The Cellar by Natasha Preston started, for me anyway, with the pretty covers. I know it's always about the color and the cover design. Upon reading the back cover, I was interested. As I started reading, I became terrified. I think this may have been a contributing factor as to why it took me a while to finish. *By the way, I did finish this and the next book a few months ago, however time has been escaping me lately. Again, my apologies.*
Summer soon discovers these three women were also abducted, but none had a home, a family, or any kind of life to go back to. Each morning, the four women must dress in almost identical clothes to sit down at breakfast where Clover greets them. Then they have the entire day while the man of the house is at work to read, watch movies, or just sit idling. Clover puts on this persona of a fake family to come home to because he has no one to call his own. The women are given a home and expected to obey. The flowers are a symbol of how everything grows together; and now Summer finds herself expecting to be the perfect "Lily" in order to blend into the family.
Weeks turn to months, but Summer is still optimistic that her family and the love of her life, Louis, will find her somehow. However, the cellar is always locked, and even when opportunity strikes for escape, Summer has seen the result of those who try to cross Clover. Summer must continually keep herself strong in the hopes that one day she will be able to be free; but first she must endure the torture Clover has in store- which in reality is just becoming a family filled with love, affection, and perhaps once he has known his "flower" for a longer time, much needed sexual release. The other women seem delusional, but there is this constant hope within Summer, as well as her family members, to get her back home.
Quite honestly there were a lot of times in this novel I was legitimately scared. The villain, Clover, is a psycho. He slips into everyday life by having a normal job, a normal life, and when he does go shopping for clothes he always seems to have the right answers to draw suspicion away. It was actually terrifying to know how easy it was to kidnap and hold these women, and it was even worse to know the man considered them his "family". It makes you really consider serial killers, serial rapists, and kidnappers.
I believe the story ended a little conveniently, but I don't think the author could ethically ended it differently. You travel with this young naive protagonist through the horror of murder, rape, and kidnapping; your only hope is the light at the end, even if it's death for some. I did give this story 4 stars on Good reads because it was well written and it caused me to have these feelings of fear. In fact there were a few nights when I had legit nightmares of events. There are other novels Preston wrote with a similar premise, but I think I want to skip those. The book is very close to real life and the mind of a psychopath, so I feel one is enough to give me a good view on what we see. Be my guest to keep going. The book was easy to get through...physically anyway.