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Where the Briars Sleep

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In this early nineteenth-century gothic ghost story, Rose Shedd discovers something is stalking her, something unseen and filled with rage, something that demands recompense, and Rose’s life, the life of her sister, and the remnants of her family depend on memories she has forced herself to forget. She couldn’t imagine being alone in the dark, the wardrobe looming over her, In this early nineteenth-century gothic ghost story, Rose Shedd discovers something is stalking her, something unseen and filled with rage, something that demands recompense, and Rose’s life, the life of her sister, and the remnants of her family depend on memories she has forced herself to forget. She couldn’t imagine being alone in the dark, the wardrobe looming over her, its door creaking, hangers rattling. Anything could sneak up on you in the dark when you closed your eyes. Anything. Arriving back at her home estate, the first thing Rose does is visit her stepsister Sarah’s grave, taking her younger sister, Maggie, along. After a forced retreat at the cousins', Rose looks forward to some normalcy and a return to routine. Not to mention the unexpected upcoming ball hosted by their elusive neighbors to introduce their son Henry, who has been away. Perhaps this mysterious Henry may become interested in Rose. Or most likely he would become her younger sister's fourth suitor and Rose would endure more “old maid” banter. With the oppressive heat and unpredictable weather, Rose and Maggie are caught in a sudden severe thunderstorm. Maggie makes it back before the sky unleashes its fury, but Rose is caught behind. She really doesn’t mind, however, because she loves the rain and the wind and the gardens and could stay outside their stuffy mansion forever. Away from the wardrobe. In the midst of the storm, Rose is cut by a briar and becomes caught in the mud. She sees a woman on their front porch. Maggie? “Help me, Maggie!” But the woman is gone. From then on, nothing and no one are as they seem in this twisted gothic Victorian ghost story. A tale of three sisters, family secrets of the darkest nature, and how our decisions have ripple effects, with themes of nature, romance, family, faith, forgiveness, consequences, and a creepy wardrobe with a door that never quite shuts that will have you sleeping with the lights on.


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In this early nineteenth-century gothic ghost story, Rose Shedd discovers something is stalking her, something unseen and filled with rage, something that demands recompense, and Rose’s life, the life of her sister, and the remnants of her family depend on memories she has forced herself to forget. She couldn’t imagine being alone in the dark, the wardrobe looming over her, In this early nineteenth-century gothic ghost story, Rose Shedd discovers something is stalking her, something unseen and filled with rage, something that demands recompense, and Rose’s life, the life of her sister, and the remnants of her family depend on memories she has forced herself to forget. She couldn’t imagine being alone in the dark, the wardrobe looming over her, its door creaking, hangers rattling. Anything could sneak up on you in the dark when you closed your eyes. Anything. Arriving back at her home estate, the first thing Rose does is visit her stepsister Sarah’s grave, taking her younger sister, Maggie, along. After a forced retreat at the cousins', Rose looks forward to some normalcy and a return to routine. Not to mention the unexpected upcoming ball hosted by their elusive neighbors to introduce their son Henry, who has been away. Perhaps this mysterious Henry may become interested in Rose. Or most likely he would become her younger sister's fourth suitor and Rose would endure more “old maid” banter. With the oppressive heat and unpredictable weather, Rose and Maggie are caught in a sudden severe thunderstorm. Maggie makes it back before the sky unleashes its fury, but Rose is caught behind. She really doesn’t mind, however, because she loves the rain and the wind and the gardens and could stay outside their stuffy mansion forever. Away from the wardrobe. In the midst of the storm, Rose is cut by a briar and becomes caught in the mud. She sees a woman on their front porch. Maggie? “Help me, Maggie!” But the woman is gone. From then on, nothing and no one are as they seem in this twisted gothic Victorian ghost story. A tale of three sisters, family secrets of the darkest nature, and how our decisions have ripple effects, with themes of nature, romance, family, faith, forgiveness, consequences, and a creepy wardrobe with a door that never quite shuts that will have you sleeping with the lights on.

44 review for Where the Briars Sleep

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bianca (Belladonnabooks)

    I was pleasantly pleased with this book. Where the Briars Sleep is an eerie ghost story set in the nineteenth century, perfect for those craving a gothic or classic ghost story read. I didn't really become fully invested in this story until around the halfway mark but after that I was hooked. Just like many gothic stories, the scare factor lies more in the atmosphere created, the uneasiness, the building of dread and tension and the overall tone of the book but there were some genuine chilling m I was pleasantly pleased with this book. Where the Briars Sleep is an eerie ghost story set in the nineteenth century, perfect for those craving a gothic or classic ghost story read. I didn't really become fully invested in this story until around the halfway mark but after that I was hooked. Just like many gothic stories, the scare factor lies more in the atmosphere created, the uneasiness, the building of dread and tension and the overall tone of the book but there were some genuine chilling moments throughout. One particular scene touched on a very real fear of mine and had me feeling extremely claustrophobic whilst reading it. I found the imagery to be quite haunting and beautiful. Emma Beaven created some truly gorgeous scenes, particularly of the landscapes and home. Complex family dynamics are also a focus in this book, making for compelling reading. I did feel there were some plot holes and certain aspects were not fully explained to my liking but overall it was an enjoyable read. A wonderful debut novel too I might add.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Hehr

    Debutants meet a scary wardrobe with a sinister past Too much detail on what the girls are wearing. Everything is muslin, and you better not wear ribbons that will clash with your hair color. Is this Gone with the Wind meets Pride and Prejudice, and is somehow supposed to be Horror? I’m not scared. SPOILERS Some questions: Why sleep in a room with a scary piece of furniture? The ‘heroine’ could simply ask a servant to move the wardrobe somewhere else, but instead waits to ask her father to come ba Debutants meet a scary wardrobe with a sinister past Too much detail on what the girls are wearing. Everything is muslin, and you better not wear ribbons that will clash with your hair color. Is this Gone with the Wind meets Pride and Prejudice, and is somehow supposed to be Horror? I’m not scared. SPOILERS Some questions: Why sleep in a room with a scary piece of furniture? The ‘heroine’ could simply ask a servant to move the wardrobe somewhere else, but instead waits to ask her father to come back home, who then asks a servant to move it. As if there haven’t been servants around the house the entire time. Although, when the ‘heroine’ sleepwalked her way to the wardrobe’s new room, I was a bit intrigued. But that didn’t last long, because the story drags on and on. The headaches and overall ridiculousness is a bit much for my taste.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Valeri

    I’m always a sucker for a gothic horror story, but it’s been a long while since I’ve read one I enjoyed as much as this. I’ve been reading horror almost exclusively for nearly 25 years and few novels have given me the spooks and shivers like this one. The descriptions are beautiful and haunting, the atmosphere is both grim and charming, and you can feel the stifling horror rising in every chapter. Even better, though it’s difficult to stick the landing with gothic tales, I think Beaven concluded I’m always a sucker for a gothic horror story, but it’s been a long while since I’ve read one I enjoyed as much as this. I’ve been reading horror almost exclusively for nearly 25 years and few novels have given me the spooks and shivers like this one. The descriptions are beautiful and haunting, the atmosphere is both grim and charming, and you can feel the stifling horror rising in every chapter. Even better, though it’s difficult to stick the landing with gothic tales, I think Beaven concluded this story wonderfully and I find myself delighted to have read a really good ghost story. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    I really enjoyed this story! I love how the characters and the horror were built upon chapter by chapter. The ending completely took me by surprise. I am still thinking about the ending a day after finishing the book and had to go back and re-read the last chapter to be sure I understood what happened! :-) You won't be disappointed if you read this book. I'm looking forward to more stories from this author. I really enjoyed this story! I love how the characters and the horror were built upon chapter by chapter. The ending completely took me by surprise. I am still thinking about the ending a day after finishing the book and had to go back and re-read the last chapter to be sure I understood what happened! :-) You won't be disappointed if you read this book. I'm looking forward to more stories from this author.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra

    True rating is a 3.5, but I rounded it up to 4 as Goodreads doesn't do half stars. This was a fun read, although I will admit it did start to feel overly long towards the end. There's a twist about halfway through that I didn't expect at all, and I was curious enough to keep reading to unravel the mysteries that were presented. While I do feel satisfied with the ending, especially the ramping up of the horror elements, I did feel that it got a bit messy and some things weren't fully answered or True rating is a 3.5, but I rounded it up to 4 as Goodreads doesn't do half stars. This was a fun read, although I will admit it did start to feel overly long towards the end. There's a twist about halfway through that I didn't expect at all, and I was curious enough to keep reading to unravel the mysteries that were presented. While I do feel satisfied with the ending, especially the ramping up of the horror elements, I did feel that it got a bit messy and some things weren't fully answered or hinted at enough. Still a decent read, although it does have a bit of an "overwrought gothic horror" vibe to it... which isn't necessarily a bad thing! It sort of reminded me in tone of some of the old Hammer Horror movies. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

    I wanted something creepy and this book definitely delivered. Emma Beaven has created a gothic horror tale that reminds me of classic books, such as Rebecca or House on Haunted Hill. In this story, it is all about the build-up and the anticipation of what is to come. Although there were some plot issues that left some unanswered questions, I feel overall this is a strong book in this genre that will keep many readers up at night. #NetGalley #ARC

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emma-Kate

    Where the Briars Sleep was a atmospherically a classic gothic novel. The narrator was suitably unreliable, and it left the reader (me) constantly confused about what was happening. The MCs fear might have seemed simple, but it was the supposedly benign nature of the things that made her scared that had the story so horrifying. Even after finishing it, I couldn't tell if the MC was her own ghost story all along, or if it happened along the way. While it made me suitably uncomfortable, I had hoped Where the Briars Sleep was a atmospherically a classic gothic novel. The narrator was suitably unreliable, and it left the reader (me) constantly confused about what was happening. The MCs fear might have seemed simple, but it was the supposedly benign nature of the things that made her scared that had the story so horrifying. Even after finishing it, I couldn't tell if the MC was her own ghost story all along, or if it happened along the way. While it made me suitably uncomfortable, I had hoped for a little more lavish and atmospheric description; there was a lot of focus on the character reactions to the world, but no immersion of the world itself, and I would have enjoyed it a little more.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    This novel was a delight to read, with thrilling horror and a slow unraveling mystery throughout the book that leaves the reader guessing until the very last page. Not only are the scares frightening and original but the characters are unique and compelling. As Emma Beaven’s first novel she has wowed me with how good this book is. This novel has become my new go to recommendation for those who love horror. With wonderful twists and turns and an ending that leaves knots in your stomach, Where Th This novel was a delight to read, with thrilling horror and a slow unraveling mystery throughout the book that leaves the reader guessing until the very last page. Not only are the scares frightening and original but the characters are unique and compelling. As Emma Beaven’s first novel she has wowed me with how good this book is. This novel has become my new go to recommendation for those who love horror. With wonderful twists and turns and an ending that leaves knots in your stomach, Where The Briars Sleep is a refreshing treat. I will be watching for more of Emma Beaven’s work, especially with hopes for a sequel to this novel. It was truly a privilege to read this novel before the official release. Click here to support the author pr-order the book for 40% OFF! https://ink-a-dink.com/shop/ols/produ...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    1.5 Stars Thank you so much to Xpresso Book Tours, Tangled Tree Publishing, and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC; it is greatly appreciated. I am always interested in a good gothic horror, so this book seemed right up my alley, especially since it seemed like it had that "vengeful ghost" angle. However, this didn't end up living up to my expectations, and was more confusing than frightening. Firstly, this book is setup a bit different than your average novel. There are 79 chapters (80 if 1.5 Stars Thank you so much to Xpresso Book Tours, Tangled Tree Publishing, and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC; it is greatly appreciated. I am always interested in a good gothic horror, so this book seemed right up my alley, especially since it seemed like it had that "vengeful ghost" angle. However, this didn't end up living up to my expectations, and was more confusing than frightening. Firstly, this book is setup a bit different than your average novel. There are 79 chapters (80 if you count the one chapter with a name instead of a number) with most chapters being 2-3 pages long, but some as short as half a page. Throughout the first several chapters I found it difficult to tell which sister's head I was in. I got mixed up several times until I got used to the writing style and could differentiate between the two characters better. As with most gothic horror this is definitely a slow-paced read, but it went beyond that to also being quite repetitive. The amount of times that a quiet dinner is described in extravagent detail is far too often to the point that I believe it's the most common event in the book. Details such as this, getting dressed, sitting in the parlor, etc, are described over and over again to where I just wanted to skim to get to something interesting. I don't believe the writing style is for me either. There were several instances where the next sentence contradicted the previous, or seemed very over-dramatic for what was happening. For example, talking about how much cooler the temperature is, and then immediately after saying how stifled they feel in the heat. From the very beginning of the story I was confused on what was going on. I understood that more would be revealed as the story progressed, but after finishing the book I am still very unsure of what happened, or is happening. Our main character, Rose, knows something that she even refuses to share with the reader. We get little tidbits here and there, but it feels like too little for how long the book is. The book reiterates several times how Rose and her sister, Maggie, have always been together and close. They even share a bedroom even though they live on a large estate with at least four servants. With all of that I really don't understand why they never just talk to each other ? It just seems odd to watch each other suffer. In the end I'm finishing this book without feeling like there was much of a payoff. I usually enjoy endings where I'm questioning everything, but I really don't understand enough to get any enjoyment out of it. Because of this I also didn't feel much tension throughout the story, and the scares were lackluster, and not near as in depth as the more mundane descriptions are.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Faydra | PuzzledBooks

    Thank you to Tangled Tree Publishing and Netgalley for an ARC of this novel. “Where the Briars Sleep” will be released on July 17, 2021 Summary: In this early nineteenth-century gothic ghost story, Rose Shedd discovers something is stalking her, something unseen and filled with rage, something that demands recompense, and Rose’s life, the life of her sister, and the remnants of her family depend on memories she has forced herself to forget. As someone who really enjoys gothic horror, I was excited Thank you to Tangled Tree Publishing and Netgalley for an ARC of this novel. “Where the Briars Sleep” will be released on July 17, 2021 Summary: In this early nineteenth-century gothic ghost story, Rose Shedd discovers something is stalking her, something unseen and filled with rage, something that demands recompense, and Rose’s life, the life of her sister, and the remnants of her family depend on memories she has forced herself to forget. As someone who really enjoys gothic horror, I was excited to read this; however, I think the summary and the premise was more interesting than the story in action. The overly descriptive sentences detailing what the sisters were wearing, the super short chapters (about 80 chapters over around 400 pages), which I usually don’t mind, but the constant break-ups seemed unnecessary and tended to break my reading flow. However, I will say that when Beaven dips deep into the gothic horror moments, they’re done well. Unfortunately, for me they were too far in-between, and I ended up focusing more on which sister’s point-of-view I was in; as tense shifts sometimes would occur within chapters and with so many feminine pronouns, I got confused a bit as to whose mind I was in. Overall, this one did not work for me, but Beaven definitely has potential to make a great gothic novel. I think this one would’ve benefited from some combining of chapters and sticking to one POV. 2/5

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jantine

    I so wanted to love this book that I feel a bit guilty that I do not like it that much. Honestly, it had some amazing parts that fulfilled all potential I wanted to see in a gothic horror novel. Psychologically harsh turns, hinting at horrors we can all imagine to be in this era, an unreliable narrator etc. Balancing that to the other side of 'I don't know ...' are the dragging parts about headaches (hinting at those a couple of times would have given the heebie jeebies, the amount it was allured I so wanted to love this book that I feel a bit guilty that I do not like it that much. Honestly, it had some amazing parts that fulfilled all potential I wanted to see in a gothic horror novel. Psychologically harsh turns, hinting at horrors we can all imagine to be in this era, an unreliable narrator etc. Balancing that to the other side of 'I don't know ...' are the dragging parts about headaches (hinting at those a couple of times would have given the heebie jeebies, the amount it was allured to now made for a 'not again!'), dressing and clothes without a connection to the wardrobe, and the constant bickering about who gets married first and seeming hate between sisters who were supposed to be close. In the end it made for a 2 stars, because I cannot say that as it is now I really liked this novel much. It does have some seriously redeeming qualities that could have made it good though. Thanks to Netgalley and Tangled Tree Publishing for the opportunity to read this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ardell Hogeterp

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. An agonizingly tortuous read to get to a climax of fear. This is my first time reading a Gothic Victorian Suspense Goosebumps Style of writing. The writing mostly stuck to Rose's point of view so when you did hear others it sometimes came as a shock as how different the other person was seen. It took far to long for the horror to get built up and those poor dears lived in one of the most rain drenched areas with dark purple clouds. I almost felt as bored as Rose and Maggie in their lives with the An agonizingly tortuous read to get to a climax of fear. This is my first time reading a Gothic Victorian Suspense Goosebumps Style of writing. The writing mostly stuck to Rose's point of view so when you did hear others it sometimes came as a shock as how different the other person was seen. It took far to long for the horror to get built up and those poor dears lived in one of the most rain drenched areas with dark purple clouds. I almost felt as bored as Rose and Maggie in their lives with the droning repetition of some unknown fear. This fear constantly pounded on her head causing her to have a migraine and needing to go to bed. The plot innuendo of what Rose's father did to Sarah therefore leaving Sarah to hate her and bully her suggests that Rose may also have been hurt by her father. The second part of the book where she is suddenly married perhaps makes sense to Victorian's but the ending is far to contrived after reading 409 pages of slow built up agony wondering what is happening to Rose to cause her so much fear.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Goethem

    The promise of a historical gothic ghost story had me all in...unfortunately it didn't live up to my expectations. The prose came off as confusing and sometimes head-hopping, the characters fell flat, and everything was overly dramatic without knowing why. When we did find out some of the history to explain the main character's past, it came as large, whole chapter info dumps rather than being woven in. The overall effect was less mysterious and more boring. Much of the time I was rolling at my The promise of a historical gothic ghost story had me all in...unfortunately it didn't live up to my expectations. The prose came off as confusing and sometimes head-hopping, the characters fell flat, and everything was overly dramatic without knowing why. When we did find out some of the history to explain the main character's past, it came as large, whole chapter info dumps rather than being woven in. The overall effect was less mysterious and more boring. Much of the time I was rolling at my eyes at the silly conversations and how characters were giggling/snorting/smiling when it didn't seem called for. I kept trying to love it, but finally gave up by page 140. Too bad, I had high hopes for this one.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Johnson

    This is one I desperately wanted to like. Real gothic horror is such a rarity these days, and I loved the entire aesthetic this novel was going for. The problem is, the pacing is so incredibly tedious, describing each item in a room in excruciating detail, especially clothing. While it's very evocative at times, it can get old quickly, especially when you're waiting for something shocking or supernatural to happen. With a few cuts, this could have been something special, and I believe I will rev This is one I desperately wanted to like. Real gothic horror is such a rarity these days, and I loved the entire aesthetic this novel was going for. The problem is, the pacing is so incredibly tedious, describing each item in a room in excruciating detail, especially clothing. While it's very evocative at times, it can get old quickly, especially when you're waiting for something shocking or supernatural to happen. With a few cuts, this could have been something special, and I believe I will revisit someday, but as it is its a little too dense for its own good.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Angie Fidler

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kaylea

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lira

  18. 5 out of 5

    Pereit

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kim Childress

  20. 4 out of 5

    Fifi | A Fairytale Dream

  21. 4 out of 5

    joy baer

  22. 5 out of 5

    Two Nerds With Words

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Blaylock

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Iqbal

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Scearce

  26. 5 out of 5

    Eva B

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

  28. 5 out of 5

    Josette

  29. 4 out of 5

    Matasatan

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nancy (The Avid Reader)

  31. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

  32. 4 out of 5

    Yurena

  33. 5 out of 5

    H.R. Mason

  34. 5 out of 5

    Renee Ross

  35. 5 out of 5

    Sandi

  36. 4 out of 5

    Alex Helm

  37. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Wheeler Leighty

  38. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

  39. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  40. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty Carson

  41. 5 out of 5

    Nikki (Dark.Side.of.the.Tome)

  42. 5 out of 5

    Elle

  43. 5 out of 5

    Ariana

  44. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Park

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