The Evening Spider by Emily Arsenault has all the elements of a great story – psychological suspense, a hint of ghostly events, and true crime. Even better it’s based on a actual murder from the 1800’s so of course it automatically grabbed my attention.
In 1885 we meet Frances Barnett who is in a lunatic hospital relating to her brother how she ended up in the asylum. Frances becomes obsessed with a famous murder trial and it dominates her every thought and even her days as she attends the trial. As time passes she is left confused. She comes to believe that the birth of her child has somehow affected her memories and the way she functions – maybe even her sanity.
In present day we are introduced to Abby Bernacki, who recently had a baby, and has moved into the very house that Frances lived in 125 years before her. Abby is becoming increasingly disturbed by dreams and weird feelings she has been experiencing in the house anytime she’s alone. Being interested in history she wonders if maybe there isn’t some supernatural element to what’s going on. When she’s given a diary that Frances kept she becomes even more scared that something terrible may happen to her baby while she sleeps.
While many years separate these two women their stories could not be more eerily similar. Is Abby’s baby safe? Is there something trying to hurt them in the house? Or is Abby losing her mind just as Frances did so many years before.
I listened to the audiobook which is narrated by Bernadette Dunne and Nan McNamara. I enjoy listening to both of these narrators so my listening experience was great. As for the story itself I really enjoyed it but I did find at times that Frances’ story left me a bit confused and I wasn’t all that fond of the ending either which also left me more than a little mystified. That aside though the story is great and if you’re an audiobook fan it was a really good audio. I would recommend it to those who enjoy a bit of a mystery with their reading as well as those who like stories that alternate between the past and present.