The Evening Spider
By: Emily Arsenault
Unique parallels are drawn between a character from the past and one from the present, as the two have shared the same house 130 apart. Frances Barnett records the events and details of the months that lead to her forced hospitalization in a state mental institution in the year of 1885. Later, Abby Bernacki, a young mother much like Frances had been all those years before senses another presence in her house and is determined to get to the bottom of it. Believing the presence to be the spirit of Frances Barnett, Abby searches for the truth about what happened to this young woman that has been buried with the past. The result is is a mystery that draws you in and ensnares your attention much in the same way that a spider does it’s prey. The life and struggles from a stranger from the past come to life as Abby reads the pages of an old diary gifted to her by the Barnett family. Life was great for Frances, but having a baby brought new fears as she began to uncover dangerous secrets about one of the people closest to her. Being sent away to a mental institution was a one way trip for many in 1885, but Frances fights to free herself as Abby is set upon clearing her family name in the present.
My favorite thing about this novel is the way in which it is written. Short snippets from the past collide with events from the present day to mirror a similar situation in two very different worlds. The language in which Frances writes in her journal transport the reader back in time as the events for the present rip her back to the present. I very much enjoyed reading The Evening Spider by Emily Arsenault. Her past successes don’t cloud this story but have brought her to this point, almost as if they were a carriage transporting the author to a further point in her career. Arsenault is deservedly receiving much praise in this, her latest book.