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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Spare Room

Narrator: Brittany Pressley

Random House Audio

ISBN: 978-1984820495

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publication Date: 06/20/2023

Format: Other

My Rating: 3.5 Stars (ARC)

Staying with a friend and her husband is more intimate—and dangerous—than anyone could imagine in this provocative new thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of the Reese’s Book Club pick We Were Never Here.

Kelly Doyle’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 in her life is her newly rekindled friendship with her childhood friend, Sabrina—now a glamorous bestselling author with a handsome, high-powered husband.

When they 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, she finds she loves living with them . . . and, much to her surprise, that she’s falling for both her enchanting hosts. Even more shocking: They say they share Kelly’s feelings and want to open up their marriage for her.

At first, the arrangement is blissful. But as their relationship deepens, Kelly begins to notice the cracks. The stories about their romantic past keep changing, and the more details she uncovers, the more things don’t add up. It’s only a matter of time before Kelly discovers the terrifying truth: They’ve done all this before . . . and the last woman is missing.

Cut off from the world and in way over her head, Kelly must risk everything to uncover the couple’s secrets—before she becomes their next guest to disappear.

My Review

NYT bestselling author Andrea Bartz returns following We Were Never Here with her latest, edgy, seductive, and creepy romantic suspense, THE SPARE ROOM. Things turn heated and deadly when a young woman stays with a friend and her husband in their isolated alluring mansion.

Kelly Doyle's life (age 34) is not going so well. During the lockdown in Philly, she is trapped in her apartment with Mike, the man who just called off their wedding.

Fortunately, she has found her childhood friend, Sabrina Lamont (introvert) —who is now a glamorous NYT bestselling romance author with a handsome, high-powered husband, Nathan (extrovert), with a high-ranking government job—a power couple.

They have a spare room in their Virginia mansion and offered for her to stay with them temporarily. She did not have Sabrina's number three weeks earlier, and they followed one another on IG.

Located an hour outside DC, Tanglewood Estates with tall gates surrounding each mansion, blocking out the outside world and a lush pool. AT 327 Tanglewood Drive is a stately mansion with tall windows overlooking a cemetery next door.

Kelly arrives with her cat Virgo. Soon Kelly secretly finds herself falling for both of her dazzling hosts—until one night, a wild and unexpected threesome leads the couple to open their marriage for her. Something forbidden and wild. She may never go back.

UNTIL she discovers their prior partner is missing. Someone left a mysterious note on the gate: LEAVE.

This Gothic-vibe locked room is creepy, atmospheric, and dangerous. There are videos. An ex that is now missing. The woman in the Polaroids.

Deadly, dangerous, a nightmare. Can this couple be trusted? Kelly ignores the red flags, the power plays, gaslighting, and the betrayals.

THE SPARE ROOM is challenging to describe. A strange erotic romantic suspense (not my thing) crosses a Gothic whodunit murder mystery rolled into a domestic suspense popcorn semi-thriller for entertainment, with a ton of disbelief.

Thanks to #RandomHouse for a gifted ARC via #NetGalley for review purposes. I have no doubt Brittany Pressley will take this one to another level for the audiobook.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 3.5 Stars


“An enticing, twisty, and seductive thriller about obsession, desire, and revenge.”

—Nita Prose, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Maid

“Bartz’s latest showstopper kept me up all night turning pages. Propulsive and sexy, The Spare Room left me gasping for air as I followed its main character into the fiery heart of a dark, complicated romance. Kelly Doyle must contend not only with two new lovers but her own expectations surrounding relationships and sexuality. This is one visit you won’t want to end.”

—Ana Reyes, New York Times bestselling author of The House in the Pines

“Sexy, atmospheric, deliciously creepy, and ingeniously plotted: the best kind of up-all-night page-turner.”

—Lucy Foley, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Apartment and The Guest List

“A fresh and sexy ride, perfect for reading poolside.”

—People (Best New Book)

“The novel is delightfully salacious and rampant with suspense and sex, and there’s a reason why Bartz is known as a hitmaker in the field.”


“Andrea Bartz has returned to deliver. This suspense story set in a Virginia mansion features some eyebrow-raising twists, especially when protagonist Kelly finds herself charmed by her hosts—and welcomed into their bed.”


“I love a story where a woman throws convention to the wind and has to deal with messy consequences, and The Spare Room does it brilliantly. I never knew what would happen next! This book offers a delicious mix of romance and mystery that I couldn't get enough of.”

—Marie Rutkoski, New York Times bestselling author of Real Easy

“With its dazzling prose, fascinating dynamics between characters, and dark, twisty plot, The Spare Room has all the trademarks of an Andrea Bartz novel—while being her sexiest and most exciting book yet. I couldn’t stop turning the pages; some of these scenes will be seared into my brain forever.”

—Megan Collins, author of The Family Plot, Behind the Red Door, and The Winter Sister

“Rife with tension, taut desire, and jaw-dropping twists, The Spare Room lures us into a moneyed world as gothic as it is glamorous, where the difference between romantic dreams—and murderous nightmares—quickly becomes impossible to decipher. . . . A sensuous, spine-tingling thriller that’s impossible to put down!”

—Leah Konen, author of The Perfect Escape, You Should Have Told Me, and All the Broken People

"Packed with Andrea Bartz’s signature tension, twists, and toxic relationships, The Spare Room marks an edgy, boundary-pushing new direction from the “master of the ‘feminist thriller’”

—Los Angeles Times

About the Author

Credit: A. Jesse Jiryu Davis

Andrea Bartz is a Brooklyn-based journalist and the author of the forthcoming 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, Martha Stewart Living, Elle, and many other outlets, and she's held editorial positions at Glamour, Psychology Today, and Self, among other titles. WEBSITE

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