Cover Image: The Woman in the Woods

The Woman in the Woods

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Member Reviews

When Allie and her husband Rav move into their new home in the village of Pluckley, life seems perfect. But not long after the birth of their second child, Allie begins to notice strange things about their house. A scratching sound in the chimney, someone watching her from the woods behind the house, poisonous plants in the garden… As Allie gets pulled deeper into the history of the house, she learns disturbing things about what happened there in the past, as well as about who she can trust in the present.

I really loved the supernatural and witchcraft angle of this story, and then the excellent (if slightly predictable) twist. However, I found the portrayal of Allie’s husband, Rav, rather unrealistic and incongruous to the actual outcome of the story. On the one hand, Rav is a caring and loving husband who is worried about his wife, but on the other hand he is absent 90% of the time and gets angry with her any time she does something out of character, where a genuinely loving husband might probably be more concerned about his wife’s wellbeing. This made sense for the plot, but it was difficult to match the two up when the book ended, which I do feel is a reflection of the writing more than anything else.

I also found the pacing a bit slow. Allie seemed to spend the majority of the book stressing and feeding her baby. The actual plot developments could probably have fitted into just a couple of chapters, while the rest is fairly repetitive background noise. Overall, I thought it was good, but it could have been a lot better.
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Thank you to NetGalley and HQ for this arc in exchange for an honest review.

I have read all of this author's previous books, but debated whether to read this one or not, as I don't appreciate  fantasy/supernatural or witchcraft in this case. However I decided to give it a go and hope it didn't affect the reality of the plot too much.

The story itself was exciting and gripping, and I did enjoy it, but there were some threads of the plot that left me wondering.... 

I'm glad I read this book, but it is my least favourite of all the authors books so far.
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I wasn't sure of where the book was heading. It dragged in places but I continued reading as I did want to find out how it would end. At the end of it, I still wasn't sure of what was troubling the protagonist and if there were ghosts or not or was she going mental? I like my stories to all tie up in the end and this one didn't so for me, it isn't Lisa Hall's best book. Unless there is a part two?
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This was a really atmospheric read for me, full of those chilling moments that have you listening out for noises in your own home and sensing the supernatural around you!

When Allie and her family move out of London to a cottage in a haunted village, there's excitement about their new start! But things never go that smoothly do they?! And soon after the fun(!) begins and Allie is thinking she's slowly going mad as she starts seeing and hearing things around the cottage - it's enough to spook anyone! But she's dismissed by her family and it's only when she starts talking to locals that the truth about the history of their new cottage comes to light!

From the very evocative opening, this is a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat as it explores a number of subjects including the supernatural, witchcraft and also mental health. The tension is captured really well and I enjoyed the characters portrayed as they all added something a little different, with Allie playing the main role perfectly as you're going through the anguish with her - is she going mad or is she being played? An enjoyable creepy read!
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What a novel, full of suspense and creepy atmospheres. I found it a real page turner, but the ending was a strange twist in the tale !
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I have loved everything about this one. This is well-written and a book that I have been completely unwilling to put down. I am a huge fan of this author and cannot wait for more.
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Again another perfect October / spooky read for me! 

I am not aware that this author has written any witchcraft/spooky books before, but she is such a talented writer, that she is able to nail the thriller with witchcraft mixed into it 

The reader is immediately drawn into the creepy atmosphere. 

The book is a real page Turner and would make a perfect tv drama
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This is a creepy thriller which kept me in suspense. Allie, her husband and their two young children have moved into a new home, which backs on to a wood. It’s creepy, decrepit and full of secrets. Allie discovers that their own home forms a big part in the history of the haunted village and she sets about looking for answers to things she thinks she has seen.

Allie hears noises, she sees people and finds things in the house, things left behind by previous occupiers. There are leanings towards witchcraft and spooky happenings, some of her acquaintances in the village believe in the history more than others and Allie starts looking into the background of the house and former inhabitants herself. Whatever you believe or don’t believe when you discover that your home is the location of haunted happenings it’s very unsettling and Allie starts to show signs of emotional instability. Already sleep deprived by having a young baby poor Allie is at her weakest, lonely and struggling her behaviour and sense of reality are questionable.

This is eerie and creepy and compelling to read. Allie starts citing what she has seen and her sense of reality and loss of control starts to spiral. Poor Allie doesn’t know who to trust, she has a best friend who tries very hard to look after her, does she try too hard or is she genuinely nice – she’s a tricky character too!

I’ve read another book by this author, The perfect couple and I liked how she played with our mind with this book too! You don’t always know what to think, or what to expect and I like a book that’s twisty and dark like that – an enjoyable read.
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The Woman in the Woods tells the story of Rav and Allie Harper, who move to the village of Pluckley in Kent from Ebbsfleet with their daughter, two-year-old Mina. Their son, Leo, is born soon after they arrive in the place that’s referred to as England’s most haunted village!

Allie is a florist and manager of a shop called The Daisy Chain, which her friend, Naomi, is looking after while Allie is on maternity leave. Rav is a barrister or judge and works long hours, putting cases together and dealing with criminals in court. The couple met in Goa – Rav was visiting his aunts and uncles with his parents and brother and Allie was backpacking with two friends she’d met along the way.

Their house (Gowdie Cottage) in Pluckley is a 400-year-old Grade II listed cottage with an intriguing past. It hasn’t been lived in for years and needs lots of working doing still. With two young children, Allie is exhausted most of the time and getting little sleep as Leo is feeding regularly through the night. She is so tired that she starts seeing people in the woods near their house and she feels watched.

Strange things seem to be happening inside the cottage too. Allie discovers items that have been left by the previous owners and when she learns the cottage’s history, she becomes even more freaked out and feels that a ghostly presence is trying to make itself seen and heard, especially when she finds various symbols of witchcraft and superstition.

As the story progresses, I wasn’t sure if Allie was an unreliable narrator and was imaging things or if the family really was in danger from a supernatural being. Allie’s husband, Rav, was acting very strangely and her friend, Naomi, also seemed to be trying to get too close to the family, especially as she moved to the same village! The pair of them seemed to be gaslighting Allie and questioning her thoughts and actions constantly, and dismissing her worries about the house being haunted by a ghost.

Allie makes some mum friends in the village but they all seem rather cliquey and it often feels like they’re talking about her behind her back. They like to gossip and took great delight in telling her about the history of Gowdie Cottage. It’s difficult for Allie to know who to trust and her mum and Rav’s mum, Avó, also like to interfere too.

Overall, I really enjoyed this disturbing and gripping novel, which had me distrusting several of the main protagonists and wondering what on earth was going on! I had several theories but couldn’t put my finger on what was really happening. It’s a creepy and atmospheric story and I enjoyed the descriptions of the cottage and its grounds with the rather dangerous herb gardens and water feature!

The book is well paced and cleverly plotted and kept me intrigued throughout with its spooky goings on and Allie’s rather erratic behaviour. At times, there were tense moments and I was really worried for Mina and Leo’s safety as Allie was distracted and the ghostly happenings ramped up. An unsettling read with some good elements of misdirection and perfect Halloween reading!
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I felt that this book couldn't really decide what it wanted to be.  It's hard to explain without giving away spoilers.  There are suggestions of post partum depression, paranoia, supernatural, witchcraft.....  I could go on.  That would be ok except that things do actually happen that aren't explained in the end.
One other thing that got quite irritating was Allie's continually calling Leo, the baby.  I'm not sure if this is to indicate a lack of bonding but it was annoying.
Not one of my favourite Lisa Hall's I'm afraid.
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Excellent read! I didn't put this book down until I'd finished it, so creepy and very intense. It had me wanting to scream out to Allie at parts! A great time to read it so close to Halloween too. Loved the witchcraft. I'd highly recommend.
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I chose this as a Halloween read. The synopsis was interesting, I have enjoyed other books by Lisa Hall and I also like to read about witchcraft and superstition.

Initially, I recognise the usual beautiful style of writing I have come to expect from Lisa Hall and it flows well, drawing you in from the very start.

The plot is very cleverly written and interesting. Living in a new house with a newborn baby and a small toddler is tough, making new friends and trying to fit everything in makes it even harder but all is not what it seems here. There is a lot of concern over the main character, Allie, her best friend and husband, Rav, are concerned for the children and their safety.

This leads you through Allie’s thought process very well and is delivered excellently. However, there are some irritating parts, the regular references to how large Allie and Rav’s house is in comparison to everyone else’s seems unnecessary. However, the descriptions of the house, village and surroundings are wonderful.

The characters are well developed and clearly well thought out with quite a variation, they each have their own personalities well fixed but Rav does appear quite distant for how loving he appears. They were all relatable and their concerns felt real and appropriate.

The ending was pretty much what I had guessed and is where it did become a little disappointing. It felt a bit rushed with parts left unfinished. It maybe would have benefited from a “year later” type approach maybe, not being a writer I’m not quite sure, but I felt it was missing something that would ha e made it into a really great book.

Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this fast-paced read which kept my attention well throughout. A good solid read, great for fans of supernatural stories, psychological thrillers or domestic suspense, and of course the perfect Halloween read!
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Again another perfect October / spooky read for me! 

I am not aware that this author has written any witchcraft/spooky books before, but she is such a talented writer, that she is able to nail the thriller with witchcraft mixed into it 

The reader is immediately drawn into the creepy atmosphere. 

The book is a real page Turner and would make a perfect tv drama
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This is a perfect autumn read, I loved this gripping chiller about a woman who moves to the countryside with her husband. She discovers that their cute countryside cottage has an alarming history and when strange things start happening she wonders if they've made a big mistake.

I really enjoyed this novel and I'll definitely be reading more by this author.
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This books plot looked like something I might enjoy so requested it! Sadly I didn’t like this as much as I thought.

I was expecting something more creepy and atmospheric, but with the slow start and having difficulties engaging with the characters, I’ve sadly had to give up after 30%. I found the pace too slow for my liking and so I am having to give it up.
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Thank you NetGalley for this advanced copy. I have really liked Lisa's books in the past, but wasn't sure if I would like this one based on the description. I was right. The character development didn't feel complete, it was a very slow start, and I ended up giving up.
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Woman moves into house that her husband hasn’t bothered telling her is full of history that relates to witches. Garden is full of poisonous plants. Woman keeps seeing things. Woman keeps feeling chills. Woman asks herself questions over and over again about what might be going on, instead of confronting people who might know with a direct question or two. All very frustrating. Also includes a few chapters in italics the purpose of which is not at all clear. Set in Pluckley which was nice and they moved there from Ebbsfleet(!)

All very frustrating which was a pity because I enjoyed a previous book by this author.

Thanks to NetGalley for a free copy in exchange for a fair review
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Allie and her family move into a  countryside house, it seems idyllic, but strange things begin to happen. When she finds out about the haunted status of the house and village Allie starts to wonder if they are safe. 

Allie is an unreliable protagonist, but the reader feels empathy.  Allie's increasingly fragile mental state and emotional vulnerability raise questions in the reader's mind about the validity of  Allie's perception of events.  Vivid sensory imagery draws the reader into Allie's fearful world.

There is an ethos of simmering menace that intensifies with each strange event. Impactful twists 
 interwoven with gothic and paranormal elements make this a compelling and chilling story.

I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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Approaching Halloween, this is the perfect read to get you in the mood. It is chilling, it is atmospheric and will have you questioning Allie and her actions throughout.

Moving into the spookiest village in Britain, I think Allie knows, deep down, that there are going to be some ghostly tales that she learns about. What she wasn’t anticipating was that these legends even feature her own house. With this knowledge comes fear and superstition as Allie becomes increasingly convinced that she is being haunted by a woman who used to live in the house hundreds of years ago. However, Allie’s husband and close friend are dismissive of her claims, excusing her delusions for new-baby stresses.

This book covers a range of topical issues, including mental health and the stresses of motherhood. I did forget the name of Allie’s baby as he is so often referred to as ‘baby’; I think the writer could have used his name a bit more to make it more personal and for her relationship with her son to be more convincing. Exasperated for Allie when no one seems to believe her about seeing something in the woods behind their house, Hall also explores the sensitive issue of mental health and how precarious it is. Whilst I was frustrated and sympathetic that everyone around her is so dismissive, I do think Hall uses this topic rather carefully, especially when combined with postpartum feelings.

For sure, this book is incredibly atmospheric, particularly when Allie experiences such ghostly occurrences around the house. The chilling landing, the reflections in the mirror, voices, scratchings in the chimney… this book has the ingredients for a spine-tingling, atmospheric read. The isolation that Allie feels as a new mum is symbolised by the woods that seem to engulf her back garden. Therefore, I was convinced that believing she can see a figure in the trees became a metaphor for Allie desiring to reach out and her opinions being accepted. She is determined she is not ‘crazy’, but not even her husband seems to trust her. How can she change his opinion?

The theme of witchcraft was fascinating and I enjoyed reading the history of Allie’s house. Furthermore, when trinkets are discovered in the house, it added to the idea of spells and charms. I loved reading about the legends of Pluckley but think the writer could have developed this slightly further and allowed more magic and witchcraft to take more prominence in the story.

Quickly captured by this story, I found I could not put it down. Obsessed with Allie’s story, I was so curious to discover what the explanations would be behind her many accusations. In truth, I was surprised by the ending and think it could have been elaborated further, making significant connections to the history of the house but, it seemed to satisfy the overall atmosphere of the novel. At the same time, I thought Allie’s treatment at the end was quite sad because it justified how other characters behaved towards her in the novel. I think I was desiring more strength from Allie after all she had experienced.

This was an immersive read with a haunting setting, a haunted house and a woman haunted by what many consider as a figment of her imagination… or is it?

With thanks to HQ Digital and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Allie and Rav have recently moved to a new house in the spooky Kent village of Pluckley, shortly after the birth of their second baby. But Allie soon regrets the move as she learns more about the history of the house they are living in, and its links to witchcraft. Rav is sceptical but Allie continues to experience spooky goings on that make her quite sure that the house is haunted, and she seeks to find out more about it, with dangerous results.

I thought this was a creepy and atmospheric novel - it didn't pack as many surprises as I think it was supposed to, but it was a good story that I enjoyed reading very much. 

With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.
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