ARC Review – A Gothic Chiller

The Only One Left by Riley Sager

Publication Date: June 20, 2023

Summary from NetGalley:

Bestselling author Riley Sager returns with a Gothic chiller about a young caregiver assigned to work for a woman accused of a Lizzie Borden-like massacre decades earlier.

At seventeen, Lenora Hope
Hung her sister with a rope

Now reduced to a schoolyard chant, the Hope family murders shocked the Maine coast one bloody night in 1929. While most people assume seventeen-year-old Lenora was responsible, the police were never able to prove it. Other than her denial after the killings, she has never spoken publicly about that night, nor has she set foot outside Hope’s End, the cliffside mansion where the massacre occurred.

Stabbed her father with a knife
Took her mother’s happy life

It’s now 1983, and home-health aide Kit McDeere arrives at a decaying Hope’s End to care for Lenora after her previous nurse fled in the middle of the night. In her seventies and confined to a wheelchair, Lenora was rendered mute by a series of strokes and can only communicate with Kit by tapping out sentences on an old typewriter. One night, Lenora uses it to make a tantalizing offer—I want to tell you everything.

“It wasn’t me,” Lenora said
But she’s the only one not dead
As Kit helps Lenora write about the events leading to the Hope family massacre, it becomes clear there’s more to the tale than people know. But when new details about her predecessor’s departure come to light, Kit starts to suspect Lenora might not be telling the complete truth—and that the seemingly harmless woman in her care could be far more dangerous than she first thought.

ARC provided by Penguin Group via NetGalley for an honest review.


I just adored this Lizzy Borden like story. The characters were great and the plot was just so amazingly well done, that I didn’t have a clue about who had killed Lenora’s family until the big reveal. I also loved the setting and the gothic vibe that it brought to the story.

Kit is the main character who tells most of the story. While I didn’t exactly like Kit, I found her to be a very sympathetic character. She is in a bit of a rough patch in her life, she is somewhat estranged from her father, her mother recently passed away, and the last thing she wanted to do was to take care of a murderer. But she didn’t have a choice. I did like that she had a rebellious streak to her, and a sense of determination to find out the truth about Lenora’s family, but she does tend to bully people at times on her way to finding the truth.

We also hear part of the story from Lenora through what she is typing with the help of Kit. She is also not very likable, but again as her story unfolds you do feel a bit of sympathy towards her and how her family treated her. But I always felt that she wasn’t telling the whole truth, and she was in fact hiding a really big secret.

There are many other minor characters who play their part in this story. For the most part they are likable, but you don’t really get to know them well. They all have a part to play in the story, and some of them are desperate for Lenora to stay silent. The house itself is also sort of a character, as it creaks and moans and shifts at all of the right moments.

The story is very well done, with a fast pace, and lots of twists and turns throughout. I really wasn’t expecting the murders to go down the way they did, and was totally wrong about who killed who. The only thing I got right was that Mrs. Baker, the housekeeper, wasn’t who we are lead to think she is. The big reveal was well done and I really loved the story up to that point. I was a bit disappointed with the epilogue though, it just wasn’t believable and perhaps went a bit to far.

If you have liked Riley Sager’s other books, than you will probably love this one. It is a story that will keep you up at night wondering who really committed those murders. If you have not yet read any of Mr. Sager’s books, you should think about starting with this one. It is one of his best and my favorite so far, even with that weird epilogue.

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