The Spare Room by Andrea Bartz

Published: June 20, 2023

Ballantine Books

Pages: 341

Genre: Women’s Psychological Thriller

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Andrea Bartz is a Brooklyn-based journalist and the New York Times bestselling author of the Reese’s Book Club pick WE WERE NEVER HERE. Her second thriller, THE HERD, was named a best book of 2020 by Real Simple, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping, CrimeReads, and other outlets. Her LA-Times bestselling debut, THE LOST NIGHT, was optioned for TV development by Mila Kunis. It was named a best book of the year by Real Simple, Glamour, Marie Claire, Library Journal, Crime Reads, Popsugar, She Reads, and other publications. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, Elle, and many other outlets, and she’s held editorial positions at Glamour, Psychology Today, and Self, among other titles.

Kelly’s new life in Philadelphia has turned into a nightmare: She’s friendless and jobless, and the lockdown has her trapped in a tiny apartment with the man she gave up everything for, who’s just called off their wedding. The only bright spot is her newly rekindled friendship with her childhood friend Sabrina—now a glamorous bestselling author with a handsome, high-powered husband.

When Sabrina and Nathan offer Kelly an escape hatch, volunteering the spare room of their remote Virginia mansion, she jumps at the chance to run away from her old life. There, Kelly secretly finds herself falling for both her enchanting hosts—until one night, a wild and unexpected threesome leads the couple to open their marriage for her.

At first, Kelly loves being part of this risqué new world. But when she discovers that the last woman they invited into their marriage is missing, she starts to wonder if they could be dangerous . . . and if she might be next.

“Secrets are easy to keep when the world is on lockdown.”

Kelly is heartbroken when her fiancé tells her he wants to pump the breaks on their relationship. But luckily, she has rekindled a friendship with someone from high school. Sabrina has offered to have Kelly stay with her and her husband, Nathan, in their secluded and safe mansion. Kelly can’t believe it. Then the secrets start to be revealed.

This was intense. What started innocently enough quickly turned into something else. The build-up was well done. It was a bit odd reading about a period that was in the heaviest portion of the pandemic.

The characters were well done. I didn’t care for the main character, Kelly, much. She was needy, prone to crying over everything, and too pliable. Sabrina seemed great, but she was pushy and a tad manipulative. Nathan gave off creepy vibes.

The twists in the book will take readers by surprise. The way things escalate and then crescendo into chaos is unexpected and wild. The ultimate twist was so well choreographed and played out seamlessly.

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