The Witch of Willow Hall

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: Not set

Member Reviews

Welcome fellow readers, to 1800's Boston, Massachusetts - two centuries after the Salem Witch Trials. Meet Lydia Montrose - she is the daughter of a wealthy businessman and a prim AF lady of the house. She does not shine quite as bright or as boldly as her elder sister Catherine, and she is not as imaginative and carefree as her younger sister Emeline. As a prominent family in the large city of Boston, we enter our story with the devastation of having to leave their established society due to the rumor mill churning on about Lydia's sister Catherine. They've left Boston in the wake of scandal for what was intended to be a summer home in the quiet countryside town of New Oldsberry to make Willow Hall their home. 

Yet at the same time I want to untether my heart, toss it up into the sky and let it take wing. There's a wildness here that, if nothing else, holds promise, possibility.

While Catherine and her mother lament this move, Emeline is too young to care about much except for the prospect of mermaids in a nearby pond. Lydia, having recently had her engagement broken off wants nothing more than to care for her younger sister and avoid any more scandal befalling her family. However, Lydia has past secrets buried deep within her that she must keep bottled up but that Willow Hall seems to want to bring to the surface.

As the family settles into their new home strange happenings seem to follow in Lydia's wake. She hears the deep, painful wails of a woman in mourning, she sees pale-faced little boys roaming the grounds and their tinkling laughter fill the halls. As Lydia continues to ignore these signs, tragedy befalls the Montrose family and these dark secrets about her familial past come bubbling to the surface. 

A witch has a third eye that she may use to see the world not as it is, but as it may be. See what you want to see, bend the vision to your will.

In addition to the historical fiction/fantasy that Fox has constructed here, there is a bit of romance thrown in. Based on the synopsis I didn't see this coming and while I haven't been reading a lot of romance recently I'm honestly a sucker for a good love story. I love getting swept up in the excitement that goes along with romance and I'm a bit of a cheese-ball so I loved seeing that pop up here. However, I think that even if you aren't a big romance fan that it wouldn't sway you from enjoying this story. The romance isn't overwhelming or insta-love the way many are these days. It feels genuine and my heart soared and sank as the romance ebbed and flowed and I was absolutely on the edge of my seat to see how it all played out.

"Lydia Montrose," he said, his sea-storm eyes dancing with light, "you are an exquisite little mystery and I have never wanted anything or anyone so badly in my life." I mean - COME ON. *swooning*

What left me wanting a bit more with this one, however, was that it got a bit bogged down on weaving what felt like less necessary plot points. I was left wanting a bit more witchy-ness and development into the history of the Montrose family. The first quarter of this moved fairly slowly for me and it did start to pick up but didn't really get moving to me personally until the second half. While I enjoyed the ending and my overall takeaway was pure enjoyment and entertainment I wish I knew more about what felt like the basis of this novel (witches and history) and little less about the MCs feelings about the scandals that will ultimately be forgotten. 

Despite a few misgivings I absolutely adored this novel and I'd suggest it to anyone to pick up and read. It has a little bit of everything in it and I think anyone who loves a good October read would really enjoy this. It was expertly written, well paced and had developed and likable characters throughout.
Was this review helpful?
One of the more misleading publishers' summaries I've encountered. This was billed as gothic, or at least gothic-adjacent (Witches! Creepy old house! Malevolent spirits!). In actuality it's mostly a schlocky, soapy romance about a nice girl with a really nasty sister and a really nasty ex-fiancé.

The sense of atmosphere we expect in gothic novels is completely absent, the spirits barely matter to the story, and even the witchcraft alluded to in the title is mostly secondary and underused. 

The writing is fine (which is the only reason this book merited two stars, rather than one), but the book simply doesn't deliver anything close to what it claims to. This may be more the fault of the publisher than the author, but either way, this reader felt duped into reading something she would never have picked up had it been presented honestly. 

If you're a fan of romance with a dash of supernatural, you'll probably like this just fine. But if you're looking for what the title and summary suggest the book will be, you'll be highly disappointed.
Was this review helpful?
Unfortunately, this was not the book for me. I was able to make it through about 40% of the book before I had to quit. I did not enjoy Fox's writing style; it felt generic and unfocused. I'm not sure I could tell you what the main plot line was because it seemed like a number of subplots. It may have been more clear had I finished the novel and I understand the purpose of being intentionally vague, but by the time one of the big clues was given (what these "rumors" were that drove the family out of Boston), I was no longer interested in the story. The writing doesn't transport me to the year this novel is set in nor did it engage me and keep me interested. 
Besides the writing and the lack of plot, I also had a lot of trouble connecting with and understanding these characters. No one is particularly likable (and I want likable characters in my books!) and though I didn't stick around for any character arcs or growth, I found that when I put the book down, I was not interested in these characters and their lives. Sadly, not finishing was not a big loss for me. Thank you NetGalley and Graydon House Books for the free copy and opportunity to review the novel!
Was this review helpful?
This was the perfect book to get me into the Halloween spirit!

Lydia Montrose and her family are moving from Boston to New Oldbury. They have been pretty much run out of the city after certain rumors spread surrounding the oldest sister, Catherine. 

Lydia is the middle sister. She loves to read, likes to garden and loves her little sister, Emeline. Lydia has taken over Emeline's schooling and also her discipline. Lydia's mother is not the same since they left Boston and Lydia likes to help where she can. Their brother Charles is not with them. He's in London. There's a mystery surrounding his absence.

“Charlie did a bad thing”

Lydia's father, Samuel Montrose has started a new mill's business. The business is thriving but life at Willow Hall is strange. From the noises Lydia hears at night to the ghost-like forms she observes.

"There are stories around here that the place is haunted. All manners of ghosties and goblins."

Samuel's partner, John Barrett is a young man who used to own Willow Hall. Lydia fancies him but she has to compete for his affections with Catherine, who everyone believes to be prettier than Lydia. Lydia doesn't think she can win his affections but when he gives her his attention, she is full of hope. 

Then tragedy strikes the family.


The Witch of Willow Hall had a good story filled with gothic components, interesting characters, enough mystery and, a good romance to make it a winner.

One of the things I enjoyed the most about The Witch of Willow Hall was the way the author gave us small tidbits of what had happened back in Boston. It kept my interest piqued. It was a slow burn but with a purpose. 

Lydia was a unique character. She was dealing with learning something about herself that was changing her life. The best part about Lydia was that she was a bookie!

Catherine was a great villain. She was a character you love to hate. She enjoyed belittling Lydia. Cyrus and August Pierce were also unlikable characters but I still think Catherine is the worst.

Emeline was a sweet girl. I love how Snip, her dog was always with her. 

John Barrett had an air of mystery that enticed me to learn more about him. He could also be quite swoony.

“I expect that the next time I see you it will be in the library, or the parlor, or the garden—anywhere else but your room—and that you will have a new book recommendation for me. Hopefully something with a happy ending this time.”

Thank you, Harlequin and Graydon House for my complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs
Was this review helpful?
Lydia Montrose and her family have been forced to flee Boston due to unsavory rumors about their family and have settled in their newly built summer home, Willow Hall, in New Oldbury.  Sisters Catherine, Lydia, and Emeline couldn’t be more different.  Catherine is noted for her beauty, but what is the scandal that drove the family out of Boston?  Lydia is the plain sensible sister.  She should be heartbroken at the breaking of her engagement due to the rumors, but she finds herself enflamed by her new neighbor and her father’s new business partner, Mr. Barrett, who holds secrets of his own past.  Emeline is still a child entranced by their new home, but what secrets can a small child hold?

The Witch of Willow Hall is a Victorian story, but it has roots in the Salem Witch Trials of the 17th century.  Montrose family lore is that a distant ancestress was killed as a witch.  Lydia has always thought of this just as a story, but she did have a jarring experience when she was a child.  As an adult, she now has ever more strange things happening to her and she starts to wonder if there is more to the story of her ancestors than what she had previously believed.

I really liked that this novel fit many different genres.  At the start it seemed like a family drama / coming of age or typical Victorian novel.  Then it veered into being a Gothic Victorian novel and included magical realism.  I enjoyed this.  I also loved the romance between Mr. Barrett and Lydia. It was interesting putting together the pieces of both of their pasts.  I also liked the sisterly conflict between Lydia and Catherine.  It was an original story that combined different fictional elements that I enjoy. 

Overall, The Witch of Willow Hall is a wonderful Halloween read that combines magic, witches, the Victorian era, love, and tragedy.  I really enjoyed it and hope you will as well.

Book Source:  Review Copy for being a part of the TLC Book Tour.
Was this review helpful?
Although I read a great many novels involving paranormal elements, I usually don't blog about them on Flying High Reviews even when they have female protagonists that could be considered strong. There are several reasons why I decided that this review belongs here.  One is that The Witch of Willow Hall is historical, another is that it's primarily a romance and finally October is the month of Halloween.  So I thought the readers of this blog might be interested in a seasonal historical romance about a witch.  I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher via Net Galley.
I tend to be inclined to try out new writers.  Every year I find debut novels that show potential.  I hoped that The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox would be one of them.

The best aspect of this novel is the protagonist's character growth.  Lydia is the middle daughter in a family with a heritage of witchcraft.  Despite taking place in 19th century Massachusetts, this initially seemed to have a great deal in common with the TV series Charmed about  three sisters who were witches from a long line of magical practitioners which takes place in a contemporary context.  Charmed just rebooted with a very current approach and a new set of sisters on the CW network.  There are some major differences between The Witch of Willow Hall and Charmed. In the book that is the subject of this review, there weren't three paranormally gifted sisters, and there was no one to train those who did have gifts. Lydia was pretty much on her own coming to grips with her powers, and the ghosts at Willow Hall.   This meant that she needed to become very strong and independent, and that's exactly the direction in which she evolved over the course of the narrative.

Since Hester Fox's book is a romance, it focused on the impact that being a witch had on Lydia's relationships--particularly her relationships with the men in her life, and the poisoned relationship with her elder sister Catherine who apparently had no powers, and perceived herself as being in competition with Lydia. I thought that Catherine wasn't sufficiently developed, but Lydia herself and the man who emerged as the romantic hero more than made up for Catherine's deficiencies in character development.

I think it's possible that Hester Fox will write better books in the future, and that The Witch of Willow Hall certainly works for historical romance fans who are looking for a Halloween read.
Was this review helpful?
What an interesting mystery! I love the fact that I never knew what direction the story 
was leading me in. One moment I thought I had an idea and then I was taken in a different direction. Twist and turns ignite a wonderful need to the turn the pages, to learn more. I wanted to strangle Catherine many times throughout the story. I felt Lydia was far too forgiving and just tolerated much from her sister. I wish we had learned more about Lydia and her powers. There is an entire story waiting for us there. I felt there were many questions left to the reader's imagination. Although this mystery had its dark and sorrowful moments, it also had a sweet romance weaved throughout. I can't wait to read more from Hester Fox.
Was this review helpful?
My Highly Caffeinated Thought: An eerie and heartfelt tale in which the writing is only surpassed by the superb storytelling.

THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL is one of the most eloquent and masterful books I have read this year. The author not only gives her reader a solid historical novel with a hint of romance but also weaves into the threads of the story the supernatural elements effortlessly.

Before I go any further, I have to point out the author's talent. This book is brilliantly written and expertly plotted so that the reader's experience is nothing short of enjoyable. For me, I was in awe of the way everything blended together and I was transported in time to Willow Hall. The characters, the setting, and the emotions in these pages captivated.

I can't recommend this book more. If you are someone who enjoys tales of love, loss, and family, this book is for you. Should you also crave a hint of magic, then this book is a must-read. Curl up and get cozy, because this is going to be a journey you will not soon forget.
Was this review helpful?
The Witch of Willow Hall is a great read just in time for Halloween. This reminded me of a grown up version of Hocus Pocus except for the fact of the long lost youngest daughter and her next generation keeping the powers a secret until an unusual event happens where her powers activate. A fascinating read that immediately pulls you in imagining that you are right in the story following along wanting to know what happens to everyone! A read that is definitely necessary for Halloween.

Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. We will consider this title for our Fiction collection at the library. That is why we give this book 5 stars!
Was this review helpful?
Make me watch a scary movie and I’m the clichéd person watching through the tiny slivers of space between my fingers. But give me a terrifying book and I’m an intrepid explorer, the person who isn’t scared to investigate the suspicious noise or bewildering chill in the house.
 I’ve been waiting for a book to scare me, and I didn’t fully realize it until I began Hester Fox’s powerfully atmospheric The Witch of Willow Hall.
Unlike the romances I’ve been reading, this book offered no guaranteed Happily Ever After, and I could feel that uncertainty—and the fears, anger, and resentment—burning on every page as Lydia Montrose settled into her new home, Willow Hall, and learned its secrets.
It’s not just Willow Hall that’s the mystery here.
There is something…different about Lydia, something her mother tells her she must hide from others forever. It leads to Tommy Bishop being hurt when he and Lydia are children; it divides Lydia and her sister, Catherine, reminding them both of the first time their family was almost ruined; and it threatens to erupt at Willow Hall, where they’ve moved in an effort to escape Boston and the public ruination of their family.
Fox is adept at pacing; she shrouds so much of the house and characters in mystery, and then slowly pulls back the veil bit by bit, until Lydia—and the readers—have just enough information to scuttle along until the next crisis. And she’s even more skilled in how she makes use of imagery. The characters and their wild, isolated, terrifying setting are richly evoked, particularly when it comes to the creepy little details that distinguish a really good ghost story from a mediocre one.
There were a few details of the plot that I questioned—they didn’t seem to entirely make sense in terms of characterization—but The Witch of Willow Hall gave me so much that I was looking for: it's a well-crafted, engrossing ghost story that had me shivering in fright and glee.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley but all opinions provided are my own.
Was this review helpful?
4.5 Stars

This book took me by surprise, in a fantastic way. It was much creepier than I expected, with unexpected twists and turns. Some of the juicier tidbits I was able to figure out, but I still enjoyed the reveal.

Lydia Montrose and her family have been exiled from Boston, for rumors that involve her older sister. Now they have settled in Old Newbury, in the newly built Willow Hall. However, there is a foreboding presence there, which Lydia feels deeply. As well, Lydia is beginning to experience a strange and magical awakening of her own.

This is a book about family, loyalty, the weight of obligation and becoming our own, independent unit outside of those familial obligations. This book shows how women were expected to behave in the past (1821 America), how they were the ones at fault if there was any scandal, how their wishes and dreams were overshadowed by the men in their lives.

Lydia is the ever dutiful daughter, most often at the expense of her own happiness. She is quick to sooth a situation, to believe the best in others and to put her family above herself, even when they do nothing to deserve this blind obedience and love. Especially Catherine, the eldest Montrose daughter, who is cruel and hateful to Lydia. While the reader may have some sympathy for her when they realize the extent of the rumors and her "situation", she is still callous, cold hearted and selfish.

This is also a novel about loss. The loss of loved ones, the loss of innocence, the loss of faith and ideals. Lydia is changed throughout by truths that come to light about her family, her friends and herself. She uses her loss to become stronger, to defeat those that would seek to use and control her, and to find happiness for herself. It is also about things and people who haunt the characters. How past mistakes continue to plague the Montrose's lives and John Barrett, often leading to more mistakes or Lydia being pigeon holed into a life she does not want to live. The sweltering landscape and claustrophobic house become a metaphor for the sins of the family, eating away at the soul of each character. As winter comes, the family must succumb to their follies or face a rebirth.

Lydia goes from a weak, timid character, to a strong, passionate protector. I liked her and I loved her interactions with John Barrett. Their love reminded me of regency romances, very much like the love between characters in Austen or Bronte. John was a strong character, with faults that made him sympathetic and likable, and was also able to build Lydia up, instead of tearing her down. He was not written in to overshadow who she is, but to compliment her character and all that she hopes to become.

A great read, with some horrifying moments and some heartbreaking ones. A truly Gothic novel, with descriptions that transport you into Lydia's overbearing world. Characterization is fabulous, each new person you meet somehow enriches the plot and the growth of Lydia. There are some surprises and moments that leave you shocked and appalled, but the story intertwines these revelations with redemption and forgiveness. Recommended for those who enjoy historical fiction, Gothic romance and horror.
Was this review helpful?
There is a scandal brewing around the Montrose family that forces them to move from Boston to the remote New Oldbury. Their new home is the beautiful, but creepy, Willow Hall. Mr. Montrose is buying into a local mill owned by a young, local man. Lydia is the middle daughter of the family and starts seeing and hearing things that no one else in the family can. Something isn't quite right at their new home and she is determined to figure out what it is.  

This is a slow-building story that is more family saga or romance than it is about witchcraft, which some readers may be disappointed by. Lydia is a likeable character and readers will be drawn into the drama surrounding the reasons the Monstroses left Boston and who gets to know their secrets.
Was this review helpful?
Perfect for Halloween reading, this historical fiction is an atmospheric ghost story with some beautifully written passages.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NetGalley and Graydon House for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

This was a delightfully moody and atmospheric debut novel; a perfect fall read, when the days are getting shorter and crisp winds blow through the trees (at least the fall of my dreams, if not my reality!). 

Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it. It’s 1821. In the wake of a scandal, Lydia and her family move from Boston to the sleepy New England town of New Oldbury, hoping for a fresh start in their new home, Willow Hall. But the house holds secrets that grab hold of Lydia and refuse to let her or her family find the peace they seek…

Fox’s writing is rich and detailed; she vividly conveys the oppressive heat of summer and the bone-chilling cold of winter, and her descriptions of the wild and moody manor house make it a character in its own right. The story builds slowly, but once I was hooked I didn’t want to put it down, eager to see what would happen next. And I’d say that while Lydia IS a witch, the book isn’t full of witchiness or sorcery, though there are ghosts and spooky occurrences aplenty. It’s more about the people and their relationships, and it’s not until the end that we see Lydia come to terms with her powers. (I would’ve loved more of this!) Full of secrets, betrayal, romance, mystery and tragedy, this is one historical fiction you won’t be able to put down!
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this tale of ghosts, witches, drownings and deceit. It actually felt like a quaint old-fashioned romance with some supernatural elements - but I mean that in the BEST way possible. A feel good creepy little book.
Was this review helpful?
This book is about a young woman named Lydia who lives in 1821 Massachusetts. Apparently Lydia older sister Catherine has caused a great scandal for the family. So the Montrose parents have decided to move Catherine, Lydia and their younger sister Emeline to WillowHall. Turns out that Willow Hall might not be the best place to help the family after all. A lot of Ghosts from the past arise when the family arrives at Willow Hall. Lydia Witch bloodline shows up along with the ghosts. All of these things cause great heartache and great hardship for the girls during their time at Willow Hall. This book is a great Halloween read or just a great read for Witch Lovers. I really suggest you go check it out and buy it, now onto my final thoughts. 

I rated this book a 4 out of 5 stars. I did love the story and I would totally recommend this book. I love the witchy Hocus Pocus Vibes this book has, but at the same time, I have some issues with it. I have an issue with the slow burn, it takes Lydia forever to realize who she is and what powers she carries. I wish she had learned early on that she had some sort of powers. I felt like it took us forever to get to the good parts, but once you get there all of sudden the book is over. Now, this would be okay if we have a sequel coming but if we don't then, its sort of like the Charlie Brown teacher of blah blah. Now, on the other hand, the book was a really fast read, in the aspect that I was on the edge of my seat to find the good stuff. I do love the witchy vibe as I called it. For me personally, the Witchy Vibe is very hard to grasp, either you have it or you don't. I also love how Hester handle the incest storyline in the book, warning if that a trigger for you. But yes there is an incest storyline with Catherine and their older brother Charles. I am kind of upset with how everyone treats Lydia like a child yet she is nineteen, then they are all telling her to grow up. I am upset with how they all try to force Lydia into another marriage with an asshat. 

But that's kind of the whole book for me, I love half the plot and hated half the plot.  I truly love it and I want more of Hester works. John and Lydia love story was really sweet and very romantic. I love they just keep going towards one another even when everyone is trying to pull them apart. I felt sorry for Catherine, even though she deserved her pain in a way. I am also glad that Lydia finally had her moment and stood up. She stopped taking everyone shit and fought her way back to own her life. Honestly, though the Ghost and Witch vibe's that this book is giving off, far outweigh the things I disliked about the story. I will always recommend this book to people as a great witch read and will definitely check out more of Hester fox's books.
Was this review helpful?
Spooky, suspenseful & a little bit witchy!

This book reminded me so much of the gothic romantic suspense novels that I used to love reading growing up.  They were my absolute favourite stories and this tale just made me feel all nostalgic and reminded me of my fondness for these types of stories. 

THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL by HESTER FOX is a dark, haunting, romantic and an excellent debut novel that had me totally absorbed, entertained, and interested throughout this entire book.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that this story was all that gripping or suspenseful for me though but it definitely had an ominous feel to it that I found quite appealing.

HESTER FOX delivers an atmospheric, intriguing and beautifully written gothic romantic tale of suspense and mystery here with wonderful character development, a captivating setting and an extremely spellbinding storyline. I really enjoyed the creepy dark vibe and the supernatural aspect to this novel even if it was a little subtle the real magic here was in Lydia's character.

It was one of those books that definitely cast its spell on me and I wanted to savour every single page. 

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Beautiful, alluring, eye-catching, intriguing and a fitting representation to storyline.
Title: Appealing, suspenseful, intriguing and a fitting representation to storyline.  My interest is always piqued when the word witch is in a title and I’m usually all over it!
Writing/Prose: Well-written, engaging, captivating, and fluid.
Plot: Foreboding, menacing, engrossing, leisurely-paced, enjoyable and extremely entertaining.  I adored this storyline!
Ending: A lovely ending that I was extremely satisfied with and left me feeling hopeful. 
Overall: A fascinating read that had me totally engrossed within this gothic romance tale from start to finish! I absolutely loved the creepy and menacing feel that subtly emanated throughout this wonderful atmospheric tale! Would highly recommend!

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Harlequin and Hester Fox for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review!
Was this review helpful?
I couldn't have been more surprised by a book! I love anything relating to the Salem witch trials, but I'm not the biggest fan of historical fiction usually. Either way, I was eager to give this book a chance and I"m so very glad I did. 

A perfect fall, Halloween-time read. I felt myself captured by the history in the book as much as the  beautiful gothic descriptions. Hester Fox gives us a stunning debut, full of family secrets, scandal, and romance--all while  keeping us captured in a setting I won't soon forget. 

This title really got under my skin, and I suspect some of the darker tones won't leave me for a long, long time.
Was this review helpful?
When her family becomes the focus of a major scandal, Lydia and her family move to a rural town and settle into Willow Hall. The glittering mansion seems like it will be a new start for Lydia. However, the house seems to hold its own share of secrets and ghosts. As Lydia discovers the ghosts that walk through the corridors, she learns that her mother is keeping a major secret from her. She eventually digests the information about her dark past. Can Lydia ever accept who she is?

     Lydia is a very complex character. She has a good relationship with her youngest sister, Emeline. She loves and cares for her. However, she does not get along with her older sister and is often critical and judgmental of her actions. She is often to rude to the man she loves and accuses him for his actions without asking for his side of the story. She is very selfish. There were times when she can be almost ruthless, and I was horrified by one of the deeds that she almost committed. Yet, this is what makes her a fascinating character. She is always battling against the evil forces within herself. She always strive to be good and resist the temptation to commit horrible crimes.

     Overall, this novel is about self-identity, loss, family, and acceptance. I thought the author needed to work on character development. Most of them are stereotypical, and the villain was cartoonish. There were also a few subplots that did nothing to enhance the plot. Still, The Witch of Willow Hall is well-written and is very atmospheric. Its gothic setting and paranormal aspects will suck you into the story right away! The Witch of Willow Hall is an enjoyable novel and is a fun read for Halloween!I recommend this for fans of The Other English Wife, The Phantom Tree, and The Haunting of Maddy Clare.
Was this review helpful?
5 Gold dust stars for this gothic. It was so enjoyable for an October read. Just what I was looking for and it really delivered. Highly atmospheric. I enjoyed the characters and the setting, which was a bit of a character in and of itself. The woods, a pond, a magical willow tree (maybe?); ghosts, things that go bump in the night! An old estate. Family secrets. 

The family is involved in a bit of scandal. They move to Willow Hall to hide away until things blow over. I loved Lydia and connected to her very quickly. Her sister, Catherine, not so much. She is quite nasty and self absorbed. Lydia finds things happen when she gets angry. She doesn't understand some of the things that happen. At Willow Hall she will get the answers she has looked for all of her life. Can her family be connected to the Salem witches somehow? Her little sister Emaline likes to look for mermaids in the pond about the willow tree. What else does Emaline see there? There is also a budding romance between John (Lydia's father's business partner) and Lydia.
But what is his motive? And Catherine seems to want to steal him for herself. 

This is seriously atmospheric and slowly builds. The pace was perfect and the characters well developed. I highly recommend it for those who enjoy a good gothic. High on the suspense meter. 

Thank you to Hester Fox and the publisher, Graydon House, via NetGalley for an ARC for review. I look forward to reading more by the author!
Was this review helpful?