There is something about a big, empty, dark house. It is ominous and scary, but it also beckons you inside to discover it’s secrets.
Rebecca James’s recent novel, Sweet Damage, is about a dark ominous house and the secrets it keeps.
Tim Ellison is in his early 20’s. He works in his father’s restaurant at night and surfs during the day. The novel starts when he is couch surfing, his current residence is his ex-girlfriend’s apartment. When she kicks him out, he responds to ad where the person posting is looking for a roommate. The rent is cheap and he has one job: look after the house’s owner. Anna London is an emotionally fragile, agoraphobic twenty year old who has not left her home in a very long time. As Tim and Anna interact and begin to spend their free time together, Tim begins to see much of what Anna has tried to hide. Then things start going bump in the night and Tim finds himself attracted to his roommate. Who is Anna London and what secrets does she keep?
I can see traces of Jane Eyre and the works of Ann Radcliffe in this novel. A big empty house, things that force the hairs on your arm to stand on edge and a mysterious man or woman that the lead character finds themselves attracted to. My problem with this book is that it kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. Then the bottom dropped and I was left hanging as a reader. The end felt unfinished and rushed, which is a shame, because up to that point, I was riveted.
Do I recommend this book? If the end of the book felt complete, then I would say yes. But because it felt incomplete and rushed, I have to say no.