The Evening Spider: A Novel

Paperback | January 26, 2016

byEmily Arsenault

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A gripping blend of psychological suspense and historical true crime, this riveting novel—inspired by a sensational real-life murder from the 1800s—by critically acclaimed author Emily Arsenault delivers a heart-stopping mystery linking two young mothers from different centuries.

Frances Barnett and Abby Bernacki are two haunted young mothers living in the same house in two different centuries.

1885: Frances Barnett is in the Northampton Lunatic Hospital, telling her story to a visitor. She has come to distrust her own memories, and believes that her pregnancy, birth, and early days of motherhood may have impaired her sanity.

During the earliest months of her baby’s life, Frances eagerly followed the famous murder trial of Mary Stannard—that captivated New Englanders with its salacious details and expert forensic testimony. Following—and even attending—this trial, Frances found an escape from the monotony of new motherhood. But as her story unfolds, Frances must admit that her obsession with the details of the murder were not entirely innocent.

Present day: Abby has been adjusting to motherhood smoothly—until recently, when odd sensations and dreams have begun to unsettle her while home alone with her baby. When she starts to question the house’s history, she is given the diary of Frances Barnett, who lived in the house 125 years earlier. Abby finds the diary disturbing, and researches the Barnett family’s history. The more Abby learns, the more she wonders about a negative—possibly supernatural—influence in her house. She becomes convinced that when she sleeps, she leaves her daughter vulnerable—and then vows not to sleep until she can determine the cause of her eerie experiences.

Frances Barnett might not be the only new mother to lose her mind in this house. And like Frances, Abby discovers that by trying to uncover another’s secrets, she risks awakening some of her own.

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From the Publisher

A gripping blend of psychological suspense and historical true crime, this riveting novel—inspired by a sensational real-life murder from the 1800s—by critically acclaimed author Emily Arsenault delivers a heart-stopping mystery linking two young mothers from different centuries.Frances Barnett and Abby Bernacki are two haunted young m...

From the Jacket

“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 not a product of my diseased 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 ...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.9 inPublished:January 26, 2016Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062379313

ISBN - 13:9780062379313

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Customer Reviews of The Evening Spider: A Novel

Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from The latest from Emily Arsenault 3.5 Emily Arsenault's newest book, The Evening Spider, has just released. Two women, both new mothers, living in the same house - 130 years apart - Frances in the 1800's and Abby in 2014. Arsenault employs a story telling technique that I quite enjoy - alternating chapters of past and present. The past is told from Frances's viewpoint and noted in her journal. That same journal lands in the hands of Abby in the present. Arsenault uses a slow building tension to keep the reader engaged. Are the doors really closing on their own? Is it the wind or is someone or something trying to calm the baby with a gentle "Shhh'. Is it truly gentle or threatening? Or is it simply Abby being exhausted? Perhaps postpartum depression? And what of Frances? She is a curious woman, with interests not quite befitting the social mores of her time. Her lawyer husband repeatedly quashes her spirit. Is she truly delusional? Or is she too suffering from postpartum illness? I found it fascinating that Arsenault based the past in part on a real historical crime. And I really enjoyed Abby's digging into the past through historical society records and old newspapers. (I've done this myself - it's addicting and so interesting.) Arsenault has utilized journals, books and visiting the past to solve the present in previous books to great effect. The slow building question of what is really happening in the present is mirrored by the slow reveal of what has happened in the the past. I did find the additional storyline added to the present - a death in Abby's past - to be extraneous. It just didn't feel like part of the story for me. I was much more interested in the past and Frances's life. I liked the creepy 'haunted house' aspect of the novel. The ending was not quite what I had expected - good, but not as satisfying as I hoped - I found I still had questions after I turned the last page. A good, but not great read for me.
Date published: 2016-01-29

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Editorial Reviews

“intricately plotted... Passionate and suspenseful, it is the author’s best book to date. [...] That ending is as satisfying as the story is engrossing, taking the reader beyond the fun of a breathtaking tale to an important lesson about dealing honestly with one’s own past and present.”