Cover Image: The Cruel Dark

The Cruel Dark

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Netgalley the Publisher, of Northwick Books, and the author Bea Northwick for providing and allowing me to review this book. Which, I'm giving my honest and sincere review.


"Reading 'The Cruel Dark' by Bea Northwick was like stepping into a time machine, whisking me away to the enigmatic world of Millicent Foxboro in the year 1928. Millicent's haunting past and uncertain future immediately drew me in, setting the stage for a mesmerizing tale of secrets and shadows.

Millicent, haunted not by ghosts but by the anguish of her own history, seizes an opportunity for stability when she lands an assistantship to the reclusive Professor Callum Hughes. Little did she know, the once-magnificent estate of Willowfield, with its crumbling beginning and bitter memories, would become her new reality.

As Millicent delved deeper into the mysteries surrounding Professor Hughes and his world of flowers and folklore, I found myself captivated by the palpable tension between them. The professor's grim demeanor and hungry eyes ignited dormant passions within Millicent, while the secrets lurking within Willowfield threatened to unravel her own.

Bea Northwick's evocative prose transported me to a bygone era, where romance, mystery, and intrigue intertwine amidst the fading grandeur of a once-glorious estate. With each twist and turn, 'The Cruel Dark' kept me on the edge of my seat, eagerly unraveling the threads of its spellbinding narrative.

This book not only captured my imagination but also left me yearning for more. I eagerly await the next installment in Millicent's journey, eager to uncover the secrets that lie hidden in the shadows of Willowfield."

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This was an interesting read. I liked the complexity of the characters and how mesmerizing they were along with the storyline and the plot. The world building had me captivated from the very beginning and the suspense of the story along with the darker elements went along so well!

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I loved the Gothic Vibes of this book. I was so excited for the one and it did not disappoint! I can't wait until Book 2 comes out!

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The story follows Millicent Foxboro, a woman who’s spent two months in a mental ward for traumatic amnesia.

An unlikely opportunity arises to go and work for a Professor of Mythology Callum Hughes and help as his research assistant. He's intense and mysterious, and not all is what it seems at the Willowfield estate.

The book was perfectly spooky and haunting, just the right amount of mystery and Slow Burn 🔥 the twists in this book honestly had me gasping and the ending was perfection.

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The epitome of a gothic romance! My jaw is on the floor! I loved this book! This is an absolutely fantastic debut for the author. The characters are complex and the writing is fantastic. I did not expect the twists and turns to turn out the way they did. Or I simply overlooked them with how enthralled in the story I was. I cried, I laughed, and I fell in love with these characters. 5 star read for me!

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Prepare yourselves because this was... I N C R E D I B L E

Millicent Foxboro is haunted by her past, it's 1928, and at 26 years old, she's determined to make a new future for herself, far from her tragic past. So when she's recruited for an assistantship to reclusive, bookish, and broody widowed Professor Hughes, she feels herself finally going up in the world, using her vast knowledge and fascination for mythology to her advantage. However, Professor Hughes is unpredictable, severe and passionate, and Millie is unsure quite how to take him, and his erratic, volatile moods, but even more bizarre is the once magnificent mansion he resides in. Willowfield once thrived, consistently full of people, parties and joy, now however, it's decrepit and run down, the manor has become a ghost of what it once was. Rumours have been circulating that it's haunted, and Millie finds herself thrust into a place overflowing with memories and secrets, with a perpetually eerie vibe that burrows it's claws deep into her very being.

If you like your stories gothic and disquieting, then you need to add this to your tbr.. right now!

Millicent Foxboro has desperately tried to escape her past, losing both her parents, and forever feeling like a burden, after spending two months in a psychiatric ward for traumatic amnesia, she's more determined than ever to create a better future for herself. Millie is a beautiful, intelligent, and fierce young woman, who is not easily spooked, and perpetually curious, I adored her sharp tongue, and her unwavering bravery.

Callum Hughes is the definition of tall, dark, broody and handsome. A bookish, impassioned, and intense man, whose struggling with his own grief. He has a hidden passionate, and deliciously dark side to him that was utterly GIDDYING to watch unfold, especially when it came to Millie, he had me shook to my core, and a puddle on the floor.

The angst and tension was intoxicating, and had me kicking my feet, and squealing. The chemistry build up was written exceptionally, the relationship felt organic, and real. I live for their bickering, battling each other with not only their wits but the lust they feel that drives them together time and time again, it's honestly one of the best romances I've ever read.

'The Cruel Dark' is a gothic, eerie, and thoroughly compelling story that had me glued to the pages. It gave major Haunting of Bly Manor vibes, and I'm HERE. FOR. IT. . The plot was twisty and enthralling, and the tension between the main characters was electrifying, and completely thrilling. You're never quite sure where the plot will take you next, my jaw was on the floor near the end, it switched up so quickly, I was flabbergasted...

If you're looking for your next gothic fantasy obsession, that's gorgeously crafted, seamlessly immersive, with sinister undertones, and explores some poignant themes including grief, and mental health, in a beautiful, empathetic way, then look no further. I can't recommend this book enough, it completely blew me away.

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If you took different aspects of The Haunting of Hill House, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, and the movie Crimson Peak, mixed them in a blender- you would get this book. And I was absolutely here for it!!! This may be the best read I have had all year. And it had a happy ending that I did not expect! It was so creepy and atmospheric, but hopeful and romantic at the same time. I literally read it in one sitting.

Millicent Foxboro, also called Millie, is our female protagonist. She is plagued by memories of family trauma and is missing several years of her life in memories. She takes an assignment, for the enigmatic Professor Callum, as his assistant. Her job is to organize notes for the book that he has been writing on Celtic folklore. Callum is a mysterious dude, who runs hot and cold. Millie is simultaneously drawn to him, and annoyed by him. The slow burn between them is everything and the tension is chef's kiss👌.

The setting is also very integral to the story and was perfect. Willowfield is a crumbling, sprawling, manor. Strange phenomena start to appear to Mille. The creepy "ghost" who looked exactly like her, scuttling around like a crab, really got me. The inclusion of Celtic folklore really added another dimension to the story. I also really liked the time period and dress of the characters. Very glam- 1928. This was a 5 star read for me, and should definitely be added to you TBR if you are a fan of historical gothic romance.

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I didnt get a chance to leave a full review before the publication date, however I did read this one and gave it 3 stars

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What an intoxicating gothic mystery! Every moment will have your head spinning in every which way from the ghost to the whirl wind romance. Definitely recommend for romance readers who love a little bit of a spooky vibe with enchanting prose.

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UM. WOW!!!!!

The tension and the smut OH MY GODS🥵😍

I wasn't sure what I was getting into reading this one as such as I don't really read blurbs so I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this! It was a fantastic book, it was extremely well written and the plot had me HOOKED! I did NOT expect the twist that came whatsoever, it completely blew me away!!

Highly recommend this one!

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The Cruel Dark by Bea Northwick is a historical gothic romance filled with secrets, ghosts, and unexpected twists. Set in the 1920s, the story follows Millie, who finds herself working for the wealthy and mysterious Professor Callum in a spooky mansion. As she uncovers the dark history of the house, secrets unravel, and the line between reality and myth blurs.

Northwick's storytelling is atmospheric and immersive, drawing readers into a world of suspense and mystery. The relationship between Millie and Callum is complex and adds depth to the narrative, keeping readers engaged until the final page.

While the pacing may feel slow at times, and some parts of the plot may be predictable, the novel's rich historical setting and compelling characters make it a captivating read for fans of gothic romance.

Overall, The Cruel Dark is a haunting and atmospheric novel that will appeal to readers who enjoy a blend of historical fiction, mystery, and romance.

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Quick, short read, perfect as a palate cleanser in between books with a pinch of Crimson Peak for those who like it. Pretty solid for a debut, starts off a little slow for a book of this length but quickly picks up pace. The plot is interesting and well done, but this book's biggest strength to me were the interesting characters.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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This book started out kind of interesting but sadly it became really confusing and just lost my interest. I ended up DNFing this one around 15% or 20% It was just not for me.

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"The Cruel Dark" by Bea Northwick delves into the depths of human resilience and the haunting aftermath of tragedy. Northwick's prose is hauntingly beautiful, capturing the raw emotions of grief and loss with exquisite detail. The story unfolds with a quiet intensity, drawing readers into the lives of its characters as they navigate the complexities of survival and redemption. While the subject matter may be heavy, Northwick's deft storytelling and vivid imagery make "The Cruel Dark" a compelling and ultimately hopeful read.

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I recently had the pleasure of delving into this book, and I am beyond impressed with the mesmerizing world that the author has crafted. From start to finish, the intricate plot weaves a tapestry of suspense, emotion, and unexpected twists that kept me eagerly turning the pages.

One of the standout features of this book is undoubtedly its characters. Each one is meticulously developed, breathing life into the narrative with their unique personalities, motivations, and flaws. The protagonists are not just names on paper; they are relatable, complex individuals with whom readers can form a genuine connection. The antagonist, too, is not a mere foil but a multi-dimensional force that adds depth to the story. The author's ability to create such well-rounded characters is a testament to their storytelling prowess.

The plot unfolds seamlessly, drawing the reader into a richly layered narrative that expertly balances tension, drama, and moments of poignant reflection. The pacing is impeccable, maintaining a perfect rhythm that keeps the reader engaged without sacrificing the depth of the story. The author skillfully navigates through various plot arcs, interweaving them with finesse to create a cohesive and satisfying whole.

What sets this book apart is its ability to tackle profound themes while maintaining an accessible and engaging narrative. The book seamlessly combines suspense and emotional depth, making it a truly immersive experience. The author's prose is both elegant and evocative, painting vivid imagery that lingers in the reader's mind long after the final page is turned.

As I reached the conclusion, I found myself yearning for more from this talented author. Their ability to craft a gripping plot and bring characters to life is truly commendable. I eagerly anticipate future works and would wholeheartedly recommend this book to any reader who appreciates a masterfully told tale. If you're searching for a book that seamlessly blends captivating characters with a compelling plot, this is a shining example. I can't wait to explore more literary worlds crafted by this exceptional storyteller.

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The Cruel Dark

⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Cruel Dark
Bea Northwick

“Strange things bloom where grief lives.”

THIS NEEDS TO BE A MOVIE. 🤷‍♀️

Honestly though. I was not prepared for how this ended. Like I am still SHOOK.

Spooky/ghostly/psychological thriller.
It was fantastic!!!!

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As someone who doesn't read much historical fiction or romance, the dark side of this story is what piqued my interest, and I'm glad it did!

I had a hard time putting this one down. The characters were likeable but also had enough hidden that I had to keep reading to uncover their secrets.

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I was SHOCKED that this is a debut novel AND that it is not being talked about more.
The major twist was a little predictable but honestly, who cares. This was such a good read.
With dark, gothic books having their moment they are feeling a little redundant but this book does it right. The romance was also well intertwined with the story, it was a good plot point but wasn't the only plot point.
I'm very interested what more this author will put out, definitely one to watch.

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The Cruel Dark by Bea Northwick. The first thing you need to know about this book is that there is so much shagging in it. These two are at it quite literally all of the time. I’m pleased for them, really pleased but I’m not entirely sure why they needed to do it so often. Millie has lost a couple of years of her life and takes a job with a professor in his creepy house and then she starts going mad, in between shagging sessions obviously. I think the idea of this was really good and the plot twist was interesting but it feels like this book was written without an ending and then Bea went shit I have to think of one. I think a lot wasn’t tied together at the end and it’s a nice ending but it felt rushed and a bit messy. My take away from this is don’t accept drinks from strangers.

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Ich habe es leider nur geschafft ein Drittel des Buches zu lesen, bevor es archiviert wurde, war aber sehr begeistert von dem Drittel! Ein spannender Einstieg in die Geschichte!

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