Cover Image: Where the Briars Sleep

Where the Briars Sleep

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Member Reviews

This is one I desperately wanted to like. Real gothic horror is such a rarity these days, and I loved the entire aesthetic this novel was going for. The problem is, the pacing is so incredibly tedious, describing each item in a room in excruciating detail, especially clothing. While it's very evocative at times, it can get old quickly, especially when you're waiting for something shocking or supernatural to happen. With a few cuts, this could have been something special, and I believe I will revisit someday, but as it is its a little too dense for its own good.
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I so wanted to love this book that I feel a bit guilty that I do not like it that much.

Honestly, it had some amazing parts that fulfilled all potential I wanted to see in a gothic horror novel. Psychologically harsh turns, hinting at horrors we can all imagine to be in this era, an unreliable narrator etc. 

Balancing that to the other side of 'I don't know ...' are the dragging parts about headaches (hinting at those a couple of times would have given the heebie jeebies, the amount it was allured to now made for a 'not again!'), dressing and clothes without a connection to the wardrobe, and the constant bickering about who gets married first and seeming hate between sisters who were supposed to be close.

In the end it made for a 2 stars, because I cannot say that as it is now I really liked this novel much. It does have some seriously redeeming qualities that could have made it good though.
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Excellent book with a great gothic feel to it. The suspense builds slowly making the mysterious nature of the story even better. At the heart of the story is the relationship between the sisters which felt realistic and even the house and the surrounding land lends to an atmospheric read that will leave you quickly turning pages to how it all unfolds.

For fans of classic horror and gothic horror, you'll love this one.
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When I read the synopsis of this book on NetGalley I was really excited. I thought it sounded like something that was right up my alley. But after finishing this book, I feel like a lot of pages were used to do a whole lot of nothing. I would have liked to see the author focus on one key setting and one key issue and explore that more. Instead, I’m left wondering what happened to certain characters, not caring about the ones we did follow until the end, and still not quite knowing what exactly happened. This plot line just felt cluttered and all over the place. It was also slow paced and very repetitive.
But here’s what the author did that I liked:
-They perfectly captured what it’s like to feel like something is lurking in the dark behind you, just to discover nothing is there when you turn around.
-The sister relationship in this story infuriated me because one second they would be getting along and the next they would be fighting...but then I realized...that’s exactly how siblings are. I would have much rather had the entirety of the book focus on this rather than the romantic relationship that did occur.
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I was pleasantly pleased with this book. Where the Briars Sleep is an eerie ghost story set in the nineteenth century, perfect for those craving a gothic or classic ghost story read. I didn't really become fully invested in this story until around the halfway mark but after that I was hooked. 

Just like many gothic stories, the scare factor lies more in the atmosphere created, the uneasiness, the building of dread and tension and the overall tone of the book but there were some genuine chilling moments throughout. One particular scene touched on a very real fear of mine and had me feeling extremely claustrophobic whilst reading it. 

I found the imagery to be quite haunting and beautiful. Emma Beaven created some truly gorgeous scenes, particularly of the landscapes and home. Complex family dynamics are also a focus in this book, making for compelling reading.

I did feel there were some plot holes and certain aspects were not fully explained to my liking but overall it was an enjoyable read. A wonderful debut novel too I might add.
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Where the Briars Sleep was a atmospherically a classic gothic novel. The narrator was suitably unreliable, and it left the reader (me) constantly confused about what was happening. The MCs fear might have seemed simple, but it was the supposedly benign nature of the things that made her scared that had the story so horrifying. Even after finishing it, I couldn't tell if the MC was her own ghost story all along, or if it happened along the way.
While it made me suitably uncomfortable, I had hoped for a little more lavish and atmospheric description; there was a lot of focus on the character reactions to the world, but no immersion of the world itself, and I would have enjoyed it a little more.
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True rating is a 3.5, but I rounded it up to 4 as Goodreads doesn't do half stars. 

This was a fun read, although I will admit it did start to feel overly long towards the end. There's a twist about halfway through that I didn't expect at all, and I was curious enough to keep reading to unravel the mysteries that were presented. While I do feel satisfied with the ending, especially the ramping up of the horror elements, I did feel that it got a bit messy and some things weren't fully answered or hinted at enough. 

Still a decent read, although it does have a bit of an "overwrought gothic horror" vibe to it... which isn't necessarily a bad thing! It sort of reminded me in tone of some of the old Hammer Horror movies. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!
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Very slow paced gothic horror novel. I don't think I enjoyed the writing style but as a whole, the story kept me interested. 

There were a lot of unnecessary details about attire that I felt could have been edited down but It as the wardrobe was the pivotal piece of the story, I see why such details were included. 

Still - 1/2 page 'chapters' do nothing more than annoy me. 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read this book.
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Thank you to Tangled Tree Publishing and Netgalley for an ARC of this novel.
“Where the Briars Sleep” will be released on July 17, 2021

Summary: In this early nineteenth-century gothic ghost story, Rose Shedd discovers something is stalking her, something unseen and filled with rage, something that demands recompense, and Rose’s life, the life of her sister, and the remnants of her family depend on memories she has forced herself to forget.

As someone who really enjoys gothic horror, I was excited to read this; however, I think the summary and the premise was more interesting than the story in action. The overly descriptive sentences detailing what the sisters were wearing, the super short chapters (about 80 chapters over around 400 pages), which I usually don’t mind, but the constant break-ups seemed unnecessary and tended to break my reading flow.

However, I will say that when Beaven dips deep into the gothic horror moments, they’re done well. Unfortunately, for me they were too far in-between, and I ended up focusing more on which sister’s point-of-view I was in; as tense shifts sometimes would occur within chapters and with so many feminine pronouns, I got confused a bit as to whose mind I was in.

Overall, this one did not work for me, but Beaven definitely has potential to make a great gothic novel. I think this one would’ve benefited from some combining of chapters and sticking to one POV.

2/5
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I’m always a sucker for a gothic horror story, but it’s been a long while since I’ve read one I enjoyed as much as this. I’ve been reading horror almost exclusively for nearly 25 years and few novels have given me the spooks and shivers like this one. The descriptions are beautiful and haunting, the atmosphere is both grim and charming, and you can feel the stifling horror rising in every chapter. Even better, though it’s difficult to stick the landing with gothic tales, I think Beaven concluded this story wonderfully and I find myself delighted to have read a really good ghost story. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Rose Shedd and her sister Maggie share a bedroom with a wardrobe that scares them. For good reason. 

This book is a quick and easy read.  The chapters are very short.  I liked the book but didn’t love it.  It was disjointed in spots and not everything that would make the story mesh was shared by the main character.
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Thank you so much to Xpresso Book Tours, Tangled Tree Publishing, and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC; it is greatly appreciated. 

I am always interested in a good gothic horror, so this book seemed right up my alley, especially since it seemed like it had that "vengeful ghost" angle. However, this didn't end up living up to my expectations, and was more confusing than frightening.  

Firstly, this book is setup a bit different than your average novel. There are 79 chapters (80 if you count the one chapter with a name instead of a number) with most chapters being 2-3 pages long, but some as short as half a page. Throughout the first several chapters I found it difficult to tell which sister's head I was in. I got mixed up several times until I got used to the writing style and could differentiate between the two characters better. 

As with most gothic horror this is definitely a slow-paced read, but it went beyond that to also being quite repetitive. The amount of times that a quiet dinner is described in extravagent detail is far too often to the point that I believe it's the most common event in the book. Details such as this, getting dressed, sitting in the parlor, etc, are described over and over again to where I just wanted to skim to get to something interesting. 

I don't believe the writing style is for me either. There were several instances where the next sentence contradicted the previous, or seemed very over-dramatic for what was happening. For example, talking about how much cooler the temperature is, and then immediately after saying how stifled they feel in the heat. 

From the very beginning of the story I was confused on what was going on. I understood that more would be revealed as the story progressed, but after finishing the book I am still very unsure of what happened, or is happening. Our main character, Rose, knows something that she even refuses to share with the reader. We get little tidbits here and there, but it feels like too little for how long the book is. 

The book reiterates several times how Rose and her sister, Maggie, have always been together and close. They even share a bedroom even though they live on a large estate with at least four servants. With all of that I really don't understand why they never just talk to each other ? It just seems odd to watch each other suffer. 

In the end I'm finishing this book without feeling like there was much of a payoff. I usually enjoy endings where I'm questioning everything, but I really don't understand enough to get any enjoyment out of it. Because of this I also didn't feel much tension throughout the story, and the scares were lackluster, and not near as in depth as the more mundane descriptions are.
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The promise of a historical gothic ghost story had me all in...unfortunately it didn't live up to my expectations. The prose came off as confusing and sometimes head-hopping, the characters fell flat, and everything was overly dramatic without knowing why. When we did find out some of the history to explain the main character's past,  it came as large, whole chapter info dumps rather than being woven in. The overall effect was less mysterious and more boring. Much of the time I was rolling at my eyes at the silly conversations and how characters were giggling/snorting/smiling when it didn't seem called for.
I kept trying to love it, but finally gave up by page 140.
Too bad, I had high hopes for this one.
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Did not finish. Could not keep my attention. Was not for me. Was trying to get into it, but no such luck.
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Debutants meet a scary wardrobe with a sinister past

Too much detail on what the girls are wearing. Everything is muslin, and you better not wear ribbons that will clash with your hair color. 

Is this Gone with the Wind meets Pride and Prejudice, and is somehow supposed to be Horror? I’m not scared. 

SPOILERS
Some questions: Why sleep in a room with a scary piece of furniture? The ‘heroine’ could simply ask a servant to move the wardrobe somewhere else, but instead waits to ask her father to come back home, who then asks a servant to move it. As if there haven’t been servants around the house the entire time.
Although, when the ‘heroine’ sleepwalked her way to the wardrobe’s new room, I was a bit intrigued.  But that didn’t last long, because the story drags on and on.

The headaches and overall ridiculousness is a bit much for my taste.
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Alright, I wanted to like this book, but I have a fatal flaw. I am a mood reader. So I went into this not in the mood for this book. But besides this fact I did think that this book was well written and nicely paced. I would recommend this book to my friends that like and are interested in horror with a dash of romance.  The ending was very fulfilling and satisfying to read.


Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for the chance to read this in exchange for an honest review
#Where the Briars Sleep #NetGalley
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