This book has been sitting in my Amazon cart for well over a year! I had it in my cart as a paperback and just never could decide if I wanted to pull the trigger to not. This book sounded like something I would like but it was also kind of off the beaten path and from a smaller press and if I was going to spend $14 on it, I wanted to make sure I was 100% sold on it. But then one night while I was sitting with my son, waiting for him to fall asleep, I was bored looking for something new to read.
Suddenly buying the ecopy for $10 sounded like a good idea and the moment felt right. I was instantly glad that I pulled the trigger! I was sucked into this one almost immediately and by the time I was done, I was kicking myself for not buying it sooner! If you are a Victoria Holt fan or Julia Klassen, then you are not going to want to miss this one! This has all the things I love about Gothic romances! Ambiguous characters, haunted castles, and of course romance!
This one absolutely drew me in and captivated me for a few days. I found myself spending longer and longer in my son’s room well after her went to sleep just so I could finish ‘one more page’! If you love Gothic mysteries with some romance you are not going to want to miss this one. Or maybe you have this book in your Amazon cart like I did and just aren’t sure if it’s worth it—well the answer is YES! Absolutely worth it!
Jane Eyre meets The Secret Garden in a gothic novel of romantic suspense set in 1890s Yorkshire.
Solicitor Vaughan Springthorpe knows perfectly well that Sir Peter Spencer’s offer of employment seems too good to be true: he hires her sight unseen, offering a suspiciously large salary to prepare the sale of Morton Abbey, his crumbling Yorkshire estate. But few people in late-Victorian England will entrust their legal affairs to a woman, and Vaughan is desperate to prove herself.
Once at Morton, Vaughan discovers that someone is determined to drive her away. An intruder tries to enter her bedroom at night, gunshots are fired outside her window, and an eerie crying echoes from the uninhabited second floor. Even Netherton, the nearest village, seems odd: the picturesque houses and perfect-looking families are haunted by dark secrets connected to Morton Abbey itself.
To complete her work and solve the mystery at the heart of Morton, Vaughan needs the help of Joe Dixon, the handsome gardener, and Nicholas Spencer, her employer’s irascible invalid brother. But with her questions diverted, her progress thwarted, and her sleep disrupted by the crying, will Vaughan escape Morton Abbey with her sanity intact or be cursed by the secrets within? (summary from Goodreads)
While I truly enjoyed this book, there was one aspect I wasn’t sure that I was going to love and that was the main character’s name—Vaughn really grated on my nerves. It felt out of time and place for the story. It’s totally a trivial thing and has no bearing on the story but stylistically for me it didn’t fit and I struggled at first. But soon enough I got over it and was able to focus on the story and characters and boy what a complex story! There was a lot happening within the story, a mysterious missing will, a handsome gardener, a deranged lord of the manor, and the curious haunting sounds of a child. I mean some of the plot points were a little sensational but overall I loved how things came together. I could have done without the missing child angle as I think there was enough within the story to keep the audience engaged but overall I found it balanced and enjoyable with a lot to keep me guessing.
I loved Vaughn and Nick together. There was a lot of chemistry and I found Nick curious and threatening but oddly charming and likable. I wanted to know all about him and what his back story was. I was so hooked and invested in their romance that I couldn’t wait to get back to the story to find out what would happen between them. Theirs is more of a slow burn romance which normally isn’t my jam but in this book it really worked for me and I was really excited to see the sparks flying between them. I also really loved the missing will angle. I thought it added a lot to the story and the plot as well as serving as a catalyst for an intriguing backstory.
There was never a time when I felt like this one was boring. I enjoyed every single chapter and was eager for more books like this and by this author. Some things were a little clunky, I didn’t think some aspects of the story were necessary and in the end things wrapped up faster than I was expecting but it wasn’t enough of an issue to alter my opinion of the book. To me it was just a new writer that needs a little polish but overall this one has solid good bones an I am excited for future books by this author. If you love Gothic romances and mystery you will not want to miss this one. My only regret was waiting so long to buy this one! It was absolutely worth every penny! Loved it!
Book Info and Rating
Format: ebook, 384 pages
Published: October 26 2021 by Thronfield Press
Review copy provided by personal collection in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre: Gothic lit, historical fiction