Review: The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox

I discovered Hester Fox last year with her debut novel, The Witch of Willow Hall, and thought it was marvelous.

When I saw that she had another haunting novel coming out, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it! I even saved it as my special October/Halloween feature!

It was released in the middle of September, and even though I wanted to start reading it right away, I also wanted to set the mood because her books demand it so I saved it for October!

Before we get down to this book, let’s talk for a minute about the cover! How unbelievably beautiful is this cover? I love this cover much more than her first book’s cover. The crumbling house in the background immediately made me think of something from a Poe story which has a special little connection to this book. Well done cover designer!


Maine, 1846. Gabriel Stone is desperate to escape the ghosts that haunt him in Massachusetts after his wife’s death, so he moves to Pale Harbor, Maine, where there is a vacancy for a new minister. Gabriel and his late wife had always dreamed of building their own church, and Pale Harbor is the perfect opportunity.

But not all is as it seems in the sleepy town of Pale Harbor. Strange, unsettling things have been happening, and the townspeople know that only one person can be responsible: Sophronia Carver, a widow who lives with a spinster maid in the decaying Castle Carver on the edge of town. Sophronia is a recluse, rumored to be a witch who killed her husband.

When Gabriel meets her, he knows the charming, beautiful woman cannot be guilty of anything. Together, Gabriel and Sophronia realize that the mysterious events have one thing in common: they all contain an element from the wildly popular stories of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe. And when the events escalate to murder, Gabriel and Sophronia must find the real killer, before it’s too late for them both (summary from Goodreads).


So admittedly the first couple of chapters read a little slow for me, but as soon as the story was set up, I was hooked and excited to dive right into this wonderful story. The setting of this book was an excellent choice. It added a lot of moodiness to the novel and I was completely wrapped up in the Maine coast.

It had a wonderfully gothic feel to it that is pitch perfect for this time of year. But it isn’t just a spooky story, it’s got romance, some gothic elements, as well as a mystery. This combination hits all the high notes for me and I found that I couldn’t get enough of this one.

I loved the little nods to Edgar Allen Poe throughout this one, if you like his stories and poems, then this book is going to speak to your heart.

This is my second book by this author and I think I actually liked this one better than the first book! This book had so much atmosphere and the characters were interesting and I found myself totally roped into their story. I was afraid at first because it did start a little slow, but as I said, it picked right up and I was completely taken in. I loved so much about this book and I was so glad that I waited to read it for the Halloween season. Obviously it can be read at any season but the cool, blustery days made this one extra special for me.

If you haven’t discovered Hester Fox yet, you need you! She is quickly becoming an auto-buy author for me and I can’t wait to see what her next book is about.

Book Info and Rating

Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Graydon House
ISBN 1525834266 (ISBN13: 9781525834264)
Free review copy provided by publisher, Graydon House, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: historical fiction, gothic


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