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The Overnight Guest: A Novel
by Heather Gudenkauf

Published: 2022-01-25T00:0
Paperback : 352 pages
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“Fully realized, wholly absorbing and almost painfully suspenseful...The journey is mesmerizing.” —New York Times

A woman receives an unexpected visitor during a deadly snowstorm in this chilling thriller from New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf.

True crime ...

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Introduction

“Fully realized, wholly absorbing and almost painfully suspenseful...The journey is mesmerizing.” —New York Times

A woman receives an unexpected visitor during a deadly snowstorm in this chilling thriller from New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf.

True crime writer Wylie Lark doesn’t mind being snowed in at the isolated farmhouse where she’s retreated to write her new book. A cozy fire, complete silence. It would be perfect, if not for the fact that decades earlier, at this very house, two people were murdered in cold blood and a girl disappeared without a trace.

As the storm worsens, Wylie finds herself trapped inside the house, haunted by the secrets contained within its walls—haunted by secrets of her own. Then she discovers a small child in the snow just outside. After bringing the child inside for warmth and safety, she begins to search for answers. But soon it becomes clear that the farmhouse isn’t as isolated as she thought, and someone is willing to do anything to find them.

And don't miss these other great stories by Heather!

The Weight of Silence
These Things Hidden
Little Mercies
MIssing Pieces
Not a Sound
Before She Was Found
This is How I Lied

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Discussion Questions

1. With Wylie’s tragic history, why do you think she would choose to be a true crime writer where she is continually faced with the brutal realities of violence and its impact on victims and their families? Why do you think Wylie felt the need to return to Burden and her childhood home in order to write her book?

2. Discuss the rural setting of the novel. How do you think living in Burden shaped the characters? How would the story be different if it was set in a large city?

3. The child says, “It isn’t the dark you should be afraid of… It’s the monsters who step out into the light that you need to fear.” What do you think they meant by this?

4. Wylie and Becky vowed to be “sisters forever.” After all that they’ve been through, what do you think their friendship will look like? Will it last? Why or why not?

5. THE OVERNIGHT GUEST is set in a blizzard and in the scorching heat of summer. What role does weather play in the story, both literally and metaphorically?

6. The child says there are three kinds of dark. What is the relationship that each of the characters have to darkness? How does it change throughout the novel?

7. Parenthood is a common theme throughout the story. How does it manifest itself throughout the story? How did each of the characters step into that role?

8. Wylie, Becky and Josie have been through so much. Where do you see them a year from now? Five years? Twenty?

9. Discuss the ways in which the idea of being a prisoner is explored throughout the story for each of the characters.

10. By the end of the novel, we learn secrets that change the way we think about certain characters and the way the characters see one another. What character do you think changed the most over the course of the book? How did your opinions of the characters change throughout the story?

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