On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new thriller by Elisabeth Carpenter, The Vacancy.
Running from her past, Rachel answers an advert to be a live-in assistant to glamorous and eccentric author Dorothy Winters. But behind the closed doors of Dorothy’s house, she quickly discovers that nothing is as it seems.
When Dorothy’s manuscript throws up striking similarities to events in Rachel’s own life, she becomes convinced that the past she’s tried to hide is catching up with her.
Then the phone calls start. The parcel arrives. The blood shows up in the bathroom.
And Dorothy’s friend disappears.
Terrified of being blamed for murder, Rachel has nobody left to turn to.
Because who can she believe when she doesn’t even trust herself…?
The Vacancy is a tense, highly intriguing new thriller by Elisabeth Carpenter which, to me, felt very fresh. We meet Rachel who answers a job application for live-in assistant to famous writer, Dorothy Winters. Rachel is bowled over when she receives the news that she has got the job. Dorothy is a complex character, but Rachel soon settles into her new life. Soon, strange things start happening and Rachel begins to wonder what is going on here and what sort of person Dorothy Winters really is.
I was fascinated by Rachel. When she arrives at Dorothy’s, we can see that she is doing this to make a new start in her life. Something has happened to her. I wanted to know what it was that had happened in her past and what secrets she was keeping. Elisabeth Carpenter gradually reveals what this is, and the true picture of Rachel begins to emerge. I was intrigued by Dorothy as well. Dorothy was a successful author in the 90s and is working on a new manuscript which Rachel is having to type. As Rachel begins to type Dorothy’s chapters, she realises that the story she’s working on bears a haunting similarity to events which have happened in her own life. Coincidence?
I loved Rachel’s voice which drew me into the story. It felt as though someone is watching Rachel as she settles into her new life. There are snippets throughout the book where it appears as though someone is spying and recording what she is doing. It kept the tension ticking up a notch as I wondered if this was the case. Who could be following her? As Rachel gets to know her new employer she starts snooping around her house, to try and find out more about her. I thought this was a very bold move of Rachel to make and it made me wonder what she might potentially find out about Dorothy. What would happen if Dorothy found out what she was doing?
Elisabeth Carpenter begins to reveal what is really going on here and there was one twist which floored me. I thought it was very clever and it gives the book such a haunting feeling as we draw closer to the end; I thought the ending was very satisfying.
Elisabeth Carpenter has written an another utterly addictive psychological thriller with real emotional depth and the tension keeps you turning the pages. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Publication date: 5th August 2021
Print length: 432 pages
The Vacancy is available to buy: