Cover Image: The Cruel Dark

The Cruel Dark

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Member Reviews

Okay, I know that The Cruel Dark has been out since Halloween, but I’ve known about it quite a bit even before then because one of Bea Northwick’s teaser posts showed up on my Instagram feed and I very much liked what I saw! So I followed her, saved the post so I wouldn’t forget about it, and while I didn’t pick it up until just now, it’s never really left my mind completely. What can I say? I love gothic-type romances.

Anyway, I’m hoping to read more books on my TBR this year instead of just checking out the Discover section of my kindle, so I was looking through my books and I’d clicked on a few that I just wasn’t in the mood for at the moment and then something made me think of The Cruel Dark. I would say that I read a preview before deciding to read it, but I think I only read the first sentence before I was fully on board with it. I know you might think it was kind of silly to even bother with the preview at all since I decided pretty much immediately to read it, thereby making it seemingly useless, but I just prefer to look at samples because I have my settings to recent and it takes me back to the beginning whenever I open a book, so it just saves time to do it that way. The important thing is that The Cruel Dark got my attention and held it the whole time — I absolutely loved this book!

It didn’t have the same gothic atmosphere like the kind of 1800s settings that I’m used to reading, but it did definitely have a gothic feel and oh my gosh, there were a couple of scenes that even scared/creeped me out! Granted the first time it happened was when I was reading in the dark right before bed, but yeah, I had to turn on my phone light before I could fall asleep. So kudos to Bea Northwick, she really got that gothic, spooky vibe down! That was seriously amazing, she didn’t get me with the mystery(ies), but that wasn’t a negative at all because I love when I figure things out and it was still a very compelling journey to get to all the revelations and when we did get them, they were intense and gripping.

The Cruel Dark was just really amazing! I had had to stop for a period of time when I got to 74 percent, but once I resumed, I could not tear myself away. This was such an exciting read, it was steamy and if you’re someone who doesn’t gravitate towards historicals as often because you prefer a modern setting with a somewhat rough hero, I think this book will be perfect for you. Though I will say that while Callum is little rough and broody, he can also be gentle, compassionate, and sweet to Millie. It’s so obvious that he’s completely gone for her and I just loved their relationship. But Millie was no slouch, she was so strong and brave and smart — I loved them both so much! I completely adored this book and I can’t wait to read more from Bea Northwick!

~ Sonja, 5 Stars

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This was so freaking spooky 😂 I had to keep closing the book cause I was reading at night and getting spooked. The writing was lyrical. Made me look for other books with this vibe.

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This was so entertaining and good i had such a great time reading this
If you’re in the mood for something moody then this book is definitely for you
Thank you netgalley for the arc🫶🏻

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Sorry for the delay in reviewing this; I have found this a really tricky book to pin down. Firstly, and most importantly, I enjoyed reading this book. I loved the gothic atmosphere which built up so well in the first half of the book. I debated whether it was going to be more like this book or that book which I had read before, and ultimately I was delighted to discover it was its very own story. There is a turning point around halfway as the romantic story takes prominence. I found some of this a bit jarring but I can see some other reviewers preferred this part of the story. The plot twists and turns with plenty of red herrings to keep you guessing. It left me thinking about it afterwards but some of it didn’t quite add up, which I found a little disappointing, though perhaps I missed something. 3.5 stars, rounded up because I enjoyed it despite that.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read an ARC.

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This dark gothic horror romance has an incredibly interesting plot with a complex FMC named Millie. She suffers from amnesia following the traumatic deaths of her parents, and she struggles to find work as a result of being discharged from the hospital. (And it’s 1928) The author did a great job in incorporating spice, mystery, and darkness into this book. It was a quick read that kept me wanting more from this author! I will definitely be reading pretty much anything Bea Northwick writes going forward.

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This book was really good! So when I signed up to read this arc, all I saw was gothic romance and I was sold. But what I didn’t expect was all the edge of my seat suspense! I was hooked from the beginning and absolutely loved all the mystery!

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The Cruel Dark by Bea Northwick

Dark, grim, gothic romance reminiscent of Laura and Jayne Eyre ~ a compelling riveting read!

What I liked:
* The plot, pacing, setting, atmosphere, and writing
* Millicent Foxboro: strong, survivor, abused as a child, hard worker, has a bit of a temper, drawn to her new employer, amnesic memory of several years of her life, learns a lot and comes out stronger by the end of the book
* Callum Hughes: wealthy, professor, business owner, loving husband who lost his wife tragically, passionate, drawn to Millicent, works hard, dedicated to what he believes in, intriguing and deserving of happiness
* Dr. Hannigan: friend of Callum’s father and of Callum’s, intelligent, caring, capable, healer, cares about his patients, may be in love with Ms. Dillard
* Ms. Dillard: Willowfield’s housekeeper, capable, more than what she first appears to be, ended up quite liking her
* Being drawn into the story and liking the characters while I hoped that it would all work out for the good ones…eventually
* The fairy tale elements…loved fairy tales and still do
* The plot twists and turns and how all the threads finally were woven together at the end of the book

What I didn’t like:
* Who and what I was meant not to like
* Millie’s abusive mother and rather weak father along with all that she suffered as a child and later

Did I like this book? Yes
Would I read more by this author? Yes

Thank you to NetGalley and Northwick Books for the ARC – This is my honest review.

4-5 Stars

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Thank you NetGalley for the eArc copy of this book for an honest review!

I'm soo glad I got to read this book! That's it. That's all. It was soo soo good. I'm currently in my spooky fantasy era and I'm living for it.

I wasn't sure what to expect going in. Having read a fair few gothic books this year, I had my bar set high and Bea Northwick did not disappoint. Poor Millie didn't know what she was getting herself into, but my gosh did it lead to some interesting discoveries.

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4.5 Stars Rounded Up

Woah! I read this one in a single sitting! It has historical, gothic vibes similar to Jane Eyre and Rebecca with beautiful prose, a little spice, and an intriguing storyline. I guessed one of the twists (only one though) but the story was so engaging that I started doubting myself. You will enjoy this book if you enjoy dark, gothic mysteries and romance!

Thank you, NetGalley for an opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Bea Northwick was a new author for me, and this book sounded interesting and compellingly gothic – a mix of Rebecca by Du Maurier and Jane Eyre by Bronte.

Millicent Foxboro is struggling. She can’t remember four years of her life. She has been working for a bookseller when the opportunity comes to go to the estate of widowed Professor Callum Hughes and translate and scribe his notes. The house is falling apart, and the professor’s deceased wife’s influence is everywhere. Secrets sinister and sensual abound and Millie struggles to know who to trust to help her find the truth.

The writing was quite good and atmospheric, and the mystery was well-crafted. I thought the premise clever. However, I was expecting more of a romantic suspense, but the strong language and steamy scenes seemed out of character with the tone of the story and the author’s writing. I am not opposed to language or spicy scenes, but these were so incongruous that it spoiled the story for me a little bit.

A strong debut, nonetheless. I would recommend it to library patrons but not for those seeking a gentler read. 3.5 stars.

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I really liked the writing. Great gothic romance, everything a fan of the genre would want, with refreshing twists thrown in.

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I loved this book set in the 1920s. Millie takes a job as an assistant for a wealthy professor. He lives in a run-down mansion that's very gothic and dark. Millie is drawn to him and he tries to resist but cannot. Then, Millie starts hearing things wailing at night and seeing apparitions of a woman. Is she crazy or does the Professor have something he's hiding.

I wasn't expecting any of these plot twist. It was so damn good and the romance/spice was unexpectedly good as well.

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Bea Northwick's "The Cruel Dark" is a mesmerizing journey into the heart of gothic historical romance, where passion intertwines with eerie themes to create a hauntingly beautiful narrative. Set against a backdrop of mystery and intrigue, Northwick weaves a tale that transports readers to a bygone era, blending the allure of romance with the chill of the unknown.

The narrative unfolds in a richly detailed historical setting, immersing readers in the atmospheric world of 19th-century England. The author's meticulous attention to detail brings the era to life, capturing the essence of the time while establishing an eerie ambiance that permeates every page. The dark and brooding backdrop serves as the perfect canvas for the unfolding romance, adding depth and complexity to the characters' experiences. Just sooooo good!! Chef kiss.

At the heart of the story is a compelling cast of characters, each with their own secrets and desires. The protagonist's journey is marked by a sense of vulnerability that resonates with readers, making her struggles and triumphs all the more captivating. Northwick skillfully develops the relationships, creating a magnetic pull between characters that mirrors the tension between the gothic and romantic elements of the plot.

The romance in "The Cruel Dark" is both intoxicating and poignant. Northwick seamlessly integrates moments of passion with a palpable sense of foreboding, keeping readers on the edge of their seats. The chemistry between the characters is electric, adding an extra layer of intensity to the unfolding drama. The author navigates the complexities of love in the face of adversity, making the romantic elements of the story as gripping as the mysterious undertones

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This book guys. It absolutely blew my mind. I was starting to feel Millie’s pain on not knowing what was happening or who to trust. And when everything is revealed in the end I was mind blown!

Millie wakes up in a mental hospital and has lost years of her memories. When she receives an invitation to work for a reclusive professor she jumps at the chance. She moves into his haunted mansion and things get wild. Seriously, I can’t say much without ruining the story but I will say - it gets spicy and very intense! This was my first gothic romance and I loved it! The 1920s setting was perfect and spooky! I truly wasn’t sure how it was going to end but the ending is so so good! I love my romance with a little mystery so this was exactly how I needed to end October!

One of my favorite books of the month and I can't wait for the next book!

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I had a hard time finishing this book I did not love it, but I think it’s because I couldn’t relate to it or the characters I know a lot of people who recommend this, so definitely give it a chance if you’re interested in this type of book. Three stars!

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Fantastic prose, I really enjoyed this book. It was very well written, and the romance was incredible. I enjoyed the gothic atmosphere as well.

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I cannot put into words how this “debut” novel made me feel! I feel as if the author has been writing forever and she will always be a “purchase now” for me.

Steam, SPICE, Gothic setting … it has it all.

I could relate in the aspect that the main character is an assistant sorting through manuscripts. The grief that consumes you, the love that blooms within it. It’s a story that can that show you love can grow in the darkest of places.

I am still in awe of this perfection. I want to read it again and again.

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thank you to netgalley for the advanced reading copy. I really enjoyed this and will be getting copies for my shop.

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A Gothic romance that I can't wait to own! Such an engrossing setting and an interesting plot with characters I can't stop thinking about. A definite win! So happy I came across it.

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There's potential and the plot is well developed. It's not my cup of tea as it reminded me of other gothic novel I read and I felt a bit deja vue.
Not my cup of tea but I think a lot of people will like it
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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