The Overnight Guest, by Heather Gudenkauf

The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Heather Gudenkauf’sThe Overnight Guest” presented a complex and engaging narrative that captured my interest from the outset. The novel interlaces two timelines and a “separate” point of view with a deft hand, and while at times the shifts between past and present required a bit of effort to stay aligned with the storyline, the overall effect added a rich texture to the reading experience.

Wylie Lark, the protagonist, is a true-crime writer who finds herself trapped in a farmhouse, the location of a brutal event she’s researching, during a snowstorm.
The farmhouse setting in itself is one of the book’s strengths: The author does an admirable job of painting a picture of the stark, wintry, partly desolate landscape. The house itself, with its history of horror, is so well depicted that it felt almost like another character – silent yet expressive. The atmosphere was sometimes as chilling as the narrative itself.

Incorporating a parallel story of a mysterious young boy, the eponymous “Overnight Guest”, Gudenkauf adds an emotional dimension that intertwines with the main plot in unexpected ways. This element of the story was both compelling and occasionally heart-wrenching.

It’s important to mention that Gudenkauf handles the transitions between the timelines and points of view with care. As I progressed through the book, what initially seemed a challenging structure began to feel more intuitive, revealing its purpose in the broader tapestry of the narrative.

All in all, “The Overnight Guest” was a thrilling, quick (albeit forgettable) read I enjoyed a lot – the farther I got, the less notes and highlights I took because I wanted to read, not prepare for this review!

Four stars out of five.

Ceterum censeo Putin esse delendam

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