The Witch of Willow Hall

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox has us traveling to New Oldbury, Massachusetts in 1821.  After a scandal in Boston, the Montrose family departs for Willow Hall.  The family consists of Samuel and Martha Montrose and their three daughters:  Catherine, Lydia and Emeline.  Samuel has invested with John Barrett in a nearby cotton mill.  John was surprised that the family is living in Willow Hall full-time, but he refuses to express his concerns regarding the home.  Lydia is captivated by John from the moment they meet, but she has trouble expressing her interest (an introvert).  Catherine, with an outgoing personality, quickly latches onto the handsome man.  But John is not the only gentleman in the area who attracts the fickle Catherine.  As time passes at Willow Hall, unexplained things begin to happen.  Then Lydia receives a warning to prepare for what it is coming.  The Montrose family will be forever changed by the happenings at Willow Hall.  Lydia is the only one who can protect the family.  Will she be able to handle what is to come?

The Witch of Willow Hall is not what I expected.  I wanted a mysterious story with witches using their magic and ghosts creeping about the place.  Instead, it turned out to be more of a strange romance novel.  Catherine is a mean spirited and selfish woman who seems slightly off balance.  She does not care how her actions reflect on her family or what must be done to clean up her messes (of which there are many).  If her sister, Lydia has something, then Catherine will take it away.  As they grow up, it becomes suitors.  Catherine does not want Lydia to have any joy in her life and goes out of her way to make her miserable.  Lydia and John Barrett’s relationship was frustrating.  Lydia is awkward with him which leads to miscommunication, misunderstandings and outright rudeness. The unlikeable characters lacked development and the dialogue did not suit the era.    I enjoyed the authors descriptions that helped me to visualize the story.  However, the pacing was slow and then it becomes sluggish.  The story is vague in the beginning with details slowly being revealed (if you stick with it that long).  It all comes together in the end when disturbing information is revealed.  I did find the last quarter of The Witch of Willow Hall to be the best.  The story wraps up quickly at the end and some issues were left unresolved.  The Witch of Willow Hall had potential.  I wish the author had focused on the paranormal elements.  If they had been developed, it could have made for an intriguing tale. As you can tell, The Witch of Willow Hall was not a pleasant reading experience for me.
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What an interesting novel. there is an essence that surrounds this novel making it reminiscent of Joyce Carol Oats. It comes through the haunting aspect of the novel and the ease of which the story develops and grows, allowing the gothic nature of the film to grow. That’s the beauty of the novel, that it makes sure to focus on the characters while also having that gothic feeling lingering right on the fringes of the story. It never goes away, and that’s the eeriness of the story, that in Willow Hall, the paranormal creeps up on the reader, making them by surprise before returning to the shadows of the story. It’s a magnificent way to tell the story while also giving the characters a chance to develop as the narrative goes on.

The characters really get to shine and develop as the story went on. There’s scandal and tragedy that moves the story forward and the characters react in tandem with these events instead of just reacting to them afterward. Lydia is a very strong character as she works to understand the hauntings of Willow Hall as well as the mysteries that surround her. She matures throughout the story and even becomes a softer character in the sense where she learns to love herself and be at peace with the differences between her and her sister. Lydia finds inner peace, which is more than can be said for her sister. On that note, Catherine is a completely detestable character. She yields nor sympathy from the reader on any level, and that seems to be Fox’s intent, to create a character so self-involved that she is oblivious to the ghostly world around her. It works to create another layer of tension in the story, one that is more character driven than plot driven. It gives the story some dimension and a way to understand the characters

Overall the writing is solid. Fox writes the story with ease, allowing summation to have its proper place in capturing the passage of time. The story keeps moving forward. The story doesn’t lag and focuses on building up those very gothic moments with visually beautiful detail, making them as vivid and as haunting to the reader as they are for the characters. It’s an unexpected delight and quite a different route as far as gothic literature is concerned.
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Gothic, dark, family.  I really liked this book.  Would recommend to a friend.  Good character development.  Would read more by this author.
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This book is great for someone wanting to get into the feel of autumn, its a dark, gothic, spooky read.
Catherine, Lydia, and Emeline are part of the Montrose family, and running from scandal. They settle for Boston but history inevitably catches up with them. 

I have read a lot of novels on witches. Ya fantasy, adult fantasy and historical fiction. This falls into the realm of historical fiction, however its heavy on the romance. I did enjoy that for the time period, the women in the book were for the most part fierce and outspoken. Overall though I felt like the characters were under developed but it was still a great Halloween/ October read.
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I tried to love this book  because the premise was great, the cover is exactly what I anticipated and more, but after starting it three different times and not being able to get into it, I decided to forgo trying again and moved on.
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Such an interesting read! Read with my book club And we all very much enjoyed our fun discussions!! Look forward to more by this author
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The Witch of Willow hall is a paranormal mystery with a hint of romance and a plot twist that took the book into interesting territory. An enjoyable example of modern literature with a Gothic twist, the protagonist Lydia is a witch who doesn't know that she's a witch. 

Living in isolation with her family after a scandal, Lydia is often overshadowed by her older, more beautiful sister. Her older sister, however, is hiding secrets and is not as charming as she appears at first glance. As strange things begin happening, Lydia has to come to terms with who and what she is and with the attention she receives from a broody hunk who has secrets of his own (which of course makes her older sister jealous). 

This was an enjoyable read, but may contain plot points that some readers may find objectionable.
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Loved this book, we need a sequel! The cover and title grab your attention, and the story line keeps you hooked.
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Great historical fantasy. I love books about witches and this one was a great read with a different twist on the tradition witch story.
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Did not finish it. Couldn't get into it or connect to the main character in any way. Maybe got about 50 pages in before stopping.
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The Witch of Willow Hall reads has all the flavor of a penny dreadful with half the calories. It is well written, enjoyable, and entertaining. I recommend this  book for people who are looking for a lighter than usual read.
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I received an ARC ecopy in exchange for an honest review.

I adore a good gothic tale but sadly do not read many these days. I will not lie when I saw that this was about a witch that is what drew me to this book. Yes, Lydia is a witch, but this story encompasses so much more than that. While we do have witchcraft and the paranormal throughout the story it is not the main focus. I think this is what really helped the story to capture my attention.

Lydia has to be one of my favorite characters this year by far. Her character was wonderfully written, and I found her story pulling me in more and more. Though her sister, Catherine, is one character I love to hate. I would have punched her but sadly that was frowned upon during this era (1821). I cannot really say more because I do not wish to spoil anything.

Let's not forget the touch of romance we get to witness as well. Honestly, I was not expecting it from this story but once I caught on I really enjoyed it. It was not this intense insta-love, but instead a simple grows bit-by-bit kind of romance.

Overall, I really loved this story. It was not what I expected but it did not disappoint. I look forward to seeing what Hester Fox creates next!
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This book fell flat for me.  I was expecting more of a gothic, witch story.  The pace was slow, and I really did not like the characters (especially Catherine).
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This book is fine. It's as if a regency romance writer attempted to write gothic fiction. A bit too tame for my creepy tastes, but not a bad read.
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I liked the storyline, but I thought the story could have been paced a little faster. That being said, I really liked the main characters and I liked the different relationships between the sisters.
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Thank you to netgalley for the release of the book for review. 

This book was right down my line! I love a book set in the 1800 and then throw in witches! Call my name please!

"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."

I loved the world this book was set in. The plot was great and the story did not let me down. I hated I waited so long to read this but I actually forgot this book until I seen in my Kindle and said "OMG I have to read it now!"

I think every one should read this. 

The story is about 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. 

Put this book on your TBR!
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The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

Genre:

Historical fiction; Paranormal

Pubbed:

2018

Quick summary:

Set in Massachusetts two centuries after the Salem Witch Trials, The Witch of Willow Hall is about the Montrose family, which relocates after a scandal in Boston involving one of its three daughters. 

My thoughts:

The premise sounded interesting, so I requested a copy to review. Though the story was interesting and had me a little curious because I wondered if something supernatural was involved, I eventually lost patience with the narrator and her sisters. I stopped reading when something happens to the youngest daughter. I don’t think I’ll return to it.

Do I recommend it?

Yes 

I think it’s probably a good story; I just didn’t have the patience to find out. It’s atmospheric and it immediately makes you curious about the girls and the family. If the premise sounds interesting to you, then I urge you to try it.
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First things first: This book contains creepy, supernatural elements, but at its core, it is a romance and family drama, with all that other stuff mixed in. I loved it, and romance with a touch of the otherworldly is a great combination when done correctly. And I think it was done correctly in this case.

The book begins in the mid-1800s, as the Montrose family moves to Willow Hall, in a quiet, out-of-the-way town after being chased from Boston by some rumors swirling around the family’s oldest daughter, Catherine. As the three daughters adjust to life in the town, weird things begin to happen, things that will change the family forever and shake it to its very core.

I really enjoyed the Pride & Prejudice-type feel of this book, it was a nice change of pace. But be warned: this is no Jane Austen novel. Some of the situations in the book are very....uh....dark. It’s quite a lot to take in at times. Austen with an edge - I loved it.

I also really enjoyed the characters in the book. There were clear heroes and heroines and villains. Sometimes its nice just to have things laid out for you like that - to see if good can triumph over evil, or will evil scheming win the day.

The supernatural elements were very interesting as well. I would have maybe liked a little bit more of it, but I can’t complain with the ghostly happenings. THey were suitably tragic and creepy and will make me think twice about being in a big house by myself.

Overall, if you’re a romance fan who enjoys a little bit of thrills and chills, you’ll love this book.
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This was a wonderfully haunting and spooky read that is perfect for Halloween! I loved the writing! Everything felt eerie and suspenseful. I loved how well written the characters were. Some characters I loved while others I found to be unlikable but I didn't mind. There is some romance and it was cute. If you want something spooky and suspenseful then this read will be perfect for you! You'll have a haunting good time reading it.
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I received an ARC of this from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really wish I would have read this in the fall around Halloween because it would have been perfect. It's a period piece, a ghost story, and a romance all wrapped up in one.  There were some really interesting plot twists that I didn't necessarily see coming which is always a plus in my book. I got really wrapped up in the lives of the characters in that I have a burning hatred for Catherine, a soft spot for Mr. Barrett, and I adored Lydia (particularly when she developed a backbone). 

I really enjoyed it and I was completely satisfied with the ending. I would definitely read this author again.
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