by Hester Fox
Genres: Historical Fiction, Paranormal
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“It was the Bishop boy who started it all…”
Boston, 1811: The Salem Witch Trials are over one hundred years in the past, and America is a changed place. Lydia Montrose is a young girl, enraged by the cruel boy who torments her. When she confronts him in the street, she draws a disbelieving crowd, and she cannot quite remember what she’s done.
Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it.
New Oldbury, 1821
In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall.
The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.
All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end…
I was drawn to The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox with its mention of Salem Witches and offer of an atmospheric tale. There are strange happens within Willow Hall and methinks magic is afoot.
“Take this as a warning: if you are not able or willing to control yourself, it will not only be you who suffers the consequences, but those around you, as well.”
Caffeinated Reasons to Grab The Witch of Willow Hall
- The tale Hester Fox weaves is dark and atmospheric with unrestful spirits, jealous spiteful sisters and denial that may be their undoing. The Montrose family is not new to scandal and Mr. Montrose has become a successful businessman until a scandal involving Catherine forces the family to flee the city.
- When they leave Boston and move to Willow Hall the country air brings more troubles. The slamming of doors, floating entities and voices that only Lydia and sometimes Emeline can hear.
- Told in first-person, present-tense by Lydia herself. While I know not everyone likes this POV, I felt it worked brilliantly as the story unfolded. Fox slowly reveals what really happened in Boston and the consequences that are still unfolding. It hooked me, disturbed me and before I knew it, the story held me spellbound.
- There is a subtle romance weaved into the story and it added suspense and uncertainty. It was a nice blend of supernatural and historical romance with walkabouts, and subtle glances.
- Lydia is a witch, only her mother has kept it from her, denying her access to a family journal that is passed down to those with the gift. Despite this and because of this strange things occur with unexpected consequences. That is until someone crosses the veil to warn her.
- I liked Lydia, but wanted her to stand up to Catherine who is an unholy terror wrapped in a pretty package. Emeline was adorable until she wasn’t. Their father was present, yet absent and their mother suffers from melancholy and perhaps denial over the scandal and wrongness of it all.
- While you might not like the characters, you will become caught up in their story and form strong opinions of them all.
- If you love Gothic, atmospheric tales that cause you to look over your shoulder, The Witch of Willow Hall will delight you. Fox does a delightful job of building the suspense, adding twists and shocking us with unimaginable reveals.
A stunning debut novel, The Witch of Willow Hall and its characters will stay with you long after you have closed the book. This would make a fantastic book club selection.
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