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Sophia was made for him. Her perfect husband. She can feel it in her bones. He is perfect. Their home together in Arcadia Gardens is perfect. Everything is perfect.

It’s just that he’s away so much. So often. He works so hard. She misses him. And he misses her. He says he does, so it must be true. He is the perfect husband and everything is perfect.

But sometimes Sophia wonders about things. Strange things. Dark things. The look on her husband’s face when he comes back from a long business trip. The questions he will not answer. The locked basement she is never allowed to enter. And whenever she asks the neighbors, they can’t quite meet her gaze…


Rating: 2 out of 5.

Valente has written several of my favorite books, so I was pretty psyched to get approved for an ARC from her. Unfortunately, overall this was a miss for me. While the story itself, when it finally came together, was interesting and a had some cool ideas, the monotonous writing made the simple 90 minute read feel pretty quickly like a chore. It’s only 112 pages and by the halfway mark, “repetitive” was my main takeaway.

The last thing you want is for a novella to be described as too long with an anti-climactic end. My thought was, “oh is that all? That’s cool I guess,” when I finished it last night and today, less than 24 hours later, I actually struggled a little to even remember the ending.

It absolutely did not help that the NetGalley copy had a ton of formatting errors and there were multiple background inconsistencies that I still can’t tell you if they were there on purpose for some reason for the story or if just literally no one proof read this even once before it went out as an ARC.

Some interesting, very Valente ideas are here but definitely missing the spark and atmosphere her writing is usually overflowing with.