Cover Image: The Cruel Dark

The Cruel Dark

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Member Reviews

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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This books keeps you guessing until last chapters, when we finally after a crazy twist we find out more.

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First off, I’d like to thank NetGalley for letting me read this book early, and thank Bea Northwick for writing this!

Second; wow! This book was very good, mwah! I loved it a lot; it was certainly more of a historical mystery with a little bit of romance, so if anything, I’d have maybe preferred more romance but that’s just because I’m a romance girlie!

It was very well written and I loved the story! Easily a four star book for me.
💗💗💗💗

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Thank you to Netgalley and Bea Northwick for allowing me to read and review.

Ho-ly. That ending.

Millicent Foxboro gets a job offer to work as Professor Hughes' assistant at Willowfield. But all is not right at Willowfield. There are secrets at every corner and secrets of her own. Can she solve the the mysterious Mrs. Hughes death and come to terms with her secrets before it's too late?

This book definitely makes you feel like you're on edge the whole time. You know something is not right but you aren't sure what it is. I was in the ballpark but I did not expect the ending to be what it was. Very pleased with how it ended though. A definite recommend.

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The Cruel Dark is a magically intense book with so many fun twists and turns while also being gorgeously gothic!

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This book really surprised me with how great it is! Ghost stories scare me and I was worried I wouldn't be able to finish but honestly I couldn't put it down.

Smutty, Folklore, work place romance, husband and wife romance and mystery all tied in together and it's a great mix!

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An absolutely stunning debut novel! I had high hopes for this as I am a huge fan of Crimson Peak, Jane Eyre, and Mexican Gothic, and Bea Northwick utterly obliterated my expectations, making The Cruel Dark one of my absolute favorite books of 2023.

Ghosts, madness, Willowfield in all its decaying glory, Irish lore and mention of fae folk, and an ensemble of characters that range from endearing to unsettling (and some a combination thereof), all make for a sumptuous gothic setting for our main character Millie to wade through.

Mysteries abound, not only all around the halls and grounds of Willowfield, but draping around Millie herself like a shawl. The horrors begin with her history and the fate of her parents, setting a tone of unease from the start of the book. The Cruel Dark enveloped me in a spine-tingling embrace. While I had inklings and suspicions of a twist, it wasn't obvious as I constantly questioned myself, setting myself up to be blindsided by another more sinister twist to come. I will absolutely be rereading this book again and again.

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This was catnip for any historical romance reader! The writing was beautiful and the twist at the end was SO good. Look forward to more from this author

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Great debut novel! I instantly felt compassion for the FMC from the beginning. The 1920s setting was perfect in that women still had few options in terms of jobs but it was still a time of exploration and free spiritedness. Her character did feel like it went through a few shifts though. She seemed to start off very quiet and insecure to becoming more fiery in temperament as she spent more time in the mansion. The house was a perfect setting as well. The darkness that most light couldn’t reach and the long winter nights, perfectly amped up the creepiness and horror of the visions Millie begins seeing. The description of the woman skittering across the floor on all fours was quite the disturbing vision. Our MMC was mysterious but you also felt empathetic to him as the story progresses. At times, his sexual aggression to Millie seemed a bit much that it made one question his motives. Yet, the surprise ending helps explain so much. I usually can see twists coming a mile away, and this story’s twist pleasantly surprised me. Talented female writer who I am looking forward to reading more of in the future!
Thank you to #netgalley for the opportunity to read this engrossing book!

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I have to admit for the first 60 percent or so of the book I was thoroughly confused, but continued on as the writing was lyrical and the setting just as enigmatic as the owner of Willowfield. Our main character Millie was lost, anxious, and stubborn and comes to find herself frustrated and enthralled with reclusive Professor Callum Hughes. Their relationship felt very fast paced at first but came to make sense as the story went on even though I wish I could've seen more on page chemistry of them falling in love. It felt very insta lovey (but my feelings changed by the end). Aside from this I was intrigued by whether or not there truly were ghosts haunting Millie and trying to piece together the tiny breadcrumbs the story left behind for the twist. That twist! It was multiple twists in one and simultaneously made me scream and cry. I was so emotional by the end. This was a truly fantastic Gothic Horror Romance that kept me on the edge of my seat and kicking my feet. Thank you to NetGalley and Bea Northwick for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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This is a gothic historical fiction romance, set in the 1920s. It has all the elements of each of these genes plus a nice plot twist at the end! A bit Bronte-esque with spice, this will have a very broad appeal to different readers.

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"Wow, wow, wow! That was a good book!" I exclaimed to my corgi. It fell on deaf ears then, but I pray it doesn't now.

The year is 1928, and Millie (the FMC) has travelled to the Willowfield estate to work as an assistant to Professor Callum Hughes (the MMC).

When she arrives, she finds that the place is falling apart and everyone keeps telling her she shouldn't be there because the place is haunted. But either way, have a good sleep, bestie! 💞💞💞

The set up in this book was fantastic and was paced really well. Millie and Callum's relationship was a sexy, sexy slow burn and you couldn't help but feel happy for them once he stopped being a mysterious grump.

🌶️🌶️.5 /5

✨ Slow burn romance ❤️
✨ Things that go bump in the night 👻
✨ Mental health representation ❤️‍🩹

The last chunk of the book moves incredibly fast, but never feels rushed. You're stumbling along just as Millie is - trying to figure out what in the hell is happening. This house is uber spooky and there are, in fact, some ghosts in here...right?! Right?!

The twist and the ultimate reveal had my heart racing. This will definitely be a re-read for me!

* Thank you to NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for my honest review *

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The cruel dark lifted a hand and held my head until the end. It was so consuming, it was amazing. The twist really gets you, it is so well written. My gothic heart is lifting in joy to have had the chance to spend a day in this world.

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So, I stepped into this thriller world, a bit out of my usual romantasy zone, but man, was it a ride! The story's dark twist got me hooked, even though it took a bit to get going. Once it did, though, it was like a rollercoaster—I couldn't put the book down!

The characters? They felt real, with enough mystery to keep me curious. Unraveling their secrets became my thing, and the ending? Totally unexpected. And Millie? I loved her, and the banter with Callum? Chef's kiss. Happy it all wrapped up the way it did. Big thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for letting me dive into this ARC. This book was a blast, and I'm so glad I got to read it!

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3.5 stars rounded up here! Tbh unfortunately I think this wonderful book suffered from being read right after I finished Iron Flame lol. I just wanted it to be longer, have more detail, have the relationship develop more deeply, and to have more character depth throughout. The ending was amazing but barreled along really quickly! Otherwise I loved the setting, the gothic atmosphere, the spooks got me good, and the main character was quirky and passionate! Thanks so much to the author and NetGalley for the chance to read and review :)

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