Cover Image: Beneath the Stairs

Beneath the Stairs

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Member Reviews

"In this spine-tingling, atmospheric "nail-biter of a novel" (Shelf Awareness), a woman returns to her hometown after her childhood friend attempts suicide at an alleged haunted house - the same place where a traumatic incident shattered their lives twenty years ago. Few in sleepy Sumner's Mills have stumbled across the Octagon House hidden deep in the woods. Even fewer are brave enough to trespass. A man had killed his wife and two young daughters there, a shocking, gruesome crime that the sleepy upstate New York town tried to bury. One summer night, an emboldened fourteen-year-old Clare and her best friend, Abby, ventured into the Octagon House. Clare came out, but a piece of Abby never did. Twenty years later, Clare receives word that Abby has attempted suicide at the Octagon House and now lies in a coma. With little to lose, Clare returns to her roots to uncover the darkness responsible for ruining their lives. A "spellbinding horror story, where the terror comes not from ghosts, but from the haunted places we find within ourselves" (Elizabeth Brundage, author of The Vanishing Point), Beneath the Stairs is perfect for fans of Jennifer McMahon, Simone St. James, and Chris Bohjalian."

I mean, I get tingles up and down my spine just at the name of the house, Octagon House!

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The book is skillfully divided into three timelines, introducing characters dealing with traumatic experiences. The main character returns to her hometown in the present day to confront her past and solve the mystery of the haunted octagon house. The story is well-developed, merging psychological and paranormal elements to create a thrilling experience for the reader. The ending is fair for the characters and emphasizes the emotional depth of their friendships. Overall, the book is a great read for those who enjoy psychological and paranormal thrillers.

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Beneath the Stairs...

As a kid, my brother and I had this secret little spot under the stairs we used to hide in, together we were ok, alone... it was terrifying.

A title like this had my interest peeked and reminiscent of my younger years and the things that transpired under our own stairs. I knew without a doubt, I needed to know more.

I went into this one blind, I read the synopsis when I chose it, but didn't reread it when I picked it up to start and I am so happy I didn't.

Every twist was unexpected and felt like an explosion. I gasped, I held my breath, the hair on my arms raised.

Jennifer Fawcett is a magician when it comes to orchestrating a perfectly narrated thriller.

Check out this teaser (or don't) and be just as surprised as I was :

Few in sleepy Sumner’s Mills have stumbled across the Octagon House hidden deep in the woods. Even fewer are brave enough to trespass. A man had killed his wife and two young daughters there, a shocking, gruesome crime that the sleepy upstate New York town tried to bury. One summer night, an emboldened fourteen-year-old Clare and her best friend, Abby, ventured into the Octagon House. Clare came out, but a piece of Abby never did.

Twenty years later, Clare receives word that Abby has attempted suicide at the Octagon House and now lies in a coma. With little to lose, Clare returns to her roots to uncover the darkness responsible for ruining their lives.

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Since this was already out when I got it, it took a while to get to it. It just wasn’t for me. I couldn’t connect to the story.

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Loved the writing style and the plot, pretty interesting and fast paced. I wish we could have gotten more about the background of the Octagon house and more chapters about the supernatural elements. Also, loved the way the scary scenes were written, I just was left reeling for more. But I’d definitely recommend to readers who like to read spooky stories with the spooky factor dialed down a bit.

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A fabulous horror slow-burn! This was well written, well-paced, and creepy as hell without being over the top gory or reliant on jump scares. With a satisfying conclusion, this book was summed up perfectly by a fellow reviewer: “[the book] hurts you and scares you and holds you, but then lets you go.”

I would absolutely read from this author again.

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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this eARC.

An exciting mystery and a great page turner by Jennifer Fawcett, Under The Stairs will quickly wrap you in its spell and hold onto you until the last word.

Clever premise, tied to the past and to childhood friendships.

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This book had such a good creep factor to it. I read this in one sitting! Absolutely would recommend! Thank you @netgalley and to the publisher for allowing me to read this ebook!

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This is one of those books I should have DNFed. Three-fourths of the book was dreadfully slow and the last pages were it picked up had no horror or “ghost thriller” feel. The book was also repetitive at times.

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One of my favorite bookstagrammers read this and loved it so when I saw it on NetGalley I instantly needed to request it. It was kind of slow in the beginning but once you hit the 70% mark it really picks up. This easily could’ve been at least 75 pages shorter. But the setting was there and I was immersed enough to enjoy.

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I struggled to get into this book for the first few chapters. I kept thinking that the idea
For the story was such a good one that I just needed to give the author time to get where she was going.
I’m glad I stuck with it because I definitely became invested in figuring out the mystery of the Octagon House. A nice spooky read full of friendship, romance and a few scares!

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n Fawcett's debut novel, my initial impression persisted for the first two-thirds: the narrative spans FOUR timelines concurrently, featuring Clare in the present, Clare at 14, and two prior timelines delving into the backstory of Octagon House. While the abundance of timelines isn't inherently problematic, it felt overwhelming. Juggling the who, where, and why of Fawcett's exploration became a bit taxing. Although intrigued by the backstory, I found myself wishing for a more streamlined approach, perhaps relegating some past storylines to newspaper articles or magazine clippings, leaving room for imagination.

Setting aside this complexity, the novel's atmosphere intensifies rapidly, with The Octagon House itself serving as a eerie character. Additionally, a couple of subplots unfold, capturing my interest more significantly by the 75% mark compared to the initial stages.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for sending a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Wow, I was so involved in this creepy mystery and could not wait to see which turn the story took next! I loved how the setting was described, along with the character development and details about the past events. This was a great thriller that I have recommended to others and that has stuck with me long after finishing!

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Decent story that I listened to as an audiobook. The development of getting to know the main character was well-done. I was intrigued to keep wanting to know more and more of what happened and rooting for a satisfying conclusion. It did have some "ghostly" spookiness, but the main source of haunting is more about how we process events in our own minds. The ending did leave me a bit unsatisfied with wanting more of a solid resolution, but overall kept my interest throughout.

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I enjoyed this, it had a good building up of creepy atmosphere and I love an atmospheric story. It did take me a little while to get into the story, the beginning was not bad just not immediately gripping.

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Oh man I FINALLY read this one! This was probably one of the first physical #arcs I received when I started my #bookstagram in 2021. Atria books was kind enough to send me a copy and I’m sooooo sorry it took me this long to finally read and review! I guess that’s the life of a #moodreader 🤣.

This is a telling of a haunted house in the middle of the woods. Generation after generation kids dare each other to go into the house where a man killed his wife and two kids. Some are unaffected by this hauntings and others… never come out the same.

One thing I thought was very well done in this book was giving the house a multiple generational story line and you get pieces of each story through out the book.

Available as a read now on @netgalley if you love a good haunted house read!

Perfect for those who like Wendy Webb or London Clarke and vice versa.

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I'm back on a bit of a horror kick this fall - there's nothing scarier than when the weather gets cold, am I right? This was a nice take on a haunted house tale, with an intriguing mystery threaded throughout. I'm head-tilty about the choice of relationships to revisit here though. I really liked the old romance reigniting, but the lack of parental inclusion was to the story's detriment I think, especially given that it hinged on a parent just leaving a house unsold for the narrator to conveniently come back to - like okay, must be nice to be able to just leave a property vacant when you go buy a new one? Otherwise the POV switches and pacing were all really well done, with a real sense of weaving a tapestry that comes together nicely to resolve the central mystery.

I'm still a little baffled by the lack of genuine resolution with the Abby situation - like we really just never get to hear what happened to her when she went to the house?! I would have liked for her to have more of a presence in the current timeline given the weight of their friendship in the narrative, especially given how well the friendship was portrayed between Clare and Lori. This unsatisfying element of the ending made this more of a 3.5 star read but I'll round it up because this was otherwise an enjoyably atmospheric page-turner.

My thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for the ARC.

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Hook! Line! … But no sinker for me

I was hooked the entire book. Until the end. It just left me feeling like I didn’t get the closure I needed. I’d definitely say it’s worth the read, but just be warned: You may feel a little lacking when it’s over.

Thank you so much Atria Books, Jennifer Fawcett, and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read and honestly review this book.

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This. Book. Was. SO. CREEPY!

Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better read for October. This was a very atmospheric, spooky read that genuinely freaked me out. There’s something about a creepy, abandoned house that just chills me to the bone, and Fawcett tapped into that vibe perfectly. I really loved all of the different storylines that were interwoven through the book, and I felt like the anticipation of seeing how they’d all come together really added to the suspense. My only issue was that the ending felt rushed to me, and I’m not always a fan of open, ambiguous endings (although it did sort of fit here). Overall, this was a great debut, perfect for moody fall reading!

Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for the free digital ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions presented here are my own.

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Read if you like:
👻 Spooky Vibes
#️⃣ Multiple POV
⏳ Alternating Timelines
🏠 Haunted Houses

If you like spooky vibes that are sure to give you the creeps, this book is for you!

This book follows a story starting from 1988 when Claire, Abby, and Lori enter a creepy house, but then we get 4 different timelines as well.

The house is the site of a reported murder where a man killed his wife and daughter.

If you want a creepy haunted house thriller with all the reveals and twists! I highly recommend this one!

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