Natasha Preston’s “The Celler” will leave you with chills

The latest book by the UK writer is not for the faint at heart

Nazifa Hassan, Arts & Culture Writer

“The Cellar,” by British thriller-writer Natasha Preston is a gut-wrenching novel that follows the dark twisted story of a young 16 year old girl, Summer Robinson, who is abducted and held captive for six consecutive months. 

Based on true events, the book is written from three alternating perspectives: Summer’s perspective, her boyfriend, Lewis and Clover, the kidnapper. Clover abducted Summer outside of a party, and he then proceeds to rename her “Lily” and holds her hostage in a cellar along with three other girls: Poppy, Rose and Violet. He renames the girls to match his obsession with flowers and view them as his family.

The ideas of perseverance and fortitude are widely shown in the novel as we learn about the obstacles Summer faces throughout her time in the cellar, as well as the relationship she builds with the other girls and how she copes with her new lifestyle. The emotions displayed in this book are sorrowful and raw.

The supporting characters have had an incredible impact on the storyline as well — especially Rose, who has been held hostage the longest (three years). Despite her true feelings, Rose has fully settled herself into Clover’s rules.  The author, Preston, was very clever in the way she outlined the physiological trauma Rose endured in her time in the cellar. 

Poppy is another secondary character who goes along with Clover’s actions against her true nature. Violet, on the other hand, is resistant and strikes at him a few times. 

Throughout the book, the author does an extraordinary job portraying the mental traumas Clover has undergone, including severe OCD, childhood trauma and abuse.  Clover has severe OCD and keeps strict cleaning rules for the girls; they are to shower twice a day and wear clothes that he specifically buys for them. They have a bedtime and wake-up time as well. 

Preston does an incredible job presenting the nature of kidnappings. If you are someone who enjoys suspenseful, eerie novels, this is a great book for you, as it will keep you on the edge of your seat.

“‘The Cellar’ is very intriguing, and keeps you on your toes,” said Siniyah Nichols, a freshmen student here at RV. I must agree, it’s not like anything I have read before and incredibly captivating.

Also, I would like to add that there are parts in the book in which Summer discusses the forceful sexual relationship Clover had with the girls as well as physical abuse and descriptive killing scenes. If you are sensitive to those matters, you should be aware of them going into the text.

I read this book last year while trying to get out of a reading slump and I must say, it helped. I have found myself thinking of this book months after I had finished it, it truly leaves a mark on you.


Rating: 9.5/10