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Saturday, December 29, 2018

Shivery Gothic Story a Satisfying Yarn

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

It's been two centuries since the famed Salem Witch Trials took place, but that doesn't mean a Massachusetts woman can't still be accused of conjuring evil.  Lydia Montrose should know.  Although the 18-year-old is quiet and serious, there's a restless itch inside her that sometimes grows into more.  It's whispers of a scandal involving her older sister, however, that force the family to flee Boston.  As they settle into Willow Hall—their country home in tiny, isolated New Oldburg—both Lydia and her younger sister, Emeline, feel happier, especially thanks to their association with handsome John Barrett.  While Lydia falls helplessly in love with the only man who's ever really noticed her, Caroline, the eldest, only grows more self-centered.    

Despite its idyllic setting, Willow Hall is a place acquainted with tragedy and sorrow.  It's not long before its quiet darkness seeps into the sisters' souls, taunting them with a power that will take its toll on the entire Montrose family.  As the dormant force that lies asleep inside Lydia slowly awakens, she will have to harness what she doesn't understand in order to save everyone and everything she's ever loved ... 

The Witch of Willow Hall, a debut novel by Hester Fox, has gotten a lot of buzz this year.  And deservedly so.  Its bewitching (See what I did there?) backdrop, compelling plot line, and shivery Gothic vibe combine to create a read that is engrossing and entertaining.  Lydia is a sympathetic heroine whose bravery and kindness make her an appealing character to follow.  Her relationship with her sisters feels authentic, true.  While this is a sad novel, it ends on a hopeful note which, combined with its other appealing aspects, makes The Witch of Willow Hall a very satisfying read.  I loved it.  

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare and a little bit of Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (no F-bombs), violence, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of The Witch of Willow Hall from the generous folks at Harlequin via those at NetGalley.  Thank you! 

1 comment:

  1. The Witch of Willow Hall sounds like an intense, fun read. I'd probably read it if I get the chance. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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