The very first novel that I remember loving was The Silk Vendetta by Victoria Holt. I was eleven or twelve and no doubt missed all the adult nuances of the story, but what I didn’t miss was the Gothic atmosphere of the novel. I went through a lengthy Victoria Holt period in my early teens and then again as an adult. I am always looking for books that capture what I loved about Victoria Holt…..creepy, atmospheric historical fiction with a romantic element.
This book sounded like exactly that—and it was! I have never grown out of my Gothic Lit phase and reading books like this, I am reminded just how much I love Gothic novels with romance. Many authors have tried to strike a similar balance like Victoria Holt, but not many authors have succeeded. I can think of only a few authors who I would consider similar to Victoria Holt but Abigail Wilson is now one such author!
I adored this book even if there were some things that I thought could have been more nuanced or flushed out, over all this novel had me transfixed and in suspense until the very end. I have been looking forward to this one for quite some time and was thrilled with all the atmosphere this one delivered!
Disappearances, strange activities in the night, and secret organizations abound in this mysterious Regency romance.
Haunted by the assault she’s kept hidden over the past four years, Charity Halliwell finally has a chance to return home to the quaint village she left more than five years before and the happy life she wants so badly to reclaim. All she needs is good conversation with her old friend and an opportunity to find a governess position, and she can leave the fear and guilt behind. But the family who agrees to her yearlong visit turns out to be a far cry from the one she thought she knew, particularly when her friend disappears and the one man she made certain would not be at the house is forced to return. How can she possibly heal and claim her independence when day in, day out she must face the only gentleman who ever held a piece of her heart?
Piers Cavanagh was branded a coward when he failed to show up for a duel he arranged. He had his reasons, of course, but disclosing them would hurt far more than continuing life as an outcast. And worse, with the mysterious departure of his sister, the strange nightly occurrences in the ruins of an old abbey, and the uncomfortable whispers of a secret organization, Piers must overcome his aversion to society and work with the last person he ever thought he would get the chance to speak to again—the girl whose heart he had no choice but to break. (summary from Goodreads)
This novel was ripe with all the best Gothic elements. A mysterious disappearance, an old manor home, a family fallen from grace and favor, secret societies, and of course a brooding hero and a heroine with her own secrets. I adored all the atmosphere in this one and the disappearance of Charity’s friend, Seline, created the perfect amount of suspense. I loved trying to figure out what happened to her and while the growing fear for her safety intensified. There were plenty of suspects that each had motive, I enjoyed watching the mystery unfold and discovering the motives. Fans of Gothic Lit will surly fall in love with this novel as I did.
I enjoyed Piers and Charity together. There were times when I felt like there could have been more heat or chemistry between them though. Their romance was more sweet and tender which worked for this book and it had a natural progression to it and did not eclipse the larger mystery, but I had hoped for a little more chemistry. There was a lot more of a focus on their friendship and healing which was appropriate for the story, but I think the author could have added a little something more to add some chemistry between them.
The only thing I had a bit of a hard time with Piers ‘disgrace’. I thought it would have been more impactful if his disgrace was something more than cowardice and the duel. I think there were plenty of other scenarios that would have made more sense or been more impactful to his narrative. I mean, it worked but I would have liked to have seen something a little more intense or dramatic considering the Gothic nature of the story. One of the things I love most about the Gothic genre is that it gives authors more latitude to be more dramatic in their storytelling and I would have liked to have seen something a little more sensational for Piers.
My criticism of this one are minor though and center mostly on personal preference. Overall this novel was wonderful and pulled me in, in a way that I wasn’t suspecting. I was anxious for the characters and eager to see what happened to Seline and the other characters. There were plenty of twists to keep me guessing and nervous for the outcome. I thought I had the culprit pegged but then I was surprised by the path things ultimately went down. I loved this book and I cannot wait to read more by this author. I think the author captures Victoria Holt’s Gothic novel to the letter and I couldn’t be happier with this one!
Book Info and Rating
Paperback, 336 pages
Published January 26th 2021 by Thomas Nelson
ISBN0785232958 (ISBN13: 9780785232957)
Free review copy provided by publisher, Thomas Nelson in partnership with HFVBT in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre: Historical fiction, gothic lit
Where to Buy
Praise for The Vanishing at Loxby Manor
天anishing at Loxby Manor cleverly combines Regency romance with Gothic intrigue, and the result is a suspenseful, thoroughly entertaining read. Charming and lovely.迫Tasha Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of In the Shadow of Vesuvius
鏑ike each of Wilson痴 novels, The Vanishing at Loxby Manor drew me in from the start and didn稚 let go. From the heartfelt characters to the twists that kept me guessing, I relished each turn of the page. Wilson is a master at historical mystery, and I cannot wait for her next story.迫Lindsay Harrel, author of The Joy of Falling
鄭bigail Wilson痴 latest Gothic romance hits the notes readers have come to expect from her talented pen: romance, shadows and intrigue and a brilliantly executed atmosphere. She is a master at her craft and a rare stand-out in a popular genre.迫Rachel McMillan, author of The London Restoration
展eaving a shadow of mystery among the gilded countryside of Regency England, Wilson’s tale of love lost, buried shame, and secret societies is a delicious blend of romance and intrigue. Splash in gorgeous historical Regency details, and murder brewing around every stone, and readers will be burning through the pages until the riveting end.迫J’nell Ciesielski, author of The Socialite
鄭 gothic romance that is filled with great characters and a mystery that unfolds chapter by chapter. A perfect blend of mystery, family relationships, lost years, and star-crossed love. Be warned, you won’t be able to walk away from these characters.迫Cara Putman, award-winning author of Flight Risk
About the Author
About the Author
Abigail Wilson combines her passion for Regency England with intrigue and adventure to pen historical mysteries with a heart. A registered nurse, chai tea addict, and mother of two crazy kids, Abigail fills her spare time hiking the national parks, attending her daughter痴 gymnastic meets, and curling up with a great book. In 2017, Abigail won WisRWA痴 Fab Five contest and in 2016, ACFW痴 First Impressions contest as well as placing as a 2017 finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.
She is a cum laude graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and currently lives in Dripping Springs, Texas, with her husband and children.
Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, January 19
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals
Wednesday, January 20
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Thursday, January 21
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Friday, January 22
Review at The Green Mockingbird
Tuesday, January 26
Guest Post at Novels Alive
Wednesday, January 27
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks
Thursday, January 28
Review at Read Review Rejoice
Saturday, January 30
Review at Nursebookie
Monday, February 1
Review at The Caffeinated Bibliophile
Tuesday, February 2
Review at Amy’s Booket List
Wednesday, February 3
Review at Passages to the Past
Enter to win a copy of The Vanishing at Loxby Manor by Abigail Wilson! Five copies are up for grabs!
The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on February 5th. You must be 18 or older to enter.