Maud's life takes a turn for the better when a letter from an estranged relative appears out of the blue to offer her a warm bed at Windward House. Unsurprisingly, Maud finds herself as an companion to Juliana Greenwood, her sometimes overly dramatic, sometimes compassionate relative, who is only a bit more manipulative than Maud at times. Maud can't help that she sees and/or feels that there is something out there that's bent on getting her: the laudanum helps her sleep, helps her cope with her nightmares. But as the devil slowly makes its presence known as it terrorizes Grenville, has she unleashed her nightmare out into reality?
I actually don't like being omniscient when it comes to Maud's thoughts. Instead of being grateful for being offered a place to stay without wandering, entitled grown men passing by for a grope, she also cultivates a dislike for Juliana for inheriting Windward House. It's not Juliana's fault that Maud's father was rather loose with money - which Maud herself constantly turned a blind eye to. And to cap it off, she had laudanum dependency problems, so she was always paranoid and accusing people of the strangest things (like following her, because Maud is pretty self-obsessed) so no matter how John Shawcross described the loveliness of Maud, she was probably the ugliest protagonist - inside and out - I have ever come across. Some trials in life have made people stronger, and maybe a bit bitter; Maud 's tribulations in life only makes her resentful and calculating. I wanted John Shawcross to find himself a lovely girl who was not Maud, or that equally dreadful girl from the pharmacy, because even if he first fell in love with the hauntingly empty beauty of Maud, he did love her wholly, and I didn't think that Maud deserved that.
The thriller was exciting at first, but in the end, it fell flat. I myself couldn't settle for the paltry convenience of what actually happened, but maybe I'm a bit biased because I really didn't like Maud. While Juliana wasn't the easiest patient nor the kindest relative, I hardly think that it was enough justification for Maud to think of the inheritance she would undoubtedly come into even before Juliana has passed. Juliana may be selfish and manipulative, but then she is also unloved. And while this may not be enough to justify her actions, I just wished that Maud would have been more understanding to that. (Which I now realize, is hard because Maud is self-obsessed, so thinking of anyone besides herself would be challenging.)
While the writing of Devil in the Corner is solid, easy to read, and that it may suck you in, I just came away hollow from the whole book. There was no love lost, nor love found, but neither would I say that this is a book that I'd remember or forget.
Devil in the Corner may appeal to fans of Gothic work, if they aren't put off by the heroine's hideousness as a being, and often lack for human empathy.