The Stranger in Our House - Sarah A. Denzil

Reading Challenge Category: Free ARC from NetGalley

Official Blurb:

What would you do if your son became a stranger overnight?
Tired of their cramped London apartment, Aaron and Meera relocate to the idyllic village of Little Crake along with their two children, Noah and Uma. The new cottage looks out over the many miles of woodland beyond. It’s a far cry from their tiny flat and the perfect fresh start.
Until fifteen-year-old Noah wanders alone into the forest. For three days, a search party combs the woods. Aaron braces himself for the worst, convinced his son is lost forever. Until he finds Noah alive, hiding in the hollow of a tree. It feels like a second chance.
But why doesn’t Noah remember those three days in the woods? And why are there strange cuts slashed across his torso? Why did he cover himself in mud and hide away in an old oak tree?
Once a studious and gentle boy, Noah becomes a troublemaker at school. He withdraws from his family, sleepwalks at night, and creates eerie sketches of Dark Valley Forest. Aaron tells himself that Noah just needs time to readjust. He’ll soon be himself again. But Meera believes otherwise. This new version of Noah is harsh and cruel—a complete stranger.
A mother knows when something is wrong with her child. Aaron may be deluded, but she knows the boy who came back from the woods is not their son.

My Thoughts:

The forward of this book had me intrigued right from the start. Was this based on a true story? What did happen in Little Crake? I needed to read this to find out!
It is set out as a series of diary entries mainly from the father’s point of view, but it did have a few of the daughter’s in there and a few voice note diary entries from the mother. There was the odd newspaper clipping, but I felt these were too sparse, and a few more different items needed to be interspersed to round the story out a little.
It was undoubtedly a very bizarre read, and I had no idea where it was going. It starts off with the immediate aftereffects of Noah having been missing for three days. When he returns, his behaviour is very strange, and his parents and sister start worrying about what happened to him in the woods. As the story progresses, so does their paranoia and fear.
It has a very supernatural feel to the story, which isn’t my favourite genre, but it was done quite well that you could rationalise it if you needed to.
The ending was a bit bizarre and came out of nowhere. I felt a little cheated by the end as it didn’t explain Noah’s behaviour. He knew what had happened in the woods, but he acted as if that hadn’t happened and something else had instead. His creepy grin and strange behaviour were sort of accepted due to what had happened to him, but for me, it made no sense.
So, overall it was a gripping and thrilling book, but I was somewhat let down by the ending!

The Stranger in our House
by Sarah A. Denzil
Date Started
9th January 2023
Date Finished
13th January 2023