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Haunting Violet

Haunting Violet

4.1 63
by Alyxandra Harvey

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Violet Willoughby doesnt believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mothers elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability.


Violet Willoughby doesnt believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mothers elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.
Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mothers scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend shes known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Harvey (the Drake Chronicles) delivers a fun adventure in the form of a Victorian mystery novel that captures the feel (and the flaws) of the age. At the height of the Spiritualist movement, 16-year-old Violet's mother is a con artist, taking advantage of Spiritualists like rich Lord Jasper, to whose estate they've been invited. Violet and Colin—an orphan taken in by her mother—assist in the cons, but Violet is surprised to learn that she can actually see the dead, and that the voiceless ghost of a teenager named Rowena wants Violet's help in bringing her killer to justice. Other complications include Violet's attraction to Colin (which conflicts with her mother's social climbing), an upper-class suitor, and Rowena's bratty (and very much alive) twin sister. Aided by her gossip-loving best friend, Violet unravels a complicated series of secrets, endangering her social standing and her life in the process. Harvey's writing is witty and brings headstrong, irreverent Violet to life ("Never mind finding an eligible bachelor, I mean to find a murderer"). The mystery is relatively uncomplicated, but the social complications drive both plot and character development. Ages 12–up. (June)
From the Publisher

“Harvey brings together with aplomb all the quintessential elements of a classic Victorian gothic: the beautiful but fortuneless heroine looking for a better life, the rambling estate with too many secrets, the suspicious-looking death of yet another beautiful girl, and, finally, the promise of a sultry and forbidden romance… The ghosts are genuinely creepy, the leading men are deliciously swoonworthy, and the ending is appropriately happy, making this a perfect accompaniment to a stormy night and a nice spot of tea.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Harvey (the Drake Chronicles) delivers a fun adventure in the form of a Victorian mystery novel that captures the feel (and the flaws) of the age… Harvey's writing is witty and brings headstrong, irreverent Violet to life.” —Publishers Weekly

“Harvey keeps the narrative moving smoothly and well as she weaves romance, suspense and even a bit of comedy into the story…. A well-paced, clever and scary supernatural-suspense story.” —Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—This novel is a mixture of mystery and historical fiction, with added bonuses of mediums, ghosts, and teenage love, all set in the backdrop of Victorian society. Violet Willoughby has participated in her medium mother's fraudulent séances since she was nine. Now 17, she is used to seeing her mother scheme rich widowers and old men out of their savings, and she is skeptical about the supernatural. However, on a visit to the country estate of Lord Jasper, Violet encounters the ghost of a girl her own age who is seeking help. Violet must find out what happened to Rowena, who died the year before, and she must do so quickly, before Rowena's twin sister suffers the same fate. She turns to Colin, her mother's assistant and the one boy she's grown to love, to share her visions. Also, there is a chance that Violet could escape her mother's wrath by marrying a gentleman of means. This all could be jeopardized if her secret ability is known. With the help of Colin and a friend, she may be able to accept her strange talent, prevent another girl from dying, and save her chances for a future free of lies. Readers will connect with Violet, who is struggling with coming to terms with her self-identity.—Shannon Seglin, Patrick Henry Library, Vienna, VA
Kirkus Reviews

In Victorian England, the daughter of a fake medium finds herself embroiled in a murder mystery when she starts seeing real ghosts.

Sixteen-year-old Violet has learned to pick pockets and set up rooms for fake séances, but she knows she'll be stuck in poverty if she doesn't marry a wealthy man. Fortunately she's beautiful, and her domineering mother's growing fame as a medium has brought them to the country estate of Lord Jasper, a devotee of spiritualism. Almost immediately, Violet begins seeing the apparition of Rowena, a wealthy girl who drowned the year before. It's clear to Violet, though, that Rowena was murdered and that the dead girl's haughty twin sister faces equal danger. Harvey keeps the narrative moving smoothly and well as she weaves romance, suspense and even a bit of comedy into the story. She portrays many of Lord Jasper's aristocratic guests convincingly as snobbish and uncaring, although a few befriend Violet. The author makes her fantasy believable by having Violet see not just one ghost, but roomfuls of them, both ancient and modern. Most endearingly, Violet's newly found ghost dog attaches itself to her as though it were a living pet.

A well-paced, clever and scary supernatural-suspense story. (Paranormal suspense. 12 & up)

Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
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File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Alyxandra Harvey is the author of the Drake Chronicles-Hearts at Stake, Blood Feud, and Out for Blood. She studied creative writing and literature at York University and has had her poetry published in several magazines. She lives in an old Victorian farmhouse with a few resident ghosts, her husband, hawk, and two dogs.
ALYXANDRA HARVEY studied creative writing and literature at York University and has had her poetry published in several magazines. When not writing, she is a belly dancer and jewelrymaker. She lives in an old farmhouse in Ontario with her husband, hawk, and two dogs. www.alyxandraharvey.com www.heartsatstake.com

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Haunting Violet 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
TheMochaLatte More than 1 year ago
Haunting Violet's cover is absolutely gorgeous! Purple of course is my favorite color. Though aside from that, the cover is quite fitting for the story once you've read it. It features main character Violet ,hence the color of the cover,laying in water, which is decoratively adorned with water lilies. However, it is unfortunate that the paper used to print the cover on is bland. A shimmering and reflective paper would have enhanced the beauty of the cover to an entirely different level. What many readers do not know from reading the summary is that Haunting Violet takes place during the year 1872, thus making it a historical paranormal romance for young adults. Violet Willoughby is the only daughter of a fraudulent medium. Along with her are her mother, who believes that her work fraudulent medium work is purely charitable, Colin, an Irish orphan , and Marjorie, a maid-of-all-work rescued from a brothel. Readers will find themselves in Violet's point of view, witnessing the trickery both she and Colin are forced to ensue to make the fraudulent seances appear realistic to the paying spectators. Despite her mothers constant reminder that what she does is purely charitable and reassuring for the mourners, Violet sees it only as a new way for her mother to scam people of their money. Their journey eventually arrives at Lord Jasper's home, a wealthy gentlemen with an open mind towards the spiritual and supernatural. Violet's mother instantly jumps at the chance to impress everyone with her charade and bodes Violet and Colin to come along. Though what is not expected is that Violet would encounter a real ghost, one of Tabitha's sister Rowena. Not only that but Violet also discovers that she has the gift that her mother's been faking the entire time; the gift to see the spiritual world. Immediately, Violet, Colin and her new friend Elizabeth find themselves racing through their days trying to solve the murder. You see, someone murdered Rowena, though the families claim it was an accidental drowning. Rowena won't rest until Violet has found her murderer and this of course causes quite a bit of danger for our leading lady. Additional to the gruesome and sometimes hilarious ghosts portrayed in Harvery's Haunting Violet, there is also mystery and romance. The romance, however, is very slight and in no way destroys the original aim of the plot. I found myself enjoying Harvey's Haunting Violet very much. The refreshing tale of ghosts, murder, mystery and romance all taking place in the late 1800's was very exciting and fun to read. A recommended read for all young adults.
writingirl_15 More than 1 year ago
3 ½ Stars: I really wanted this book to be a great read; something that pulled you into the characters' world and wouldn't let you go. After all the rave reviews I read about it, I thought for sure it would be great. While I won't deny that Haunting Violet was a good book, in my opinion, it just wasn't that great. The premise of the book, a 17-year-old girl in Victoria Era England who starts seeing ghosts and has to solve a year old murder mystery, had me intrigued. I am a complete sucker for the supernatural. The mystery and supernatural aspects of the book were done very well. Not only am I a sucker for the supernatural but I am also a romance junkie, and that's where this book let me down. I'm the type of person who likes to see a romance grow between two people, how else is the reader supposed to appreciate and understand how the hero and heroine feel about each other? The romance between Colin and Violet just..was. It was very abrupt. There was no build up, no explanation of their feelings about each other before they suddenly realized they loved each other. It was like the author was too busy writing the mystery that she didn't focus enough on the romance part. We also didn't learn much about Colin's past, which I was curious about. All in all, it was a good read with a few flaws. Violet was a very likeable character, as was her friend Elizabeth. There were scenes that made me laugh and some that freaked me out. Although this book didn't exactly pull me in, it was a good ghost story and I would recommend Haunting Violet to a friend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book wasnt bad. Some parts were great, and interesting. But some parts were sort of boring and confusing. That might have to do with the fact that im only 13... Id say that if you like mystery and ghosts, you should get it.
DarkHart More than 1 year ago
This book had a very entertaining story. It had elements of mystery, supernatural, romance, comedy, history, and more. I've already recommended it to friends. It reminds me of the movie "The Awakening" and also reminds me a bit of Jane Austin type novels.
TonyMO More than 1 year ago
This book takes place during Victorian times in England; it involves a mother being a fake Medium to provide for her and her daughter, and also involves a boy who latches to the mother to help her fake séances. Good story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
16-year-old Violet has been forced to be an assistant to her mother, a fraudulent medium. But something goes awry in their con, because suddenly Violet is seeing real ghosts. One in particular needs her help to bring her murderer to justice. Setting is 1850s England
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with this book just when I looked at the cover. Once you read the nook, and find out who Rowena is, you will atomaticaly see the resemblence. Once you start reading the first page, it pulls you in. You go along with Violet, a 16 year old girl who doesn't believe in ghosts because her mother is a "spiritualist" who does "seances" with grieving people to get money by "contacting" their dead relatives. Violet's mother likes to think she is better than anyone else, so of course she would need a servant boy, Colin. Colin has lived with Violet and her mother for a very long time. He would play pranks on Violet like putting an earthworm in her cucumber salad. But, over the years Violet has become fond of him and, like any good paranormal romance, Colin, after you mentaly begging him, finally kisses Violet. This book will have you lauhing, gasping, and even crying at times. The detail that the author put into the ghosts, how Violet reacted to them, and how Collin fixed it had me on edge at all times. It is so realistic that I wish they would turn it into a movie! All in all I think that tis book deserves at least 100,000,000 stars.
Lauren817 More than 1 year ago
Ever since I saw the beautiful cover and the intriguing synopsis for Alyxandra Harvey's Haunting Violet, I have been dying to read it, as if there is one thing I love its well-written historical fiction, especially if it involves something supernatural as well. Thankfully, this book perfectly fit the bill! For Violet Willoughby, she is starting to become sick of the life she has been given. She cannot stand watching her mother constantly trick people into giving their money over for her so-called séances, which are the definition of fake, as well as dragging poor Violet and Colin, her mother's young assistant, along for the ride. Better yet, she is also tired of her mother constantly telling her to marry a rich man when all Violet really wants to do is find someone she truly loves, someone who will let Violet be Violet. However, everything changes when Violet and her family are called to Lord Jasper's house to help conduct séances for his guests's entertainment. Soon enough Violet is involved in a murder mystery involving a snobby, elitist society girl and her dead twin sister who Violet is actually able to see. Will Violet be able to save the day before someone else is killed? Or will Violet soon become shark's bait herself? And will Violet ever be able to get out of her mother's plans for the future? Only time and more pages can tell in this mystery that will have nearly any reader thinking, "Who did it?" From start to finish, I adored and rooted for several characters in Haunting Violet including Violet, of course. Strong yet sweet, Violet is a girl who has her head on her shoulders but yet isn't afraid of letting her heart lead her way sometimes. It was always fun to see Violet interact with the different society people, and for Violet to allow for her talents in spiritualism grow also, as this portion especially allowed for Violet's coming of age. I also adored the addition of Colin, Violet's adorable Irish love interest, as well as Elizabeth, Violet's hilarious and headstrong best friend. The plot of Haunting Violet was also intricate. Not only because of the complex murder mystery subplot, but also because of the sprit powers Violet possessed. The murder mystery especially kept me turning the pages, and even though I had a basic gist of who the murder was for a portion of the book, I still managed to be a little surprised at how everything turned out in the end. I also loved Violet's romance subplot. Not only because it developed in a realistic speed but also because it wasn't a main focus of the story. Lastly, Alyxandra's writing was great in this. I had only read one book by Alyxandra prior to this (Hearts at Stake, the first in the Drake chronicles), and while I enjoyed her writing in that one, it took an even better turn in this book. I always felt like I was right there with the characters in the 1870s because of her descriptions, and her characters never failed to jump of the page and come to life. The only aspect I was a little shaky on was how I felt she modernized some of the dialogue between the characters at times. Full of adventure, mystery, and romance, Haunting Violet is the perfect summer read. Best of all, it contains a solid, standalone ending, and what's not to love about that? Grade: B+
Ladystorm More than 1 year ago
First of I just love Alyxandra Harvey, she has fast become one of my favorite authors. I have read all the books so far in the Drake Chronicles and I was a little curious about how she would fair writing about ghost instead of vampires, I wasn't disappointed. Violet hates what her mother does and she only goes along with it because she has no choice. The only upside to it is having Collin there with her, her long time friend. Collin was taken in by Violet's mother when he was young and raised up to help her with her trickery. Violet's mother claims to be a medium and has Violet and Collin help her to fluff it up a bit with tricks. Violet and her mother get invited to a Lord's estate to put on a spiritualist show for some rich people. The only thing is, Violet is now actually seeing a ghost. It's the ghost of a young lady who died the year before. This ghost is pretty persistent in trying to get Violet to help her, but Violet doesn't want anything to do with her. She doesn't believe in ghost, not after watching her mother all these years. This ghost does some wild things to make Violet finally believe, and once she excepts her real ability she starts seeing more ghost. She confides in her lifetime friend who believes her and they try and find out what happened to the young girl. Danger lurks near as they try and find out what happens and it could lead them into harms way. I keep promising myself that I am going to take notes and write down the characters names so I don't forget them but again I didn't and I can't remember some of the names and its driving me crazy. :( Violet is a great MC, she is brave, strong and has a great sense of humor. She can have a bit of smart mouth which makes her a fun character. She is also very determined once she finds out that someone else could be in danger. Collin is a few years older than Violet and has always been her protector and friend. He also knows he doesn't have any money or place to go to offer to Violet, so he tries not to interfere much when she is being courted by a rich guy (name I can't remember). He is very cute and I love the way he is always looking out for Violet. It has some great secondary characters as well that really makes for a great book. This book was sort of like a mix between ghost story and murder mystery and very entertaining. The storyline has a good pace and its a very fast and easy read. I would recommend it for anyone who likes historical, ghost stories with a twist.
eternalised More than 1 year ago
Haunting Violet is the first historical YA paranormal I’ve read in a while, and I must say, I’ve missed the genre. Violet Willoughby doesn’t believe in ghosts, and with good reason. Her mother is a famous medium in London, except that…it’s all fake. And her mother has enlisted Violet’s help, and the help of Colin, an orphan she took into her home, to keep up the pretense. As Violet’s mother gets invited to the estate of Lord Jasper to do a seance, Violet is sucked into a murder mystery of paranormal proportions. A year ago, Rowena, an earl’s daughter, drowned, and now her ghost has chosen to visit Violet, and wants Violet to solve her murder. Along with Colin and her best friend Elizabeth, Violet has to find out who killed the persistent ghost, before the murderer sets eyes on her. The book has a lot of strong points. Violet is an amazing character. She’s strong, intelligent, and sarcastic when need be, but she also fits perfectly in the time era, and she doesn’t overstep (some books set unrealistic heroines that sound way too contemporary despite the historical setting, but not so here). Colin is a cute and charming love interest. He was always there for Violet, and he really loved her, that was obvious from the start. The romance was another strong part – it wasn’t really sizzling, but it was heartwarming. The murder mystery was all right. I had my suspicions about the culprit, but I wasn’t entirely sure until I finished the book. The historical setting is well crafted, and Harvey has created a lush, intriguing world. The writing flowed well, and I was entranced by the plot. I also liked Violet’s relationship with her mother – although in a way, I hated how Violet’s mother treated her, it was good to see the author spend a lot of time building this relationship and showing it to the reader. Often, YA characters have barely present parents, so this was a welcome change, even if I didn’t like Violet’s mother at all. Now, for the downside. The characters didn’t have much personality, and the middle part dragged a little. Violet, Colin, Violet’s mother, and Elizabeth had personality enough, but all the other characters lacked personality traits, and didn’t really stand out. Despite that, if you’re looking for a good YA historical murder mystery with paranormal elements, I wholeheartedly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wish there were more books like this
Daisy44 More than 1 year ago
I loved this story! It wasn't super amazing, but it was a really good read! If you like mystery and ghost stories then this is a novel for you. Set during during the Victorian age of Britain we meet Violet, the daughter of a fraudulent spiritualist (i.e., medium), whose paranormal gifts come alive during a gathering at Lord Jasper's country house. The only thing I did not like about the main character was her early refusal to work with the spirits. 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 propriety of the day. Do you like gothic romances? There is a small bit of that in the story too. Lords to tailors to gardeners. Of course, you'll also find some of the abuses of the age as well. Violet's mother...the scandal hounds and gossip mongers, etc. It's not too long, nor too short. I think only once or twice did I want a scene to move faster than it was. I really enjoyed reading this story and am glad I picked it up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a well written teenage paranormal romance/murder mystery, set in Victorian times. The believable and poetic scene descriptions brought the story to life in my mind. The characters are appealing and vivid. I liked it and quickly read two more of this author's offerings!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Winter arrived early that year. The nursury was cold and damp. Try as she might, Violetkit could not make herself be completely warm or completely full. It seemed as if there was never enough of anything. Leafbare was not easy. On the fateful morning, Violetkit awoke as usual. Hungry and cold. She tried cuddling closer to her siblings, but they squirmed and sneezed too much. Harvestkit mumbled in his sleep " Food...Food..." and Violetkit was reminded of her own hungriness. Where was her mother? She looked around and saw her mothers spot in their nest empty. " Perhaps she went for a walk." Violetkit decided. Soon, she heard wails from outside. Disturbed, she peeked outside. There, in the clearing was Daisyhaven all wet and limp. " Mama!" She cried running foward slipping between grasps and paws. She nuzzled her but Daisyhaven didn't respond. " Whats the matter with Mummy?" Viiletkit screeched. Suddenly she was picked up by a shecat named Shinepelt." Hush kit, your Momma isn't here anymore." "Then where is she?" " Starclan." " Cant I see her then? Cedarstar sees Starclan" " It doesnt work like that sweetie. But Daisyhaven will always watch over you" " So shes.....dead.?" Asked the kit already knowing the answer.Violetkit began to wail. " Mommy! Come backk....." Violetkit thrashed against Shinepelt, but the tabby warrior held firm. Violetkit swung her head and saw her father collaspe into his grief, starting the wails all over again. Violetkit could barely speak as she asked," Why?...How?" Sadness and exhaustiom crept into Shinepelt's mew. " She was hunting alone. Chasing something across a pond that wasnt completely frozen over yet. She fell in and couldn't swim......" Shinepelt stopped at a loss for words. After a moment, she spoke her voice a dead whisper. " Why? We will never know. But she died a loyal warrior and is safe in Starclan. Alright? " . But Violetkit had not heard. Sbe had been with her mother. Wondering what would become of her and her siblings. d
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story a dwell developed characters!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love subject matter and way it is handled. Also love that romance was incidental rather than focus of story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wants to fuq
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book always made me want to read more and more. It always kept me on my toes. Its not like all the superstision books its better. As soon as i picked it up i could not put it down. It took me less then a day to finish it. I wish there was another. :( -robin
GVS330 More than 1 year ago
I was not disappointed in Haunting Violet.    Good read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago