Wednesday, March 9, 2016

XBR4OF #10: Haunting Violet #1

Xyra's Book Reviews for Older Followers

Haunting Violet

by Alyxandra Harvey

This book came up in a newsletter and the blurb sounded quite inviting. Not your typical paranormal, young adult novel. No faeries, vampires, werewolves, or zombies. 

This one is set during Victorian England mostly in the countryside. Think Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility. Considering how close Lord Jasper's manor is to Rosefield I kept picturing Sense and Sensibility. Part of that has to do with the author using the name Willoughby for the main character and her mother.

You may wonder why this book review fits in our "Tea Week" theme, well, Violet was always having tea; especially when she read. Her mother also seemed to drink a lot of tea, but her tea was more like that found in speakeasies during prohibition.

This review may be misnamed. I would let any of the girls read this book. It's like Murder, She Wrote with "real" ghosts. The ghosts could be a problem for some; Rowena can be dramatic. As a movie it would be PG for some violence. The romance is light.

The Review

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Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

I loved this story! It wasn't truly amazing, but it was a really good read!

If you like mystery and ghost stories, then this is a novel for you. Set during the Victorian era (I don't remember a date given, but the description of the fashions and the titles of the books the main character mentions points in that direction) we meet Violet, the daughter of a fraudulent spiritualist (i.e., medium or psychic), whose paranormal gifts come alive during a gathering at Lord Jasper's country house.

Violet is a tortured soul to begin with; she does not like her mother's line of work or how they play with the emotions of the people who hire them. She is intelligent and caring. The only thing I did not like about her was her early refusal to work with her gifts and the spirits talking to her.

During Lord Jasper's first party, a young, strong spirit reveals her plight to Violet and the detective work begins. Not an easy task for a young girl trying to stay within the confines of social propriety. It's during the investigations we see the most violence.

Do you like gothic romances? There is a small bit of that in the story too. From Lords to tailors to gardeners. Of course, you also find some of the abuses of the age as well. Violet's mother...the scandal hounds and gossip mongers.

The story is just the right length; neither too long nor too short. Only once or twice did I want a scene to move faster than it was. Apparently, this is the first book in a series. There is no word on book two, and this one finishes in such a way it could be a stand alone.

I really enjoyed reading this book and am glad I picked it up.

Happy reading!

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