Cover Image: The Witch of Willow Hall

The Witch of Willow Hall

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Member Reviews

Readers who love gothic tales will love this book. This haunting mystery slowly unravels as Montrose family try to outrun the scandal of older sister, Catherine. Everyone suffers when they move from Boston to Willow Creek. The story is skillfully woven together to create this intriguing story. Mystery, a little romance, a haunted house, some mild witchcraft and a sordid relationship -- something for all. Recommended!
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The Witch of Willow hall is the perfect book to read in October-- or anytime,  really,  because it's fantastic! It's creepy,  gothic, and super haunting. I wish there had been more witchyness in the story, but still greatly enjoyed.
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Thank you for the opportunity to read The Witch of Willow Hall. Unfortunately, I did not download the book before it was archived in March 2019. I do not plan to finish the book.
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Wow!  What a disappointment. I was excited to read the book. I enjoy a good gothic story and with the reviews I read comparing this to Rebecca I was sold! Upon reading though...ugh!  None of the sisters are likeable and the main character Lydia. Oh my word.  Stop with the complaining about EVERYTHING!  The last 25% couldn't make up for the first part. Not spooky or eerie or worth your time.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this book.
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As this is Fox's debut, I was really looking forward to what the author would bring to the genre. I am a huge fan of historical fiction and of novels that focus on witches/witchcraft. In 1820's Massachusetts, the Montrose family has left Boston in the wake of a scandal. Lydia, the middle daughter, is fighting to keep the family together, battling against willful sisters and an absent mother. Willow Hall, their new home, seems to be coming alive, whether the ghosts are real or part of Lydia's imagination is unsure, but they're causing trouble for the family all the same. Going in, this novel was a little slow to pick up. Lydia is a bit of doormat to start out for a main character; the stereotypical middle child bookworm, who holds the family together. As time goes on though, Lydia learns more about herself, her powers, and gains some confidence and fleshes out as a character. We have a nice cast of characters in the book, with the two sisters, Catherine, the other and the love interest, John Barrett, being the best characters. Otherwise, characters seem a little one-note. This story is very centered in Lydia's thoughts and motivations and at times, this is a detriment to the story. I feel it's because it takes so long for Lydia to really come out of her shell. She lets others push her around so much, that the story seems to drag her here and there. For instance, Cyrus has so much more power over her than he ever should have because she lets him. Yet, she stands up to John and John is someone she doesn't need to. I did really like the generational inheritance of witchcraft and how it didn't get inherited by all of the Hale women. That was fascinating. Overall, I did really enjoy this story, flaws and all. I would very much be interested in reading more of Fox's work in the future. 3.5 stars.
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I was thoroughly swept away into the gothic Regency world of Lydia and her family. This was a touching, romantic, and at times scary story about a woman becoming empowered by discovering who she is.
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I recieved an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I loved this book and will recommend it often to lovers of mysteries, thrillers, and suspense novels!
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Lydia Montrose is the middle daughter, the good daughter, the not-as-pretty daughter with a good heart and desire to always do the right thing.  Even though her family has done enough in the past year that would leave most people wary, Lydia understands they aren’t perfect and she needs to be there for them.  After some horrible rumors are spread about the family, they relocate from Boston to a large estate house in the country---miles away from the gossip.  Unfortunately, much of that gossip follows Lydia’s family, and instead of a fresh start, more troubles befall the Montrose family, bringing Lydia to a breaking point and unleashing her wrath in more ways than most expected.  Although the title has the word “witch” in it, and there are some ghostly tales within, the book still boils down to family relationships and how much one person is willing to give before the breaking point.  I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would, I’m pleased to say.

Special Note of thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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If you are looking for a book to read during this fall season, then look no further! The Witch of Willow Hall is the perfect book to get you in the mood for the changing of seasons. Feel that chill running down your spine? Don’t worry, I’m sure that it is just the cold weather creeping in.

The book starts off with a family who suddenly has to move to the country from Boston because of a scandal. However, we do not know what this scandal is and why it is bad enough that the entire family has to move so far away. It is definitely a Gothic read, as it is set in that time period and the surroundings, going-ons, and especially the language that the author uses plants you perfectly in that feeling. I was interested from the start and found myself unable to put this book down, wanting to read more and discover what was going on. It reminded me a bit of the movie Crimson Peak, in which we were unaware of what was truly happening right up until the very end.

I personally enjoy mystery and suspense over hack and saw horror; I want my scares to be subtle, the kind that gives me goosebumps instead of jumping out of my skin. Because of this reason, The Witch of Willow Hall is going into my must-reads for the Halloween and fall season. It has just enough of that creep factor–but it is firmly cemented in reality. If you are looking for a give you goosebumps, creeping under your bed kind of read, then this is the book for you!

Thank you to Grayson House/Harlequin for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!
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I'm struggling so much with my book-hangover here.

I started this story and finished it a day later; I would've finished it sooner had I had more time. It's been a long time since I've connected to a main character the way I connected to Lydia. She's selfless, brave, loving, forgiving, at time naive, and just an all-around wonderful heroine to read about.

The relationships between Lydia and her family are one of the main themes in this one. Mostly; the relationship she has with her sisters. She has an older sister, Catherine and a younger sister, Emeline. All I will say is that those two separate relationships are about as polarizing as it gets. But, the relationships go through changes throughout the story. And it's those changes that add elements of strife for Lydia.

The other "character" in the book, that I felt was reminiscent of the moors of "Wuthering Heights" was Willow Hall, itself. Almost a living, breathing thing, this house.

Lastly, I'll say that Lydia's and John's relationship and Lydia's acceptance of who she really is and was meant to be are my favorite parts of this. There were moments of sadness, so desperately profoundly sad that I was in awe over how Hester Fox made me feel. But, in the end, I was bolstered by how nicely the ending came together and how worthy a hero, John was for Lydia.

This is a good read if you like things a little dark and scary, but not enough to keep you awake at night.

My review will be live, on my blog, January 20, 2020, at the link provided.
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"Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it"

Give me witch trial, spooky settings, and history and I'm hooked.  Great story for your witchy readers! Book has a gothic romantic feel to it. Great book if you want a little spookiness in your life.
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This was a gorgeous, complicated, gothic beauty of a book and I’m pretty sure I’ll be thinking about it for a while. I only finished it today, and already I’m looking back and recognizing additional ways in which the author inverted a lot of cliches and tropes. It was brilliant and I highly recommend, especially as an Autumn read!
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Lydia Montrose sure made an impression but at times it read like a sad lamentation of her sorry state in life. But, I am a sucker for HEA's and that is what The Witch of Willow Hall delivered.
All's well that ends well. I liked that Lydia was a good person and she would be a good witch. She didn't know she was one for certain until 80% of the way through even when she had inklings and hints of the power residing in her bones.
Her older sister Catherine was a real bitch. Wow. Lydia's relationship with her only reminded me of my relationship with my sisters. At least I could empathize and roll my eyes at both of them. Emaline, the younger sister was a doll but what bothered me was how distant and absent the parents were or maybe it only felt that way because of the way it was written from Lydia's POV. (IDK) I wasn't sure if their mother was catatonic but it sure seemed that way. I couldn't help but wonder what happened to them back in Boston that forced them to move out to the country. Their brother Charles(?) is an absolute mystery also. What happened to him? Where was he? Is he dead? I must have missed that part.
All's I know is he had to have been pretty close for Catherine to love him so much. I mean really? I was glad she lost the baby, one less thing to worry about and for Lydia to bear anyway. It is so sad that Lydia and Catherine did not like each other or could not be friends let alone sisters. I can relate though. Jealousy on the part of Catherine, for wanting what Lydia had, ruined everything. Honestly, it's a good thing Catherine was not a witch. She would have been a wicked and evil one, probably.
I loved John Barrett. He warmed my heart. Cyrus? What a nightmare.
I admit I sometimes was bored and couldn't keep my attention on the words I was reading but all in all I would read it again just as I anticipate the next book: The Widow of Pale Harbor.
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I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. 

Even though I mostly requested based on the cover for this book. I also thought the story line sounded really interesting too. Plus I'm trying to read as many spooky books as possible for this month so it was a perfect fit for me to read this one. I'm glad I got to read it too - I really liked it. There were definitely a lot of pieces of the book that I didn't care for but overall I really liked it! Lydia as a character had a lot of layers but she was a bit too much of a doormat for me. And I loved the whole journey to her discovering she was a witch and her long dead ancestor and what not but I wished that it had happened a little earlier in the book. This was definitely a good read for October - it was super spooky and creepy. I thought it was really captivating, I didn't want to put it down because I wanted to find out what was going to happen next. At the same time the pacing was a little slow for me. Overall I really liked the book but it wasn't my favorite. Great read for October though!
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I gave this book 4 stars but I’m not sure why. Let me tell you about my quandary. I thought this book was slow. It just seemed like it I read a lot without really getting anywhere, however I really had a hard time putting it down. I determined that the book is subtle. It just kind of sneaks up on you.

This story is reminiscent of Pride & Prejudice, with a little Jane Eyre, and some ghosts and witchiness thrown in for good measure. 

So, that’s the best I can give you. I’m as unsure about this book as this review sounds. If you are a Pride & Prejudice fan, you’ll like this book.
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My feedback here is late to the party.  I enjoyed this book, but it was relatively forgettable.  I'd recommend it to others as a quick read.
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"The Witch of Willow Hall" is the perfect read for this time of year. It's a great blend of spooky, plot, and historical events firmly rooted in fact. I especially recommend it for those interested in the history of the Salem Witch Trials..
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3AM, the witching hour! That is how long I stayed up reading this gorgeous book. And Hester Fox is officially an author on my watchlist and she should be on yours too if you enjoy sexy gothic historical romances. 
I have a very particular (or singular) taste in literature that is very hard to satisfy, so I normally have to read a few different genres and a few different books at a time in order to slake these needs. The Witch Of Willow Hall satisfied ALL my loves: it was romatic, sweet, clever, sexy and yet eerie and dark, part House on Haunted Hill and part Little Women (sorta kinda) and part something else entirely. The plot was fresh and well developed and the story threads were tied up so neatly in the end that I was thoroughly satisfied by the last bittersweet page. I never wanted it to end!
The main character, Lydia, I connected with and empathized with so well because her charcater flaw is so similar to mine and her own self doubt, which her sister knew how to use against her, was one of the biggest obstacles that sometimes frustrated me to the point I wanted to scream. And every time I felt I wanted to leap onto the pages and strangle Catharine, slap her senseless, Lydia remained calm (mostly) and behaved with integrity, bearing the burden of her sister's scandal with such quiet strength that I couldn't help but love her, even if I did want to shake her a bit now and then.
And what a scandal! This book shocked and delighted me, creeped me out, and held me under its dark spell (excuse the pun, I had to) for hours and hours and even after I was done reading, bleary-eyed and exhausted, I couldn't go to sleep because I had to digest the story and all its careful twists and misunderstandings and frustrations and delights. 
My only regret is that it took me this long to read it.
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The Witch of Willow Hall - Hester Fox

⅖ stars.

I was first intrigued by this book because it seemed to promise witchiness. Having finished (and being consequently obsessed with) the Discovery of Witches tv show, and craving more witchy books since reading that series like 3 years ago, I thought “Willow Hall” would scratch that itch. Unfortunately there wasn’t much witchiness or magic in this book at all. I think if you chose to read this, you should go into it expecting a semi-Gothic style romance drama. All magical elements took a serious backseat to other elements of the story. Don’t be fooled by the fact that the word “witch” is in the title.

Speaking of those other elements, let’s talk about them a bit more now. This story revolves around Lydia Montrose, the middle child in her family, as she and her family move to a country town following a family scandal to avoid ruining their reputation. What follows is a lot of family drama, a kind of forced instalove story, and a lot of Colonial historical descriptions of those times.

It’s all very surface. It seems like just enough was described and written to keep the story going on, but not enough to give any depth or reason to the characters. I did not believe in Lydia & John’s relationship, I thought all of the characters were caricatures and not actually fleshed out, and some ghosts were sprinkled through to make it seem more gothic and witchy.

I think I need to point out the fact that this book took me 8 months to finish. I seriously could not get into the first third of the book. And even as the plot itself finally picked, I found it very predictable, ultimately. It felt like I had read these other elements of this story in other books, so unfortunately it didn’t feel original.
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Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for the opportunity to read this book in return for a review based upon my honest opinion.

This was a wonderful book, an honest to goodness old fashioned gothic novel.  This was the type of book I grew up reading long in to the night with a flashlight so my parents wouldn't see the light on in my room.  I really enjoyed this book.It relied on a wonderful story and misty, creepy scenery to set the backstory, not dramatic magic effects.  It was romantic and ghostly, it was heart wrenching and heart-warming.  This is a book I thought of long after I read it, it just left me satisfied, I was transported to late 1800's Massachusetts, under the willow tree.

Lydia and her family move to New Oldbury to escape a family scandal and start fresh, not long after that, our lovely Lydia discovers that she is in fact a witch.  As she tries to come to terms with her newfound abilities we are taken on a journey, one I loved.  This was a wonderful book with haunting characters and a superb storyline.
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