Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley, the publishing house and the author for the opportunity to read a complimentary copy of this book in return for a review based upon my honest opinion.

Straight away this gorgeous cover gripped my attention. I Love a good gothic romance and a dual timeline story too, it was meant to be. A forlorn, dilapidated mansion in the middle of the Thames, with an interesting history, what a beautiful setting, you could almost envision yourself sitting looking out the window watching the river flow by. Meredith, in the present day, was immediately taken by this property and in the efforts to renovate it, she finds a journal written by a nurse during WWII. Ellen, in the past, is that nurse who finds herself working at this remote hospital location.

Both stories were so interesting and the way they interlocked was riveting. I loved everything about this book, it was a wonderful read and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys these types of books.

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Full of atmosphere, tension and intrigue, Victoria Darke’s The House in the Water is a sumptuous read you will love losing yourself in.

1942 and young Irish nurse Ellen arrives at May Day House determined to help her convalescing patients. However, on her arrival at this mysterious house, surrounded by water on its own island in the Thames, Ellen cannot shake off this feeling that there is something strange and sinister about her place of work. Worse, far from helping the traumatised men recuperating, the powers that be at May Day House are subjecting them to horrific methods designed to get them back on the front line as quickly as possible. Ellen had come to May Day House for a fresh start and to escape her troubles, but has she just exchanged one gilded cage for another?

In 2013, Philip and Meredith have just bought May Day House and are in desperate need of a fresh start after a string of tragedies. Yet, the riverside community isn’t as welcoming as they had envisaged and their plans for their dilapidated house are quickly met with opposition from their new neighbours. Meredith is also shaken by the strange incidents taking place in her new home. From the echoes of voices in the water to strange apparitions, she cannot help but wonder whether she’s losing her mind. Discovering an old notebook, she begins to find solace in the stories of the people who had once inhabited May Day House. But when the past and present intertwine in the most shocking of ways, Meredith realises that far from a sanctuary, May Day House might just end up costing her everything – including her life!

Victoria Darke’s The House in the Water is an excellent page-turner that is beautifully layered, highly immersive and packed with twists and turns you simply will not see coming. A complex, clever and heart-breaking tale of deadly secrets, dangerous discoveries and powerful emotion, The House in the Water is a captivating read by Victoria Darke sure to hold you spellbound.

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A confusing book to read ? Was that a ghost or real person ? Who is responsible for Stuart ‘s death ? Are these island people friend or foe ? Who buys a dilapidated house on an island and lives on it immediately without hooking up power, cleaning and making it habitable at least before moving it. Also being able to operate a boat would be a prerequisite for island living !The historical timeline was interesting with the house being used to treat PTSD for male patients of war. The present timeline story was awkward and unrealistic.

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The House in the Water by Victoria Darke

A dual timeline with the house as a main character.
An enjoyable and engrossing story with quite a few twists and turns.
Set partly during W11 and with a slightly sinister/ scared backdrop within it.

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The House in the Water is a well-written historical fiction dual timeline story. It is set on an isolated island in the Thames, near Weybridge. May Day House is a rundown mansion that was used as a military hospital in 1943, and has just been purchased by a young couple in 2013, with plans to renovate and use it as a wedding venue and for artist retreats. The past storyline is told by a young nurse, Ellen, working at the psychiatric hospital, who falls in love with a patient, and the present story is told by a young wife, Meredith, living in May Day House. With neighbours who aren't happy with their plans, a new friend for Meredith, her husband, a pilot, often out of town and a river boat resident who seems friendly enough but is not liked by Phillip, there is creepy vibes and secrets. With a storm coming, Meredith, her dog and the house could be in danger.

This book took me a bit to get into, but it picked up and the ending was an unexpected twist. I found both timelines interesting, especially about the various treatments of the men with what we now call PTSD. The romance between Emily and Harry was okay, but I found life in the hospital, the questionable "new treatments" and the difference between how male soldiers and females that also saw some terrible things were treated. In the present story, Meredith and Phillip have had several tragedies in the recent past and this is supposed to be a new beginning for them. They are up against the neighbours from the start, and it is hard to get to know anyone because of it. Meredith is at the house alone for several days at a time while her husband is on his trips, and she begins to see and hear things. There have been rumors of ghosts and she is getting more scared all the time. When she finds Emily's journal, she was pulled into her story and that seemed to heighten her hallucinations. I really liked Meredith and wanted things to work out for her and Phillip, but the more she is at the house, the more their relationship seems to unravel. Phillip annoyed me at times as he didn't seem to take Meredith seriously and often ignored her. He had some secrets and Meredith couldn't get him to open up. There was a sinister vibe as this story progressed and I wasn't sure where Victoria Darke was going to take this one. I will say I had my suspicions about what was going on and I was partially right, but there was a lot more that came together for a satisfying ending. In her notes at the end, she shares which parts of the story was based on real events, so I can now do a search to find out more.

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A dual time line story about May Day House which is set on an island in the Thames. An almost gothic tale of the lives of two women who find themselves living in the house and how their stories, despite the decades, connect.
It is 1942 and Ellen an army nurse is sent to May Day House which is being used as a centre for traumatised soldiers. The treatments used are harsh and Ellen struggles with the trauma that the men are going through not only from their war experience but also the treatment they are going through. Ellen falls in love with a soldier and is determined that Harry won’t go through the new ECT regime the Drs have planned.
It is 2013 and Meredith and her husband Philip have purchased May Day House as a new start after experiencing a rough few years. They plan to turn it into their dream home with a business side for wedding functions. Meredith is left alone in the house quite a bit as her husband is a pilot. Strange and unusual things happen while she is in the house alone and she becomes frightened of what she believes she alone sees. Meredith finds an old diary/journal which belongs to Ellen and reads about the house during the war period. Is her mind playing tricks on her due to her isolation or is she really seeing what she believes is ghosts from Ellen’s diary.
This book will keep you guessing until the end. A mystery with lots of twists and turns. A great weekend read!

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This book features the same property but in two different eras, 1942 with nurse Ellen, and 2013 with Philip and Meredith who move into the house full of hopes, and dreams of renovation. I found myself utterly invested in both storylines although the modern day just pipped it for me if I had to choose.

I loved the idea of May Day House, it sounds absolutely delightful and wholly believed in the depth of history from the 1942 storyline for how could that much energy and emotion not leave its mark? I found the psychological work being carried out a very interesting little sub story too.

In the modern timeline I found the 'river folk' interesting and thought Meredith incredibly brave to stay in the house on her own. For all of it's stature and beauty it came across as being very isolated and a little melancholy.

The author pulls the threads of both times very well and successfully creates two separate worlds within the one impressive space - resulting in a story that is part war, part love, part psychological, and potentially part ghost...

Overall, a gripping read that I am sure will be loved by readers of many genres

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An enjoyable and engrossing story with quite a few twists and turns. Not just your average WW2 and the present day story. There was a sinister psychological element to the story.

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this book was just so much fun to read! thank you so very much to netgalley for letting me read it before release date. what an actual treat!! the author is amazing and so so fun!!!!

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"The House in the Water" by Victoria Darke is a dual timeline tale, jumping back and forth between 1942 during WWII and 2013. At first, I was sceptical about how well the two timelines would be woven together, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were seamlessly intertwined.
The story follows two main characters: Ellen, a young nurse in 1942, and Meredith, a young woman in 2013 who has just purchased May Day House with her partner. Both women are struggling with their demons and find themselves drawn into the mysterious and troubled history of the house.
I loved the way the author wove together the two timelines, using Ellen's notebook as a way to bridge the two stories. The writing was excellent, with vivid descriptions of the house and its surroundings. I felt like I was right there with Ellen and Meredith as they navigated the creepy and isolated atmosphere of May Day House.
One thing that struck me was the way the book handled the themes of trauma and PTSD. The treatment of servicemen during WWII is shown to be brutal and ineffective, and it's clear that these men are still struggling to come to terms with their experiences. Meanwhile, in the present day, Meredith is struggling to cope with the strange occurrences in the house and her fears and anxieties.
If I have any criticisms, it's that the romance in the book felt a bit unnecessary. I didn't feel like it added much to the story, and sometimes it felt like it was getting in the way of the main plot. Additionally, I felt like the paranormal elements could have been handled more effectively. At times, they felt like they were added in as an afterthought, and I didn't find them particularly convincing.
Overall, however, I thoroughly enjoyed "The House in the Water". It's a creepy and atmospheric tale that explores some really important themes. If you're a fan of historical fiction or gothic mystery, I would recommend giving this book a try.

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In this dual timeline novel, readers flash between Meredith in 2013 and Ellen, a nurse from 1943, as they both live in May Day House on an island in the Thames. However, something strange surrounds this house, and both Ellen and Meredith find that this house and the time they lived in it will change them. Ellen, a nurse during World War II, works at the May Day House trying to help the men with PTSD and other mental health struggles, while Meredith and her husband Philip are trying to start over when Meredith begins seeing things and hearing things around the house. If no one is safe here and this house continues to have a series of tragic inhabitants, then Meredith is next in line. Dual timelines with dual protagonists, the drama and thriller aspects of this novel make it an exciting and complicated read. Living the same events as Meredith and Ellen, readers will get to try and solve the mysteries and find the connections between the two women. Darke’s characters, setting, and thematic writing are absolutely incredible; the house itself functions as another character and brings a lot to this fantastic new historical fiction and thriller novel.

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This is yet another wonderful dual timeline story of war, love and a house that has stories to tell. It is an amazing story of past and present and it works so well. I was easily pulled into both of the stories and how they became entwined into one story. I loved the house and it's almost haunted ways. This is such a well put together book, intriguing, interesting and heart-pounding at times.

This book is so well written it makes you feel as if you are there and you can feel the tensions of the house and the story. As others have said in their reviews, it is 'Spellbinding' for sure. I could not put this book down and I didn't until I read the very last page. Loved it.

Thank you NetGalley and Boldwood Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.

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One house, 2 stories. May Day house has stood on the secluded May Day Island for years. In 1942 we follow Ellen a nurse working at May Day House while it was a psychiatric hospital. In 2013 we meet Meredith who buys the house to do up with her husband after a difficult time in her life. The story switches between the two timelines interlinked by similar experiences the characters have.

Mystery and romance it’s a compelling read with many twists and turns to keep you guessing right till the end. If you’ve enjoyed Kate Morton’s books you’ll enjoy this!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.

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May Day house is on an island in the middle of the Thames River. Told in two storylines. In 1942, the house has been turned in to a hospital for soldiers who have been traumatized by war, yet the army hopes to put back on duty. Irish nurse Ellen helps others, yet can’t help with her own troubles. 2013, Meredith and her husband, Phillip, buy the abandoned May Day house to restore and move forward from past heartbreaks. There is such a gothic feel to the story with unsettling feelings of truly what is happening. I was drawn in to the mysteries of this atmospheric read of the spooky renovation, variety of locals, and the medical practices of the 40’s. ⁣
The twist and turn secrets had me captivated till the last page.

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What an interesting book, really loved the dual timelines which linked and merged into one another beautifully making more sense of the story as it went along. Very cleverly written. I wasn’t aware of any islands on the Thames so this has made me go and look a bit closer on my walks from now on as it’s such a reality to have flooding, boat people, environmental issues etc all along the river. The treatment of those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the wartime was barbaric but sympathetically described in the book .
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the story and look forward to reading more from this author.

Thank you to Netgalley the author and publishers for an arc in exchange for an honest review

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I just finished The House in the Water by Victoria Darke and here are my thoughts.

Philip and Meredith are over the moon with their purchase of May Day house. They cannot wait to start this chapter of their lives after all the tragedies they have gone through but as they start their renovation plans on the house, they are met with fierce resistance from their neighbors. With every drawback, Meredith begins to unravel. She begins to hear voices, see figures that are not there. She finds solace in a notebook someone wrote in during the war and she learns about the patients that were held on the island during the war.

Will the past threaten her future and quote possibly her life?

The book is written over 2 time periods. Present day and the war. It was really well done. I found the 2 times, while their own stories, were woven into each other beautifully with real skill. I was fully invested in both timelines, which for me, is really rare and I found all the characters relatable and likable.

May House has some of the best gothic vibes. I loved the idea of the place and seeing the house in 2 timelines really was the icing on the cake for me. I did feel the book was trying a bit too hard though and I found the romance was unnecessary.

I loved the book. It was exactly what I needed to get my reading juices flowing. The paranormal undertones were not done quite right though. They needed to have more or remove it all together because I needed more here and I was left unsatisfied.

Overall though this book was a really great historical fiction with some really excellent writing.

4 stars

Thank you to @netgalley and @theboldbookclub for my copy.

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May Day House

This is a dual timeline tale. The first timeline is set in 1942 during WWII in a hospital for servicemen with PTSD which was called Battle Fatigue at that time. It follows a young nurse named Ellen. She soon finds out the methods at the hospital and the traumatized servicemen will not help her escape her own problems. This part of the story involves the stories of traumatized soldiers, methods used to treat them, a romance and a daring escape.

The second timeline is set in 2013. A young couple named Philip and Meredith have purchased May Day House and dream of making it their dream house. However, from the start strange things start to happen. Meredith is frightened and cannot figure out what is going on, nor who is behind the incidents. Could it be related to an old accident that happened years before? Could it be unrestful spirits from the past? Meredith finds Ellen’s notebook and reads it, which causes her nightmares, or so Phillip tells her. Can she solve the mystery so they can keep May Day House?

It was a good story and well worth reading, I would recommend it.

Thanks to Victoria Darke for writing a great story, to Boldwood Books for publishing it and to NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary copy to read and review.

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Meredith and Philip sink all of their money into the dilapidated May Day House but with local opposition renovations are not going to be easy. Meredith spends far too much time alone in the house and with some sinister goings on she pretty much finds that she is isolated and becomes more and more afraid of things that only see can see.

Back in 1942, Ellen, a young Irish nurse, arrives at May Day House to help care for those WW2 soldiers who have been sent to the secluded hospital to recuperate from mental trauma. However, the brutal methods employed by the doctors cause Ellen much distress especially as she is also hiding some traumatic secrets of her own.

This is such an immersive novel that I barely looked up from the page and such was the pull of each time frame that each fitted comfortably within the concept of the story. I was slightly more drawn to the WW2 sections and Ellen's story and yet the modern day setting with Meredith and Philip was filled with such sinister undertones that it kept me on the edge of my seat. I liked the hint of mystery which runs like a thread and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching how all the stands of this complicated story come together.

The House in the Water is a fast paced and brooding dual timeline mystery with more than enough twists and turns to keep you guessing.

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Edge of your seat reading, The House In The Water has twist after twist right up to the last page. Setting the story on a River Thames island created a sense of isolation, even though the river banks were not far away. The rising and falling river levels and river currents added to the tension in both timelines, ramping up the danger for both heroines. I loved Meredith, 2013, and Ellen, 1943. Both were strong, determined women, each keen to make their mark despite the many challenges they faced. Though this is not a romance, there are strong romantic threads, particularly for Ellen, who has fallen for one of her patients. There are plenty of fabulous characters in this book, many of whom are not quite what they seem, though of course their stories are revealed in the end. The plot is fast-paced, packed with secrets and hints of ghosts and I couldn’t stop reading. Overall this is a thoroughly fascinating book and a great introduction to a new-to-me author. It’s definitely going on my keeper shelf.

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The House in the Lake is a riveting dual timeline novel. Both timelines are set at a house located on an island in the Thames River, and feature strong, brave women whose lives are impacted by the house. There is mystery, there is romance, and there are secrets that threaten the lives of both women.

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