Synopses & Reviews
Her dream home is about to become a house of nightmares...
From the moment Lacey glimpses the dusty-rose colonial cottage with its angled dormer windows and quaint wooden shutters, she knows she's found her dream house. Walking through its cozy rooms, the expectant mother can see her future children sitting on the round bottom step of the house's beautifully carved staircase, and she imagines them playing beneath the giant maple tree in the warm South Carolina sun. It doesn't matter to Lacey and her husband, Eric, that people had died there years before.
But soon their warm and welcoming house turns cold. There is something malevolent within the walls—a disturbing presence that only Lacey can sense. And there is Drew, a demanding and jealous little boy who mysteriously appears when Lacey is alone. Protective of this enigmatic child who reminds her of the troubled students she used to teach, Lacey bakes cookies and plays games to amuse him. Yet, as she quickly discovers, Drew is unpredictable—and dangerous.
Fearing for her baby's safety, Lacey sets out to uncover the truth about Drew and her dream house—a search for answers that takes her into the past, into the lives of a long-dead family whose tragic secrets could destroy her. To save her loved ones, Lacey must find a way to lay a terrifying evil to rest...before she, Eric, and their child become its next victims.
"This stylish debut novel from Condit employs a supernatural horror element that drives the main conflict. Lacey Miszlak, a pregnant fourth-grade schoolteacher, and her husband, Eric, a divorce attorney at his uncle's law firm, are searching for their dream 'starter house' in Greeneburg, a fictitious city in South Carolina. Lacey falls in love with a Cape Cod being fixed up for sale by a man who lives next door, Harry Rakoczy, who cuts the Miszlaks a good deal. After the Miszlaks move in, Lacey collides with a rambunctious nine-year-old boy riding his bicycle; he introduces himself as Drew. After Lacey's doctor puts her on bed rest, Eric summons her mother, Ella Dane Kendall, a freewheeling herbalist, to help. Lacey makes the perturbing discovery that she lives in what the locals call the 'murder house' that 'eats babies,' while also beginning to suspect that Drew, whom she has befriended, is a ghost. Meanwhile, Eric represents Lex Hall, whose wife Jeanne is divorcing him and taking their one-year-old daughter, Theo. Lacey's fears over her and Eric's safety escalate when Drew's destructive force damages the upstairs. She learns the truth from Drew about what happened where she lives before her baby is born there. Eric connects Lex to the troubled house and Drew, before Condit's entertaining debut novel shifts into high gear for the violent showdown. Agent: Jenny Bent, the Bent Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“[a] stylish debut novel” Publishers Weekly
“If this novel were a movie, you could close your eyes to save yourself from its scariest parts, but it is a book and its haunting elements are inescapable. A promising start by a new author, this will appeal to those looking for a disturbing story.” Booklist
“Good, scary fun, packed with emotional nuance” Kirkus Reviews
“Beautifully written in luminous prose, Starter House kept me up late at night with its disturbing, tangled tale of childhood and what it means to be a parent. Despite the darkness, Condits prose has so much heart and emotion, [...] I couldnt put it down.” Yangsze Choo, author of THE GHOST BRIDE
“A creepy creepy book that I am so thankful that I did not start reading until many months after buying my first house! [...] The book definitely takes some risks and thankfully the pacing was superb, so it made the book hard to put down!” Kritters Ramblings
“Sonja Condits debut is a poetic and chilling read! The perfect blend of creepy suspense and lyrical prose, I feel Starter House is sure to appeal to readers who enjoy literary fiction as well as the darker stuff.” No More Grumpy Bookseller
“The tone of Starter House was foreboding, and had me wishing I only stuck to reading it during daytime hours. [...] I would definitely add the Starter House to your TBR list for Halloween this year, it would be a perfect creepy read for the month of October!” BoundbyWords
“I could easily see this book as a movie, and I highly recommend Starter House to anyone who wants a change from the usual haunted house genre.” Sweet Southern Home blog
“a great creepy and gothic read that will keep you reading with a flashlight under the covers late into the night!” Book Addict Katie
Promising talent Sonja Condit makes her debut with Starter House
, an eerie and mesmerizing tale about a young couple whose new house holds deadly secrets from the past, sure to appeal to fans of Heart-Shaped Box
and The Thirteenth Tale.
From the moment Lacey sees the house with the beautiful wood staircase, she knows shes found her dream home. Growing up rootless with her flighty mother, Ella Dane, a self-proclaimed psychic, Lacey is determined to give her unborn baby the stability she never had.
But shortly after she and her husband, Eric, move in, the warm and welcoming house becomes cold and dark. There is something malevolent within these walls that wants to hurt her unborn child—a terrifying presence that only she can sense. And there is Drew, a demanding and temperamental little boy who mysteriously appears when Lacey is alone.
To protect her unborn child and save her family, Lacy must discover the truth about her dream house and the troubled Drew—a decades-old mystery involving secrets, violence, and guilt—and confront an evil that has lingered in wait for years.
About the Author
Sonja Condit received her MFA from Converse College, where she studied with Robert Olmstead, Leslie Pietrzyk, R. T. Smith, and Marlin Barton. Her short fiction has appeared in Shenandoah magazine, among other publications. She plays principal bassoon in the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra and the Greater Anderson Musical Arts Consortium. She teaches at the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities.