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If Darkness Takes Us

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  135 ratings  ·  79 reviews

IN SUBURBAN AUSTIN, TEXAS, BEA CRENSHAW SECRETLY PREPARES FOR THE APOCALYPSE. But when a solar pulse destroys modern life, she’s left alone with four grandkids whose parents do not return home. She must teach these kids to survive without power, cars, phones, running water, or doctors in a world fraught with increasing danger.

Paperback, 382 pages
Published October 15th 2019 by SFK Press
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**ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review**


I love post-apocalyptic novels, however, I try not to read a lot of them because there is always heartbreak. The reason I decided to give If Darkness Takes Us a try was because of the main character being an almost 70 year old woman who is left alone with four grandkids. The synopsis of this book sounded very unique and intriguing to me, so I had to read it. Bea was somewhat prepared for a disaster hitting the world. She wasn't taken
Abbas Fardil
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
If Darkness Takes Us is an amazing book. A lot of thrilling pieces have blended with suspense and romance here. It is full of emotions. An older woman's hope for future has reflected here. Complicated relationships also pointed here. I am very interested to know the consequences of the characters! It is really a enjoyable post-apocalyptic fiction. ...more
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A summary: Woke post-apocalyptic Texan granny's paranoid disaster planning may save her neighbourhood.

I've read my fair share of post-apocalyptic novels - in fact they're one of my favourite genres. However, they can begin to get a bit samey. This one puts a fresh spin on things though.

The cause of the apocalypse - is it a solar pulse? A nuclear event? A side effect of climate change? Or something completely unknown? With all electricity and communication down, who knows?

It's an interesting and
Jun 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Another EMP apocalypse with solid characters, but unfortunately the story wasn’t as convincing as I would have liked it to be.
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dystopian/post-apocalyptic fiction is a genre that favors the young. Teenagers, and the occasional twenty-somethings, tend to be the stars. Brenda Marie Smith turns that around in If Darkness Takes Us. Bea Crenshaw, the narrator and main character, is a 70-year-old grandmother. For that reason alone, I was fascinated by this novel.

Bea lives near Austin, Texas. She had been expecting an apocalyptic event for decades. She secretly stockpiled food and other supplies, even (especially) hiding it all
Oct 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This was about a paranoid grandmother who stockpiled her house in case something happened.
She was almost ready for anything.
And then it happened. And I was so nervous because it felt like the walking dead without zombies and people were going to start getting ugly.
This was a good read for Halloween I hate the human condition. It’s awful how bad we treat each other! I didn’t care for the God bashing and how he is often blamed, but I did admire Bea. She took care of her family and made the toug
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read several post-apocalyptic novels.  Sure, many of them are sad and cautionary, but I'm a sucker for them.  And this one takes a fresh direction.

When's the last time you read a novel which features an over 70-year-old grandma as the protagonist?  After a devastating EMP changes life as they know it, Bea who has health issues, is thrust into the role of primary caretaker of her four grandchildren.  She's a take charge, no-nonsense kind of woman who comes off as a little controlling at time
Aden Polydoros
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
IF DARKNESS TAKES US is a breathtaking tale of survival, heartbreak, and hope, set in contemporary Austin in the aftermath of a devastating electromagnetic pulse. Unlike any other apocalyptic fiction I've read before, Smith filters the story through the eyes of Bea, a sharp-witted, snarky, but kindhearted grandmother with a heart nearly as big as her arsenal. What I loved about this book, in addition to Bea's character, is Smith's portrayal of the apocalypse. Instead of relying on the same overu ...more
Sandra "Jeanz"
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nancy Presley
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: While I do not know the author personally, we are pretty good Facebook friends in a community of people who have shared the experience of living off the grid, so I have a visceral understanding of the impulses behind the writing of this book.

The scenario, the complete shutting down of the entire electrical matrix, was written with chilling conviction. It has become a part of my own perceptions of daily reality, kind of a "what if" parallel life to my own. The news that PG&E deci
Carmen Marsili
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book!! Though my least favorite topic in the world.....I could not put it down! Even in darkness there's hope. Great talent Brenda Smith!! ❤ ...more
Jen Juenke
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: post-apocalyptic
FINALLY! This book has an older woman protecting her grandkids from forces beyond her control. I loved this book. There are many post apocalyptic books out there, featuring men, young adults, some women. But this book stands apart. This is the point of a 70 year old woman who has desires, dreams, and hopes for the future.
This is stand alone story telling and it was breathtaking in its relationships and the EMP that happened.
I can't stop raving about this book.
So refreshing to get this perspecti
Haleigh Wenger
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
IF DARKNESS TAKES US is such a unique story that I can't stop thinking about it! Featuring a grandmother MC and her grandchildren ranging in ages from little girl to teenagers during the middle of an apocalypse, this story is full of emotions and complicated relationships. This is one of those rare novels that really does have serious crossover appeal. Suspense, romance, and drama are all here and Smith writes with such confidence and charm that you'll find yourself rooting for nearly everyone. ...more
Star Sloth
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A kind of gentle "prepper" fiction, where an apocalypse can only be survived by community and sharing, in spite of the dumb boys with guns who try and ruin everything. It's hard to put this book down. ...more
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I first started this book, I was not sure how I was going to feel about it. A post-apocalyptic style book about a grandmother seemed like it could not be that interesting. However, I ended up being surprised by how much I enjoyed it and really related to the main character, Bea. Even though her family dismissed her and called her a hoarder, and her husband belittled and controlled her, Bea prepared for a major disaster in amazing ways. If not for her preparations, most of Bea's family and n ...more
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bea Crenshaw is a grandmother, an environmentalist, almost 70 years old, and thrown into an apocalyptic scenario in which she has to take care of her four grandchildren. Luckily, Bea Crenshaw is also a prepper and has been setting up for the apocalypse for a few years already.
If Darkness Takes Us focuses completely on a neighbourhood somewhere in Texas that becomes shut off from the rest of the world - lacking electricity, there is no more broadcasting, and - apart from some occasional hearsay -
Katrin (Read With Katrin)
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-reads
ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley

If you like books with happily ever afters, this is not the book for you.

The Good
-timely and relevant. I’m no science whiz but all those environmental issues we’re hearing about. THEY’RE NOT MYTHS, PEOPLE. This book addresses the nightmares that we’ll all experience if we play ignorant.
-captivating writing.
-too good it made me cry too many times
-there were lighthearted moments that were just too beautiful
-the characters hardly go outside t
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Post-apocalyptic chaos in a suburb of Austin, Texas

70 year old grandmother Bea Crenshaw stays at home with her four grandchildren while her cranky, controlling husband and three of their children head to Dallas for a football game.

While they are gone two major events happen: a nearby train wreck releasing who knows what kind of chemicals into the air and then a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), a huge solar flare that wipes out all power in at least North America.

The story is told by Bea, a woman who
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Bea reminds me of my own grandmothers, who I know would have successfully survived anything thrown at them. My mother on the other hand believes the four food groups are canned, boxed, frozen and take out. There would be no hope for her. Beware SPOILERS!!!!! Meet Bea, a health concerned senior, enjoying the company of her grandkids for the weekend. Her husband and their parents are going to a football game, what could go wrong. The grandkids are squabbling , the weather is sti ...more
Laura Creedle
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I think of post—apocalyptic fiction, I tend to think of well-armed dudes muscling their way through a forbidding tribal landscape. What a delight, instead, to read a post apocalyptic story about an intelligent and thoughtful seventy year old woman teaching a family of grandkids about basic survival skills after a very believable EMP catastrophe. That’s not to say there aren’t real dangers and tragic occurrences in this world; they abound. But the central tension here is between the urge to ...more
Flor Salcedo
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
You'll be waiting for a sequel by the end of it!
This is a superb post-apocalyptic story with non-traditional elements. It’s fresh and unique. Grandma powers through a disaster trying to save her grandchildren. Her tenacity will both lift and shatter this family. It was so neat to see what Bea has stocked up and how she put it to use. The main character feels real, not all rainbows and roses. Like, not all humans would know the perfect way to react in all situations if an apocalypse hit! This aut
Pat Welte
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book and the characters. There was suspense and uncertainty in their lives. They really didn't know what was happening. I cared about the characters and what happened. This was the first book I have read by this author but not the last.

I am hoping that in the future the author will write more about this family and neighborhood.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Marisa Noelle
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was truly excellent. A grandmother stuck with four grandchildren in the wake of a global disaster. They had to face food and water shortages as well as intruders and rising radiation levels. The characters were well drawn and relatable. I couldn't out this book down and it made me both laugh and cry. This is one of those rare books that will stay with me for a long time. ...more
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
PA is not my first genre choice, but this is really good. Never seen a grandmother as the main character in this setting, but she is great, and feels very real. This story will probably sell well for a variety of reasons, including that it will stick with you. Recommended.

I really appreciate the advanced copy for review!!
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was not your normal post apocalyptic read. For one the main character was a 70 year old grandma. I think that if my kids would have been left with their grandma at that age they would be doomed. This had some feels moments as well as some unexpected ones. The writing was pretty easy to read and the story had a great flow. I look forward to reading something else from this author.
Shirley Berwick
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved,loved, loved this book. Loved all the charaters and the area it was written in. Everyday i would walk outside my brothers home and feel like i was there at Bea's house. If you like to read true life books try this one. So,so good. ...more
Janice Lombardo
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
BEST post-apocalyptic book I have ever read! Please refer to my entire review on NetGalley!

Thanks to Southern Fried Karma for the ARC!!!
Jerem Gobi
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This story was so captivating!!! COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!!! I could see it play through my head like it was a movie and I need a sequel!!!! 👏👏👏
Oct 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This wasn’t what I expected and it was ok. NEXT!
Jenna Loa
Nov 05, 2020 rated it liked it
I’m more of a 3.5 BUT the more I think about it the more I get the warm and fuzzies.
It’s written from a Grandmother’s POV so you get the grandma rating. Overall, this was a book I needed right now. One where the worlds gone to shit but the protagonists still manage to get to the other side alive. Also, I enjoyed it enough to find her other book so there’s that!
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At 67-years-old, Brenda Marie Smith is finally having the writing career she's longed for all her life. Her second novel (and the first to be published by someone besides herself), IF DARKNESS TAKES US, won the 2018 Southern Fried Karma Novel Contest and was published by SFK Press in October 2019. The book is post-apocalyptic science fiction, unique in that it features an aging grandmother, Bea Cr

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  As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of...
25 likes · 8 comments
“No matter how desperately a mother loves you, she can only put up with so much. And so, the day came when Mother Nature lashed out against us.

I understood where Nature was coming from. My family never listened to me either, which is why I didn't tell them about the guns I bought.”
“I no longer trusted the sun. I kept half an eye on it, night and day. I told myself that the sun would not go full rogue on us and send a pulse to suck our atmosphere away, but I had a hard time believing it....” 1 likes
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