Cover Image: The Witch of Willow Hall

The Witch of Willow Hall

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

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?
Netgalley thank you for the advanced readers copy of Hester Fox novel,  I am a lover of historical fiction, While reading this book, I found it kept my attention but I must confess when I was finished  I enjoyed it and  would recommend. It.
Was this review helpful?
Oh my goodness, this book! I finished this in two days flat, and pretty much neglected all household duties in the process. I could NOT put this thing down! Have you ever read a book on your eReader, only to love it so much that you needed to buy the physical copy? Just to hold it in your hands? 

Yeah. Me too. As soon as human possibly, I need a copy of this book. 

The author created characters that are unbelievably individual. Each has their own personality, their own quirks, their own histories, their own hopes. Each progresses in depth as the plot moves forward, each one is memorable, and a couple take residence in your heart before the novel is through. The mystery that swirls around the story is incredibly well written, the plot moves forward quickly and the end of the book leaves you feeling both complete and slightly haunted. 

I need everything that this author has ever written or will write.
Was this review helpful?
This was such a fun book. The only criticism I have is of the second sentence in the book. “He lived one house over, with his snub nose and dusting of freckles....” What? He lived in the house with his snub nose? Not his parents or siblings.... Anyway, I am nitpicking, perhaps. But this just doesn’t sound right. I almost “put the book away,” - not that I put my Kindle away... - but I love historical mysteries (gothic, especially - I have never quite recovered from the death of my favorite brain candy writer from teen + decades - Victoria Holt (Eleanor Hibbert), so I read on. And I am glad I did. This is a fascinating story, very well written, and well researched. I literally could not put it down. The author keeps you in suspense regarding the ill fortune that has befallen Lydia - our protagonist - and her family, but chapter by chapter one begins to suspect why the family has had to flee Boston - as soon as I saw that “Charles and Catherine were joi....” OK. That would be telling too much. Trust me, however, if you like historical fiction with female protagonists, you will like this book. No review is complete without mentioning the author, of course. I, however, could find very little information about this talented young author, Hester Fox, except the little information on her web page: “Hester works in the museum field as a collections maintenance technician. This job has taken her from historic houses to fine art museums, where she has the privilege of cleaning and caring for collections that range from paintings by old masters, to ancient artifacts, to early American furniture. She has a master’s degree in historical archaeology, as well as a background in Medieval studies and art history. Hester lives outside of Boston with her husband..”
So, dear Ms Fox, I am very much looking forward to reading your writings in the future. Congratulations on this excellent book.
Was this review helpful?
The book pulls you in from the beginning with many twists and turns.  I didn't want to put it down, and could not wait to see what was going to happen next. I'm hoping for a sequel.
Was this review helpful?
The Witch of Willow Hall
Hester Fox
I received this copy from NetGalley for an honest Review:
It seems like it has been forever since I read a good old-fashioned Ghost Story, and that is what TWofWH was to me. The story centers around the Montrose family and their daughters. The family leaves Boston, in the year1821, because of a scandal and moves to Willow Hall. There, the daughters try to cope with the move and the reasons behind it. Catherine, Lydia & Emeline are not happy about the move but are willing to cope because of their frail mother.

The relationship between Lyd & Catherine is not loving and they have many trials to cope with. Lydia has inherited 'strange' powers from her great-great aunt who was hanged for being a witch in Salem, but she is unaware of what they are and has had no help from her mother to  understand how to use them. Catherine has a secret and needs to marry, Lydia feels strong feelings that she has never felt before and isn't sure how to handle them...Enter 2 handsome men who befriend the Montrose girls; Enter a couple of ghosts who keep Lydia up at night, a strange pond where deadly things happen, and the house's history of tragedy. 

Old time gossip, and tragedies of their own, the girls try to cope in their new world all while looking for solutions to their problems and love.

A very good story. Good character development, great atmosphere, and a love story all set among the ghosts & The Witch of Willow Hall.
Was this review helpful?
The first half of this book earns four stars. The second half gets three. 

This book hooked me from the beginning. I was eager to learn about about this wealthy Boston family haunted by rumors and other sinister things. The limits placed on women during the time period also added to the tensions in the story. 

So it starts off dark, which I liked. It reminded me of Shirley Jackson and V. C. Andrews. I enjoy the macabre, as long as it's not too messed up. But around the middle of the book, it starts to lighten up and a little bit of romance is introduced. Romance isn't a bad thing, but I wished it had been woven into the dark threads of this story a little better. I was hoping for some tortured heroes/heroines or evil forces threatening to tear them apart. It ended up not being that dramatic. 

Oh, well. Still a good book and a great debut for the author. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
Lydia and her family have just fled from Boston, leaving behind a scandal. As she and her family settle into the town of New Oldbury, she tries her best to forget what has happened and focus on her adored little sister Emeline. However, it seems that history cannot be buried or ignored and will soon be knocking at the door.

To be honest, at first, I wasn't sure what to think of this book. I read the first 50 pages or so and felt kind of 'meh' about it. It wasn't horrible, but it was so slow. However, I do have a fond attachment to witchy historical fiction novels, so I continued on. And I'm very glad I did; the plot picks up around page 100 or so and then it's a pleasant (if bit over-dramatic) read to the end.

I couldn't help but feel Fox invoking the spirits of the Bronte sisters and other Gothic writers. This book has that eerie feeling. Fox also does a great job at keeping to the norms of their time. While Lydia is a bit headstrong, it's a believable headstrong. She does as her parents bid her and she tries her best to follow the rules of society.

There is a lot going on plot-wise in the book, which I don't want to get into because of spoilers. However, it all resolves itself at a good pace. Lydia is a likable protagonist, and I found myself cheering when something good happened to her and cursing at her when she did something dumb.

Overall, a great read which I do recommend, especially if you're in the mood for a good women-discovering-herself book,
Was this review helpful?
This book was romantic and good while also maintaining a creepy dark vibe. I liked Lydia very much. I found her to be relatable and down to earth. I enjoyed this book and I will read this author again for sure.
Was this review helpful?