The Witch of Willow Hall

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

Great story. Couldn’t put it down. Great character development. Definitely recommend. I would suggest maybe changing the cover.
Was this review helpful?
Well written gothic mystery. Atmospheric. Perfect for fans of St. James or classic gothic fiction like Holt. Easy hand sell, especially come fall.
Was this review helpful?
This book was around 3-4 stars for me. It's an interesting mesh of a gothic ghost story with a witch aspect and a romance. It doesn't really take it as far as I would like though. There are occasional moments of creepiness and a dark history that have a lot of potential but never get fully fleshed out. The second half of the book becomes predictable with the characters too stereotypical, but I'll be interested to see what the author comes out with in the future.
Was this review helpful?
This is a beautifully written book, I truly enjoyed the writing. It’s old and slow but wonderful.

This is a story about family, loss, grief and witches. 
It takes place in a newly built home but on land where some tragic things have happened and some spirits still reside. Lydia is a wonderful character and I really enjoyed reading from her. After moving to Willow Hall from Boston, running from a horrible rumor about their family and her father investing in mills they are trying to start over. Her older sister Catherine is jealous and mean. She does anything she can to take Lydia’s happiness and has some dark secrets of her own. Emmaline is the baby and she’s wild, fun spirited and loveable. I adored her and my heart broke during parts of this book. This is a slow burning haunting story about finding out who you are and becoming who you’re meant to be. 

During the middle it was a little too slow for me but I was invested in Lydia’s story and the family. I wanted to see her get her happy ending. A very good read.
Was this review helpful?
This took a bit to get into, but I am glad to have stuck with it. It was not slow, I realized, just atmospheric. This is a book for a cold and dark winter's night.
Was this review helpful?
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, 

The Witch of Willow Hall is a little confusing in all the genres it tries to be- a ghost story? A romance? Historical fiction? A little bit of witchcraft? Definitely not sisterly love, that’s for sure.. 

The Witch of Willow Hall is the story of Lydia Montrose, middle daughter of an upper class Boston family who has to flee from the city to the country in 1821 after some scandalous rumors emerge about her older sister, Catherine. Lydia, who has always had unexplainable events occur around her, feels even more uneasy in her new home when she starts seeing dead people everywhere. 

The ghosts were my favorite part. With Hester Fox’s beautiful imagery and creepy settings there were scenes that left me with goose bumps. I wish there had been more of it, and more involving the witchcraft (which isn’t really explained until the last 20%). Instead, most of the story centers around Catherine’s drama and an eventual love triangle. 

Catherine bored me. Her villainy was predictable and disappointing. Lydia’s character in comparison is weak and wishy washy. It is Catherine, of course, who sets the lovers up for their main foil- a misunderstanding which could be easily resolved with being honest and upfront with each other. So frustrating, how about more witchy magic? That would have made more exciting drama. There was so much potential for this book that even though I enjoyed it I still feel disappointed.
Was this review helpful?
When rumors force a wealthy Boston family to flee the city to the country side with their three daughters, life takes a turn in so many ways. Not only does the middle daughter, Lydia, see her sisters  for who they really are to her, she finds out exactly who she is and comes into her own.

From the start, the author had my attention and I was fully immersed in the story.  Historical fiction with a side of romance and major helping of creepiness, this debut novel hits the mark!
Was this review helpful?
The Montrose sisters, Lydia, the shy one,  Charlotte, the beautiful, strong willed and Emeline, the baby who Lydia loves so much. . Their father is rich and invests in a mill  and their mother is somewhat frail. While looking for their dog,  Lydia meets John Barrett , a very handsome man who is partners with their farther. The Montrose family had to move from Boston to a different house due to a scandal no one will talk about.  What is the scandal? Will it soon be forgotten so they can go back to Boston? The book is full of deception, hate, pain, anger and so much heartache. Everyone has a secret. It seems that each secret is more disgraceful that the next. The Witch of Willow Hall is a book that I am so happy to be able to read. It's that good.  I received this book from Net Galley for an honest review and no compensation otherwise.
Was this review helpful?
From the bustling society of Boston, the Montrose daughters find themselves hurried off into the country and the quiet confines of their new home, Willow Hall.  Vain, self-centered, selfish Catherine. Quiet, kind Lydia and spoiled, sweet little Emeline.  Lydia, ever the peace keeper, tries to keep everyone content and thankful for their lovely new home.  Is she happy?  She thought she was, at least content, until disaster befalls them all.  Will Lydia be the one to once again bring peace to her family?  She just isn’t sure if she has the strength to make this happen or the power.  

Fox delivers a highly entertaining and tantalizing story in the Witch of Willow Hall.  Her novel begins with the underlying story of family in disgrace and a family with dark secrets.  There is hidden history that has been kept from those who need to hear it.  Though you might figure it out yourself, it doesn’t matter.  Fox keeps the story hooked into you with plight of sweet Lydia and her efforts to extract herself from the toxic influence of Catherine and become her own person.  The hints of the supernatural are subtle and slowly take their place within the storyline.  Older teens who enjoy escaping into a book will gladly crawl into Lydia’s world.  This is one of those novels that sneaks up on you, grabs you and immerses you within the pages so that you have difficulty just putting it down to get a snack.  Pick it up and enjoy the immersion.
Was this review helpful?
What a story! It absolutely captivated me — as soon as I started, I had to keep going to find out how the tale would unspool. This is an excellent gothic romance, deliciously dark, full of secrets, shame, and the supernatural.
Was this review helpful?
In 1821, Lydia’s family is forced to leave Boston and moves to New Oldbury. The introduction of the story is interesting, but once in New Oldbury, when Lydia meets her father’s young partner, the story turns into a romance. When dog goes missing, the search for him takes a few pages. Why they left Boston? It slowly builds up to be revealed, which is a good hook. But at some parts, the story is too drawn-out, not much happening. I gave up after 20% of the book.
Was this review helpful?
The ULTIMATE  page turner!

I typically don't read such dark novels, and I always hesitate when reading a new author's first published book, but the fact that the main character had a great aunt that was killed during the Salem Witch Trials, and I do too, I picked it up. 

Set in the 1800s of Boston, Lydia and her family have fled to the country side amidst a family scandal. She soon discovers that she too, is a witch and is struggling to come to terms with it while trying to learn more about it. As her relationships with her family start to crumble, she starts to realize how strong her feelings for her father's business partner are and then must deal with her sister's scheming ways. 

I can't convey enough how well or how captivating this book was to me. I never would have guessed that this was Hester Fox's debut novel and I cannot wait for another one! Not gonna lie, I'd love to see a Hale Women series and watch them evolve each generation. We'd get to catch up with the others and see what new troubles their powers cause as the times change around them.

Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Enjoyed reading this ARC. The pace was slow and helped create a tense atmosphere. I can definitely see this being made into a film!
Was this review helpful?
The Witch of Willow Hall is a skillfully crafted gothic romance. There were times that I felt like I was in 1821 right beside Lydia. 
The Montrose family flees Boston in the wake of scandal and rumors involving the eldest sister, Catherine. As they settle into the countryside, their father works to get a mill established with a local businessman, ghost seems to start to appear as tragedy occurs. 
The entire time you slowly get bits and pieces of what truly caused the Montrose family to relocate and at the same time, you feel the weight on Lydia’s shoulders grow heavier and heavier. As this weight grows, her relationship with Catherine dissolves. Her relationship with her mother unravels. The only light she had is John Barrett. Who, she can’t really be sure she has either. 
The scenes were rich in detail, dialogue and emotion. It made me want to continue reading well past the time I was supposed to be asleep. There were aspects that made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end and I needed to know more. There were heartbreaking moments but then there were times I felt so light, so hopeful I had to keep going. 
I enjoyed every page of this novel and hope to read more by the author in the future.
Was this review helpful?
Overall, I really enjoyed reading "The Witch of Will Hall." Hester Fox has a very pleasant style of prose while also being able to keep the reader on their toes. Her understanding of atmosphere and mood really encourages a wonderful reading experience. 

However, I felt the last third of the book to be a bit rushed which might sound odd seeing as the book is sitting at roughly 300 pages. Maybe I just wanted more build up regarding Cyrus, and some more intimate moments of Lydia and John getting to know each other. Maybe I wanted more to do with Moses and John's mother. The story was wrapped up nicely but it did seem like it was lacking some substance. 

Would I read this book again? Yes, a resounding yes.
Was this review helpful?
I throughly enjoyed this book, Lydia and her family move from Boston to the outer suburbs after rumors spread about the eldest daughter Catherine. On their first day  Lydia meets John Barrett who turns out to be her successful father’s new business partner, and she instantly likes him.   As they try to settle in this new way of life Lydia doesn’t get along with her manipulative older sister Catherine, while doteing on her younger sister Emiline. She’s also hiding many family secrets, and learning how to deal with new truths she’s discovering about herself. Lydia’s character is written so well, I easily felt every emotion as she did. The Witch of Willow Hall reminded me of Alice Hoffman books, whom I love, so I highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
I genuinely enjoyed this story. I love the setting and the new/old mythology woven into the characters lives. The historical accuracy is more refreshing than it's peers in it's genre. It's definitely got the sadness in it, so be prepared for the heartbreaking. I love, love, love witches and magic and I found this story to be a good addition to the many stories that I've read. My only complaint is that it was a bit drawn out. I might encourage the author to quicken up her pace in the future but that opinion is subjective to the individual reader.
Was this review helpful?
*This ARC was given to me by netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

This was exactly the kind of book that I love. When I first heard about this book, I knew I needed it. This was the perfect blend of a gothic novel. A family trying to outrun a rumor, a haunted house, and secrets left and right.

I really enjoyed the writing in this book. It captured me completely and the plot itself took me by surprise. While I did guess at the secret that was haunting Lydia's family, I wasn't disappointed to find out I was right, or thought it was obvious. The rumors were always mentions, but never fully spoken and I thought that was exactly how the book read. Like everyone knew, but no one would say it out loud. 

I didn't think I liked how easily Lydia fell for Mr. Berret. That literally changed within a couple pages afterwards because of course it had to happen this quickly. She was a girl who lived in her books and here came a guy who filled the role of her prince, but the author did such an amazing job at writing Lydia's feelings that I fell just as quickly for John as well.

Throughout this book, I was so frustrated. With how John was acting, with Catherine and the way she was selfishly acting (though in the end, I did like how her character was handled), and one of the biggest frustrations was when and if the ‘witch’ would make an appearance. The supernatural aspect in this book is very subtle. Yes there are ghost, and while Lydia did have moments when her powers would show, these moments were tiny details compared to the secret that made this family run.

I think that's what I enjoyed most about this book. The magic in it was just mentioned in the right ways that made it seem like, yes this is real.
Was this review helpful?
Very enjoyable.  A rather gothic, romance style that reminded me more of Victoria Holt books than the current popular authors mentioned in the write up.
Was this review helpful?
I was immediately drawn to the gothic tone of The Witch of Willow Hall with all of the suspense and intrigue in the beginning chapters. The first two-thirds of the novel were very strong and captivating. I loved reading about all of the eerie events happening at Willow Hall and discovering more about Lydia's family and the mysterious Mr. John Barrett. Lydia is a relatable protagonist and the other two sisters, Catherine and Emeline, act as excellent contrasts to Lydia's subdued character. John is a good love interest, but his character wasn't very dimensional. Unfortunately, I felt like the last third of the novel was very rushed and I wasn't happy with how some characters' storylines were concluded. The characters sort of unravelled and they seemed to act out of character compared to earlier in the novel. The family drama was enough to keep me interested and continue reading till the end. Overall, I really enjoyed the book, but the ending fell a little short for me.
Was this review helpful?