This book had me written all over it. Gothic romance—check. Brooding hero—check. Crumbling old creepy house on the moors—triple check. I needed this book so bad this Halloween season and I couldn’t wait to read it because it clearly had all the hallmarks of a quick read for me not to mention one that I would absolutely love for the ambiance.
It literally took zero convincing for me to agree to read this book simply for all the atmosphere it promised. I think this book will delight readers who love Gothic romances (like me!) as well as historical fiction that is both familiar and yet different. This book has a lot to recommend itself, it is a debut novel and could maybe use a little polish in spots but overall it was a delight to read and I think fans of historical fiction but especially Gothic romance will fall in love with this one.
After finishing this debut, I am excited to see how Kennedy grows as an author in future books. She has a knack for creating atmosphere and a story that I could enjoy that kept me guessing. I really enjoyed this one and I hope you all do too! Keep reading till the end to check out other stops on this blog tour!
Some houses hold secrets that are meant to be kept forever…
When Eliza Sullivan inherits an estate from a recently deceased aunt, she leaves behind a grievous and guilt-ridden past in New Orleans for rural England and a fresh start. Eliza arrives at her new home and finds herself falling for the mysterious lord of Havenwood, Malcolm Winfield. Despite the sinister rumors that surround him, Eliza is drawn to his melancholy charm and his crumbling, once-beautiful mansion. With enough love, she thinks, both man and manor could be repaired.
Not long into their marriage, Eliza fears that she should have listened to the locals. There’s something terribly wrong at Havenwood Manor: Forbidden rooms. Ghostly whispers in the shadows. Strangely guarded servants. And Malcolm’s threatening moods, as changeable as night and day.
As Eliza delves deeper into Malcolm’s troubling history, the dark secrets she unearths gain a frightening power. Has she married a man or a monster? For Eliza, uncovering the truth will either save her or destroy her (summary from Goodreads)
One thing that I loved about this one was that Eliza and her sister are coming to England from America to sort of start over if you will. A distant relative has died and left her estate to Eliza with some pretty outlandish stipulations but Eliza is up for fulfilling those if it means that she will have her freedom to start her horse farm. I really liked this angle of the story. The horse breeding program and two sisters embarking on this new adventure to a country they know basically nothing about. I loved that they are from New Orleans and that some of the more occult traditions made their way into this story (tarot cards, voodoo etc). I thought this added a lot of interest and fun to the story.
The setting also ticked all the wonderful gothic boxes for me. I loved the creepy crumbling house with dark secrets and a bit of haunting to go with it. I loved Havenwood Manor, I thought it was the perfect gothic house and basically had a story all its own. The house and all its secrets was what made this book for me. The setting and the mood of this book hit all the gothic high marks and that’s ultimately what kept me reading. The characters were alright for me, I personally found Eliza the most relatable (as it should be as the main character) but even so, I didn’t love her. Her decisions and personality often felt at odds with the time period and I struggled with that a bit.
While I genuinely enjoyed the larger story, this one had a couple of rough spots that I would like to see tightened up in future books by the author. I think the biggest thing that I struggled with was the accuracy of the period language. While not a big thing in of itself, but couple that with Eliza’s character and sometimes the language and choices of the character didn’t mesh as well as I would have liked in this one. I did enjoy the romance/mystery though and I thought it resolved well. I ultimately went with 4 stars for this one. It was good but could use a bit of polish to make it really really shine!
Book Info and Rating:
Published: November 1 2021, Lake Union Publishing
Free review copy provided by publisher, Lake Union in partnership with HFVBT, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Gothic fiction, historical fiction
“A beautiful, crumbling mansion in the English countryside; a charming but enigmatic viscount; ghosts; rumors; and a labyrinth of dark secrets, lies, twists, and well-executed turns…As if that wasn’t enough, add rich atmosphere and an American-heiress heroine determined to settle her own future. Kennedy has crafted a delicious, romantic gothic mystery that will keep readers guessing even as they’re feverishly turning the final pages.” —Megan Chance, author of A Splendid Ruin
“I was riveted by Paulette Kennedy’s Parting the Veil, a dazzling debut that hearkens to the best of the classic gothic tradition but with a sensibility that will appeal to modern readers. Kennedy writes with compassion, attention to detail, and the confident prose of a seasoned writer. Deliciously eerie, passionate, and suspenseful, this book is an emotional roller coaster that kept me turning its pages long into the night.” —Jo Kaplan, author of It Will Just Be Us
“If you love a gothic tale full of twists and turns and things that go bump in the night, Paulette Kennedy’s Parting the Veil is a not-to-be-missed treat. This debut is the perfect book to curl up with on a stormy night, but don’t expect to put it down easily. And don’t forget the Earl Grey and biscuits.” —Barbara Davis, bestselling author of The Last of the Moon Girls
“An American heiress with a scandalous past meets a mysterious British lord in this swoon-worthy gothic thriller. Parting the Veil takes familiar plot elements—a ruined mansion, family secrets—and gives them a sexy, modern twist. This stunning debut from Paulette Kennedy kept me guessing until the very end!” —Elizabeth Blackwell, author of Red Mistress and On a Cold Dark Sea
“Parting the Veil is a gothic romance full of sly and sometimes shocking twists and turns, with the requisite crumbling manor house, loads of secrets, and long, haunting shadows of grief. Kennedy spares no mercy for a bucolic English village that teems with lies, forbidden desires, and murder.” —Kim Taylor Blakemore, author of After Alice Fell
“Atmospheric and cleverly plotted, Parting the Veil grabbed me from the first page and tightened its grip with each immersive chapter. Whenever I thought I knew how it would end, Kennedy’s haunting debut surprised me, while delivering gothic chills alongside each captivating twist. Clear your schedule to read in one sitting like I did.” —Elle Marr, Amazon Charts bestselling author of The Missing Sister and Lies We Bury
“Absolutely enthralling. This sultry, mysterious, and immersive tale had me in its grasp from page one.” —Laura McHugh, award-winning author of What’s Done in Darkness
About the Author
Writing historical fiction for the romantic-at-heart reader who craves page-turning twists and a touch of the supernatural, Paulette Kennedy infuses her stories with realistic detail to create a cinematic, immersive experience for the reader.
As a history lover, she can get lost for days in her research—learning everything she can about the places in her novels and what her characters might have experienced in the past.
Originally from the Missouri Ozarks, Paulette now lives with her family in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles. In her free time, she enjoys tending to her garden, knitting, and finding unique vintage treasures at thrift stores and flea markets.
Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, November 2
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Monday, November 8
Review at Reading the Past
Wednesday, November 10
Review at A Girl Reads Bookss
Thursday, November 11
Review at Rajiv’s Reviews
Friday, November 12
Review at Booking With Janelle
Enter to win a copy of Parting the Veil by Paulette Kennedy! Open to the US only.
The giveaway ends on November 12th. You must be 18 or older to enter.