Publication date: December 31, 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks
Source: Digital ARC from publisher via Edelweiss
Description from Goodreads:
In the vein of Heart-Shaped Box and The Thirteenth Tale, Starter House is a haunting and skillfully told debut novel about a newlywed couple and their first home-a home that seems to be haunted by a very malicious ghost
Lacey Miszlak grew up homeless; her crazy mother dragged her from one terrible living situation to the next. But now she thinks the pieces of her life have finally come together. She's pregnant with her first child and she and her husband Eric have moved into the home of their dreams. She knows soon its beautiful sunlit rooms will be filled with the joy of the new family she will build there.
But there's a strange darkness on the stairway and an odd little boy who won't leave Lacey alone and soon she's forced to realize that a danger she never suspected is lurking in the hallways of her beautiful new home. She's going to have to solve a decades-old mystery to save her family from an evil that has lingered in wait for them for years.
I wanted to read Starter House because I love ghost stories and the premise sounded interesting with lots of potential. I enjoyed the book quite a lot. I read it in a day and it was very much one of those books that I just had to finish as quickly as possible.
There are so many clues that Lacy shouldn't buy the house that catches her eye - but she ignores all of them, of course. Lacy is a visual person and she can see the beauty in the house even before it has been fixed up. The shapes are right and she can see all the things she wants to do to make it into her perfect idea of a home.
This idea of a perfect home is important to Lacy because of how she grew up - a pretty nomadic life that she didn't really understand or like, at all. Lacy believes this lifestyle was chosen by her mother for a specific reason - and it was, just not the reason Lacey thinks. Here is one of the big themes in the book - the idea that even when we think we understand a person's motivations, we really don't. This comes up several times in the book and Lacey eventually seems to learn from her experiences. She tends to come to her own conclusions without even asking the other person - usually not the best way.
The ghost story is interesting and pretty suspenseful throughout the book. But I did think Lacey was pretty slow to pick up on things. However, I will give her the benefit of the doubt because she is pregnant through most of the book and that can cause foggy thinking.
Actually, the book seems to be about a lot of things - for me, anyway. There are young marriage issues to work through, family issues, personal insecurities, and new parenthood to deal with. All of this while trying to deny that the beautiful house you bought is haunted by a very angry and dangerous being.
The ghost story is quite interesting and there are so many characters involved with the story line. It is all very mysterious and spooky. The book was great fun to read. I will be suggesting it to my reader friends.