Old school gothic novel here. In the early part of the 19th century, the Montrose family finds themselves driven out of Boston by scandal. Moving to the small town/rural area where Mr. Montrose has a business interest, they settle in at the estate of Willow Hall. It’s not long before they find themselves beset by strange happenings. Lydia, the plain middle daughter, sees and hears ghosts. Emeline, the youngest, is obsessed with mermaids in the pond on the property. Catherine, the beautiful eldest, is obsessed only with finding a husband, preferably rich. Add to this cast of characters two eligible bachelors, and we have a bit- but not too much, thankfully- of gothic romance.
Lydia is a good main character. Unlike all too many gothic heroines, she isn’t weak and fainty. She doesn’t hate the love interest at first, then realize she loves him (nor is it love at first sight). She’s sensible. Her main interest is taking care of Emeline. She has no idea that she has supernatural powers.
The plot is decent. There are actually two main plot lines: Lydia’s, which includes Emeline and one of the two eligible males; and Catherine’s quest for a husband. She is one of those Center of the Universe people, and it turns out she has reason to act that way during the story. It’s a fast read (one evening) and kind of fun. I would have enjoyed it more if the supernatural element had been more prominent, and less time spent on Catherine. More witch, less b****. Four stars.
I received my copy of this book free from Net Galley in return for an honest review. This did not influence my opinions.