Review: The Resting Place by Camilla Sten

I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

Eleanor didn’t remember the face of the person who killed the formidable grandmother who’d raised her, Vivianne. Even though the killer walked right past Eleanor after stabbing Vivianne with scissors. She couldn’t remember in therapy, in dreams, not even in her PTSD induced hallucinations. Eleanor didn’t remember anyone’s face: she has prosopagnosia, face blindness.

Eleanor, her partner Sebastian, and her aunt Veronika are summoned to her grandmother’s remote summer house in Sweden, Solhöga, by the estate’s lawyer, Rickard. Eleanor is already uneasy, because Vivianne’s killer is still out there somewhere, and then she finds the diary of Anushka, a maid at Solhöga before her mother was born. Disturbing occurrences in the old mansion start happening the first night, and Eleanor’s unease slowly builds to real fear. Is she going mad? Is the killer stalking them at the house? Or is a family secret coming back to endanger them all?

This is the second book I’ve read by Camilla Sten, and The Resting Place is definitely on par with The Lost Village for slow-burn Nordic horror. Eleanor narrates the present-set story, so we don’t really know if she’s having flashback PTSD hallucinations or if something nefarious is really happening. Anushka narrates the past-set story, which details, slowly, the events that set off this family’s troubles. The transitions between “now” and “then” are really well written, and the weave of events between the two are well matched through a satisfying and surprising ending.

I rated this one 4 instead of 5 only because I found some of Eleanor’s narration to be a little slow, in the same way I want to yell at characters in a horror movie when they’re too busy in their own heads and making poor decisions. I took a couple of breaks while reading The Resting Place, but I kept coming back to find out what happened. Sten’s twisty plot threads and complicated characters make it wonderfully difficult to predict what will happen next, and I loved that. If you’re a fan of gothic horror with some Nordic noir mixed in, I recommend The Resting Place.

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