ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Title: The Witch of Willow Hall
Author: Hester Fox
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Pages: 368, Kindle Edition
““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.
Ten years later, Lydia finds herself in a carriage bound for the rural New Oldbury, Massachusetts, her family fleeing Boston in the wake of a scandal connected to her older sister, Catherine, her own engagement to a promising young man abruptly broken. The stately Willow Hall, which Mr. Montrose built as a summer retreat for his family, is now the only home the Montroses can have.
Lydia resents that she’s lost everything. But her resentment turns to disquiet when it becomes apparent that Willow Hall hides dark secrets that no one in the Montrose family could have predicted, like the ominous messages Lydia keeps receiving: “You attract them. Prepare.” And Mr. Montrose’s handsome business partner, John Barrett, seems to begrudge that Mr. Montrose has brought his family with him to Willow Hall.
When whatever lurks in the house and its surrounding woods does the unthinkable, Lydia knows she is the only one who can stop it. Summoning powers she barely understands, Lydia must engage the forces around her to keep her family safe, while protecting the blossoming love she has with John—who has secrets of his own.”
Oh my this was a good one. I went into this book without knowing anything about it, I didn’t read the synopsis before I started reading (not on purpose, I’m just bad at things) so everything was a surprise, but in the best way possible. This was the perfect creepy historical fiction story and if you’re into those types of books then I strongly recommend picking this one up.
The thing that made me love this book the most was the overall atmosphere. It’s got such a dark and creepy vibe and the dread is subtle but all encompassing, and it’s done in the best way. You really get the sense that there’s something not right going on but it isn’t until the end when all the little clues have been revealed that you get the full scope of the story. Because you have to keep reading to get little snippets, the book has a very mysterious quality to it, there’s so many different elements to the mystery and I couldn’t put this one down because I just needed to know what happened. With all that being said it’s probably pretty obvious that this book was SUSPENSEFUL AS HELL. And I loved it. It’s honestly one of those books that you’re just thrown into and that you need to keep reading because not finding out what happens next just isn’t an option. (Also the twists, so many and so well done.)
The other thing that made me love this book was just the characters, our main character Lydia was so well written and so complex. I loved reading her struggles with certain thoughts she had and her reactions to what was going on around her. I also really enjoyed reading all the different relationships she had with the other characters, from her conflicted relationship with one sister to her absolute love for the other and her worry and quiet love of her parents. It was just so nice to read, and added the perfect element to the book. Also this book highlighted the fact that boys just kind of suck sometimes, I know that it’s a common trope/plot device in historical fiction but wow they are dumb in this story. It did add to the story though so I’m not too mad.
The only thing that kept this from being a 5 star read for me was the love interest, I definitely didn’t hate the romance in this one, it was still well done, but I just felt like it was a bit lackluster. I’m not sure what was missing for me but I just felt like I wanted something a little extra. Also the miscommunication trope is something that I hate. This book is still worth it, even if you hate it as well, but it is in there just as a heads up.
Honestly I loved this book, it’s the perfect atmospheric and dark fall read with a wonderful main character and twists that prevent you from putting the book down. If you’re into that sort of thing then please pick this one up once it’s released because I need more books like this.