unsentimental writing that makes you feel for the characters without being overly showy.

Trigger warning: the book is very rape-y, and there are times when I felt a bit uncomfortable about the amount of salacious abuse in the first half. (view spoiler)
Marissa Farrar
Oct 25, 2010 rated it liked it
I wanted to really love this book but the writing just didn't sit right with me. Too many adverbs - some running 'hurridly' or sitting 'anxiously'. Numerous 'ly' adverbs on almost every page so they just jarred with me the whole way through. Plus there is the ultimate writer's sin of 'telling not showing' at regular intervals where whole conversations are explained rather than shown. I also found the writing to be too 'proper' when people spoke. Very English with little realism. I could understa ...more
Jul 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-thriller
It has been a while since I curled up with one of Sarah Rayne’s mysteries, and so reading this one was especially a delight after such a long time away from her talent! Rayne writes such wonderful mysteries, filled with a dark and spooky atmosphere and they tend to flit through time, seamlessly weaving together her intricate plots filled with her realistic and lively characters. Her villains, here in particular, are remarkably depraved but not cartoonish or at all silly. There are some very stro ...more
Jun 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I chose to read this book because I really enjoyed A Dark Dividing by the same author. I was not disappointed! Antonia, a psychiatrist wrongfully imprisoned for killing a man in self defense, is released and moves to the country to recoup. All the while she is being stalked by the devious sister who has malign intentions. Paralleling the modern plot is one where a young girl living in the same area about 100 years ago is molested and exploited by a perverted neighbor and succumbs to madness. All ...more
Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
This is the third book I've read by this author, and I really enjoyed it. This time the creepy building was a disused mill and there was also the inclusion an asylum called 'Latchkill'. I enjoyed the unfolding sub-plots and and learning how various deaths occurred in the mill over different generations.

Rayne doesn't attempt to disguise the fact that her plot construction is the same in each book, although this recipe always delivers a thrilling read. Deviating from this recipe would be exciting
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
It's hard to explain the plot because it really doesn't differ much from any of her other books. Abandoned buildings, evil doings...and insane murdering psychopaths.

Same old, same old.

Think I'll give Ms Rayne a rest for now.
Kaethe Douglas
Marvelous. Sarah Rayne helps fills the gaps between new books by Nicci French. Lots of twists and turns in the spaghetti, startling revelations, and a good, strong ending.

Mother-in-law's copy.
I have read around 12 of Ms Rayne's books, and enjoyed them all. Until this one. Not sure if it was the subject matter or the timing was wrong or what, but I did not care for this one at all. Huge disappointment. The sexual issues were a bit off putting, but it was more than that for me. The story didn't flow, and I ended up skimming more than I usually do at all.
I won't give up on Ms Rayne, though!
Louise Morris
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was a slow beginning, but ramped up rather quickly. Very disturbing content. You have to have a strong constitution to wade through the strong and disturbing subjects that are brought up. It switches back and forth between late 19th century and modern day.
Holly Nessling
Feb 15, 2018 rated it liked it
An enjoyable read. Some of it a little predictable but a good page-turner.
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Just an okay book for me...too many things going on, too many things conveniently tying the past with the present. Not a fan of incest in what I read, so that was an immediate turn off. But I stuck with it, hoping the plot would get better. Which it really didn't. A disappointment.
Jul 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: united-kingdom, crime
Antonia Weston, former psychiatrist has to try to rebuild her life, shattered by murder and obsession. When she is released from prison after serving her own sentence for manslaughter, her former boss finds her a small cottage to rent in the quiet village of Amberwood.

The cottage is in the grounds of Quire House, now open to the public, in the past the family home of Thomasina Forrester. Over a century ago, Thomasina was a woman of money and influence, overseeing a trust that provided support fo
Mary Gilligan-Nolan
Sep 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a very enjoyable read, with Sarah Raynes usual formula of a story told in the present day and a back story set in the 1890's, all centered around a market town called Amberwood and its old asylum and mill. Antonia Weston comes to Amberwood to get her life back together after a very traumatic and tragic 5 year period and if befriended by one of the curators of Quire House, a museum and craft center, from whom she is renting Charity Cottage. She becomes interested in the history of the ol ...more
Dec 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook, library, 2016
A book that tries too hard to be too many things but which still ends up an interesting enough read. There are several plots and sub-plots, narrated in the present day and the past, and so many murders that you really do have to suspend total disbelief to accept them. The murderers are also very lucky with their murdering, generally achieving 100% success in their attempts despite the circumstances. The book rolls along at a lick though I found the ending rushed as if even the author thought she ...more
Stacie Morrell
Dec 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
I have really liked the other books by Ms. Rayne. They are page turning, traditional ghost stories with a touch of horror. I have found myself looking over my shoulder more than once while reading one of Ms. Rayne's books.

However, I found this book very distasteful. That is a personal opinion, and not a critique on the writing. I did not like or identify with any of the characters, and found the actions of the lesbian matron in the flashback to be abhorrent. I stopped reading half way through t
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: average-thriller
A good story if not for the same accounts told from different viewpoints, This is a dark tale set around the creepy-sounding Twygrist mill and Latchkill asylum. Antonia is a doctor, recently released from prison for killing an intruder who she believed murdered her brother. But Donna, the intruder’s sister is out to get her. Antonia, meanwhile stays in the town and unfurls the twisted history of the town’s past. I loved the ‘spider-light’ concept, things only visible in half-dusk. It is during t ...more
Pooja T
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book as I do all of Rayne's books. This one is deliciously dark and macabre. Loved the narrative moving from one time period to another and reading about all these characters more than a hundred years apart. I loved this and cannot wait to read my next Sarah Rayne. However, I must admit that her books do seem a tad bit similar, most of them have old abandoned building- asylums, orphanages and prisons or something similarly dark and the mystery surrounding them. So after a point it s ...more
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Spider Light" is apparently the time of day when night is turning into morning and vice versa. It's a time when unseen creatures can scuttle about in the shadows....Very evocative! I think this has become my favourite Sarah Rayne novel. It's a dark and disturbing tale with some seriously twisted characters and features Rayne's characteristic switches from past to present. Both time frames are set in the village of Amberwood where Twygrist Mill and Latchkill Asylum have a malevolent influence. Y ...more
Amy Nielsen
Sep 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was such an odd (but really good) book for me and although there were some weird social issues here that I found hard to stomach, the integration of the local creepy grist mill sold me on it. I've found that I'm drawn to stories that involve old creepy buildings, go figure. Totally predictable ending but it was the journey that excelled and the ending was just ... well, the end of a story. But, if I never hear the word "macabre" again, it'll be too soon. I guess that's a good descriptor of ...more
Jul 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, crime
Psychological thriller incorporating Dark Secrets of the Past. On the whole pretty good, although the implausible coincidences and the sheer number of murders, to say nothing of the sheer number of murderers! rather threaten to overbalance the story. But, still, hard to put down, and responsible for a couple of very late nights. I'll be picking up the rest of this author's books when I can. ...more
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Gothic mystery lovers
Antonia has suffered a tragedy, and she comes to the peaceful village of Amberwood for rest and relaxation. But she soon finds neither, and the nearby closed mill called Twygrist, and the vanished Latchkill asylum, both of which figure in her life. She soon discovered that she has more than a passing intertst in these two places as they are somehow linked with her past. As terrible things begin to happen, Antonia finds herself as a pawn in a past life and someone who wants her dead.
Oct 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
There were just too many mysteries and parallel stories going on in this book. If not for the fact that 90% of them had the exact same conclusion, this would have made it hard to follow. Instead it was hopelessly dull and felt as if the author kept piling on more characters and more murders to maintain interest. It didn't work.

The evil lesbian character storyline seemed like it could hint at an underlying homophobia as well, which I am not at all down with.
Aug 23, 2015 rated it liked it
This book confused me in the beginning, there seemed to be too many characters and time period changes early on but I caught on quick enough. It got much more interesting in the middle then died off a little for me as it seemed I was reading the same thing over and over again. But overall I enjoyed most characters and it was an interesting tale.
Jun 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
I hadn't heard of Sarah Rayne before and only bought the book because I was travelling and it was only $10. I read one chapter but couldn't get into it and gave up. But months later I tried again and could not stop reading, as people have said it is a bit predictable. I have recommended this book to my friends
Sarah Williams
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm pretty sure this has now leapt to the top of the list of my favourite books by Sarah Rayne. It's between this one and "The Death Chamber". What a fantastic read. I got through half the book in a single sitting. A great combination of murder mystery set in both the present and that past with characters that you'll love to hate. Excellent book.
Mar 24, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This story has simply been too stretched out. If the story had been told in 100 pages, I might have liked it but 400 pages is much too long and left me uninterested after a while. I didn't really care anymore how the story ended, I was mostly glad it was finished.
This is the first book I've read by this author and I don't think I'll be reading any of her other books soon.
Sep 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
I really enjoy Sarah Rayne's books and Spider Light was no exception! Loved the way the narrative moved back and forth between the past and the present as well as the kinds of darkness explored in the book. An unputdownable page turner!

Nov 08, 2011 rated it liked it
A good enough read, lots of suspense but soo many murders set around the daunting old mill of Twygrist...even the name makes me shudder. This book delves back into history and then jumps to the present,with the ending quite neatly wrapped up.
Jul 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
After reading the brill Property of A Lady this really disappointed me infact I struggled to finish it. Too much going on with a few stories that just didn't seem to intertwine very well. The book is quite dark and atmospheric but scored zero on my creepiness scale.
Jun 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Didn't mind it but not completely hooked. Enjoyed the way she tried to balance the old stories with the new, but frankly thought the concept of spider light itself was unnecessary to the plot ...will try another Sarah Rayne though. A good holiday read.
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Aka Frances Gordon, Bridget Wood

After a convent education, which included writing plays for the Lower Third to perform, Sarah Rayne embarked on a variety of jobs, but - probably inevitably - returned again and again to writing. Her first novel appeared in 1982, and since then her books have also been published in America, Holland and Germany.

The daughter of an Irish comedy actor, she was for many
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