The Gallagher family has called Deeprath Castle home for seven hundred years. Nestled in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland, the estate is now slated to become a public trust, and book lover and scholar Carragh Ryan is hired to take inventory of its historic library. But after meeting Aidan, the current Viscount Gallagher, and his enigmatic family, Carragh knows that her task will be more challenging than she’d thought.
Two decades before, Aidan’s parents died violently at Deeprath. The case, which was never closed, has recently been taken up by a new detective determined to find the truth. The couple’s unusual deaths harken back a century, when twenty-three-year-old Lady Jenny Gallagher also died at Deeprath under mysterious circumstances, leaving behind an infant son and her husband, a renowned writer who never published again. These incidents only fueled fantastical theories about the Darkling Bride, a local legend of a sultry and dangerous woman from long ago whose wrath continues to haunt the castle.
The past catches up to the present, and odd clues in the house soon have Carragh wondering if there are unseen forces stalking the Gallagher family. As secrets emerge from the shadows and Carragh gets closer to answers—and to Aidan—could she be the Darkling Bride’s next victim?
Praise for The Darkling Bride
“A gorgeous concoction of Victorian gothic, mystery, and romance, all with an unforgettable library, The Darkling Bride is the perfect book to curl up with in front of a roaring fire. Laura Andersen has created a masterpiece.”—Tasha Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Emily Mysteries
“Who can say no to an abandoned castle, a mysterious library, a renowned Victorian novelist, a brooding viscount, and a mystery that goes back several generations? Andersen captures the gothic tone perfectly, drawing you into the secrets of Deeprath Castle. . . . Perfect for reading on a rainy day with a strong cup of Irish tea!”—Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author of That Summer
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Dublin Weekly Nation
Marriage: On Thursday the 20th ult., at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, Mr. Evan Chase of London to Lady Jenny Gallagher of County Wicklow, only child of Michael Gallagher, 13th Viscount Gallagher, and the late Lady Aiofe Gallagher. Mr. Chase will append his wife’s surname, as she is the sole inheritor of the Gallagher estates.
Dublin Weekly Nation
Born: On Wednesday the 11th ult., James Michael Gallagher at Deeprath Castle, County Wicklow. He is the first child of Lady Jenny Gallagher and Mr. Evan Chase-Gallagher.
Dublin Weekly Nation
Died: On Sunday the 8th ult., Lady Jenny Gallagher, suddenly, at the age of twenty-two, leaving her widower and a young son. Due to the unexpected nature of her death, an inquest will be held in Rathdrum.
The Illustrated London News
4 March 1882
We have it on good authority that Mr. Evan Chase-Gallagher, noted folklorist and author, has returned to England’s shores following a sojourn of two and a half years in Ireland. Little could the author have expected such heights of joy and depths of despair as he has endured since he last crossed the Irish Sea. Love, marriage, fatherhood . . . to be followed so shortly by the extremity of grief known only to those whose loved ones have perished in suspicious circumstances.
Lady Jenny Gallagher possessed, by the accounts of those few who knew her, a brilliant wit to match her dark Irish beauty, as well as the noted charm of her race. But such brilliance too often exacts a cost, and it is well known that the lady suffered an unquiet mind after the birth of her son. The strain on her husband, cut off from his London circle in mountainous isolation, we can only guess at. That he has published nothing since his marriage is, perhaps, telling.
We understand the inquest to have been generous in their verdict of accidental death, and hope that his wife’s Christian burial will work its peace upon Mr. Chase. We look forward to once more reading his learned and captivating prose and sharing in the talent that has seen him compared to both Mr. Dickens and Mr. Trollope.
His son remains in Ireland, to be raised by his grandfather at Deeprath Castle.
Twenty miles south of Dublin, Deeprath Castle brooded in its shallow valley scooped out of the Wicklow Mountains. Thirteen hundred years ago, St. Kevin had come to these mountain heights for solitude. Eight hundred years ago, Tomas Ó Gallchobair had become Thomas Gallagher by marrying the daughter of a Norman lord—changing his name, if not his heart—and built a stone keep two miles from what was then the monastic city of Glendalough. And every hundred years or so since, a new descendant had made his mark on either land or castle until Deeprath was as idiosyncratic a mix of English and Irish as the family who lived there. “Rath” might mean “farmstead” in Old Norse, but those who lived in the Wicklow Mountains whispered that it should have been spelled “wrath.”
Whether the Gallaghers were meant to be the instigators of that wrath, or its victims, varied according to the story and the mood of the storyteller.
Laughter, tears, joy, sorrow, love, hatred, birth, and death—every beat of every Gallagher heart resounded in the stone and wood and plaster of the castle, so that those sensitive to such things could feel the thrum of centuries through their bodies. Any animals brought into the house as pets must learn to live with the echoes or be driven out. The castle knew her own, and jealously kept their secrets.
Secrets in the Norman keep, its spiral stone steps worn by thousands of feet over the centuries. Secrets in the Tudor hall that housed spinet and lute and harp. Secrets in the Regency study, soaked in its aura of patriarchal privilege.
And, above all, secrets in the library, with its soaring walls and stained-glass windows, the Gothic fan vaulting poised loftily above the thousands of books in their bays. Books in glass cases, books on open shelves, books and manuscripts and journals and maps stored in great Renaissance coffers.
The library had secrets aplenty to reveal . . . to those who knew how to look.
Carragh Ryan perched straight-backed on the reproduction nineteenth-century chair offered her by the interviewer and was devoutly glad she’d chosen her most sober gray-green tweed shift today. The woman seated before her was eighty at least, and dressed as though she were heading to a Downton Abbey funeral. Do people still wear bombazine? Carragh’s mind rattled inwardly, as it did when she was nervous. What even is bombazine? And do I really want this job if it’s working for her?
Perhaps the woman—who had declined to give her name when Carragh entered the anonymously expensive hotel suite—could read minds. Because she now asked, “Why do you want a job of which you know virtually nothing?”
Because those I do know about are all of them so deadly boring I want to claw my eyes out just applying for them . . . Carragh smiled, though it seemed unlikely this woman would be susceptible to flattery. “If a job has to do with books, I don’t need to know much more.”
“You understand the position is of limited duration. Three weeks at the most.”
“It is also an . . . isolated situation. You would be resident with us, without reliable mobile phone service or Internet access.”
Carragh couldn’t help herself; literary allusions were second nature. “Sounds very Victoria Holt or Daphne du Maurier.”
When the woman merely looked at her blankly, she babbled on. “Gothic writers. Mysterious manors, naïve governesses, brooding lords of the manor . . . never mind.”
“Am I to take it you see me in the role of Mrs. Danvers?”
Carragh’s eyebrows shot up at mention of the unpleasant housekeeper from du Maurier’s Rebecca. It was the interviewer’s turn to smile. “I am three times your age, my dear. It is just possible I have read as many books as you have.”
The old woman had been reviewing Carragh’s résumé, and now removed her glasses and let them hang from a chain. Without the lenses, her eyes were even sharper. “Your name indicates Irish heritage. But clearly you are not.”
Carragh almost found this straightforward statement refreshing. “I am adopted.”
They hovered there for a moment before the older woman moved on to the point of their meeting. “So, you are American-born, were raised in Boston, have a degree in English literature from Boston College and postgraduate work in Irish Studies at Trinity.”
“And you have remained in Dublin since Trinity, doing freelance editorial work when you can get it. Secretarial work when you cannot.”
“Yes.” Were they ever, Carragh wondered, going to get to an actual question? Or the slightest hint about what this mysterious job would entail?
Once again the nameless woman proved remarkably adept at sensing Carragh’s thoughts, for she began to question her closely and intently about everything from her familiarity with Irish ballads to her experience working in research libraries. When Carragh was ushered out twenty minutes later—a little dazed—she not only had no idea how well she’d answered, she still hadn’t figured out what, precisely, the woman wanted her to do.
But she had a name, at least. Nessa Gallagher, the woman told her as she was dismissed. The surname struck a bell of familiarity, but she virtuously refused to jump to conclusions. No sense getting her hopes up unnecessarily. Within five minutes of going online, her virtue was rewarded: Lady Nessa Gallagher had been born and raised at Deeprath Castle in County Wicklow.
Carragh knew a moderate amount about Deeprath: originally a Norman castle, home of the Gallaghers for more than eight hundred years, and possessed of one of the finest Irish libraries still in private hands.
The castle where Evan Chase, Victorian novelist, had arrived in 1879 for research . . . and left three years later a broken widower who never published again.
Chase was the reason Carragh knew anything about Deeprath. In university she had studied Victorian novelists and had shelves full of Dickens and Trollope, Gaskell, the Brontës, Thackeray, Eliot, and Hardy. But she’d had a particular affinity for Evan Chase, whose books her grandmother had introduced her to before she was ten. It seemed—ironic? coincidental? miraculous?—that this opportunity would arise so soon after Eileen Ryan’s death. At almost the very moment that Carragh had determined to drag herself out of the depression she’d fallen into after losing her grandmother. She didn’t believe in signs. Or maybe she did. One thing Carragh had learned in the last three months was that she did not know herself as well as she’d thought. Not all of the learning process had been comfortable.
Still: Evan Chase.
Half Welsh, half English, the writer had been among the early fantasists, his gothic tales dripping with claustrophobia and tension and echoes of the supernatural twenty years before Bram Stoker. He had written five popular novels by the time he was thirty and seemed poised to take his place among the pantheon of English favorites.
Then he had come to Ireland to research a legend—a ghostly, vengeful woman known as the Darkling Bride—and had instead found love. In swift succession Chase married a Gallagher daughter, had a son, and lost his wife in a probable suicide. He left Ireland after that—along with his son, who eventually inherited the Gallagher lands and title—and died six years later without publishing another word. Of the book Evan Chase had come to Ireland to write, all that existed was a one-page draft outline sent to his publisher. If he’d left any further writing behind him at Deeprath, the Gallagher family had never revealed it.
Surely, if Nessa Gallagher was hiring someone to do something with books, it must involve the Deeprath Castle library. Experts estimated it contained between five and six thousand volumes, painstakingly assembled over generations. From simply wanting the job before, Carragh now felt she would walk through the Wicklow Mountains barefoot in winter to get to that library. But no matter how she recalled and fretted over every question and answer of that odd interview, she was no nearer knowing if she’d impressed Nessa Gallagher or not.
She complained about it later, while on the phone with the youngest of her three older brothers that night. “How can anyone give away so little? It was like a police operation—I don’t know who I’m up against for the job, or how many, or even precisely what the job is! You’d think I was dealing with the government rather than one old woman who seemed mostly interested in staring me down.”
Francis was always bracingly optimistic. “Who can resist you, Carragh?”
“Nessa Gallagher,” she pronounced glumly, “could resist the Second Coming if the details weren’t to her particular liking.”
“Deeprath Castle,” her brother mused. She could practically see his Irish-green eyes creased in thought. “Why do I know that name?”
“From Gran. She read us Evan Chase’s books, do you remember?”
“Vaguely. Ghosts and witches and vampires—”
“Vampires was Bram Stoker. No, Chase wrote novels based on folklore and legends. Lorelei who was banished to a nunnery and threw herself off a rock in protest, Melusina the mermaid, the knights of the Broceliande Forest—Chase turned all of them into Victorian high romances.”
“I’m afraid you’re the only one who inherited Gran’s love of old novels.” A well-worn quip, one Carragh had always told herself she liked because it meant she was as loved as any child of blood. Family teasing meant family belonging.
“Anyway,” she plowed on, “Evan Chase spent four years at Deeprath Castle. He even married the daughter of the family. That’s why you’ve heard of the place. Gran talked about him a lot.”
“Gran talked a lot about a lot of things.”
Carragh laughed. “True. Anyway, say a prayer to St. Ceara for me. If I don’t get this job, it’s back to the temp agency. I’ve got contractor bills a foot high.”
“Ah. How is the house?” he asked.
“Just like Gran left it.”
“Dark, cold, and furniture from the sixties?”
“Less furniture now. But the floors are all in desperate need of refinishing, the wallpaper is giving me headaches, and I think the cupboards haven’t been cleaned since the 1860s.
“Still,” Carragh looked around the high-ceilinged reception room with its fine woodwork and graceful lines, “Gran left me a fully paid-off Merrion Square townhouse. What’s to complain about?”
“Damn right. You’ll sort it all in time, Carr.”
But no one in her family knew quite how dire the situation was. Although Eileen Ryan had died a wealthy woman, as evidenced by the money left to Carragh’s father and three brothers, she had not spent a penny on updates to her home or even repairs in at least thirty years. The Georgian moldings had woodworm, turning on the lights was a fire hazard, and she took her life in her hands every time she filled the bathtub.
The townhouse—one of the few in central Dublin not divided into flats—was worth a small fortune even in its present condition. Carragh knew the responsible thing would be to sell it and get what cash she could.
But she didn’t want to be responsible.
“Maybe,” she told her brother, “I only want the Deeprath Castle job to remind me that Norman keeps and Tudor halls must be even more impossible to heat in winter than Gran’s house.”
“That’s not why you want the job. Face it, Carr, even a Georgian townhouse is modern when compared to an actual Norman castle. The older the better, as far as you’re concerned. And if it comes with a mystery to solve? Even better.”
Then Francis’s tone of voice altered, becoming a shade too casual. “By the way”—a phrase always followed by something unpleasant—“Mom wants to talk to you.”
“I know she does.”
“Well, I happen to be at Mom and Dad’s right now so I’ll just pass the phone over—”
“I have to go, Francis. Someone else is ringing.”
Carragh hung up on that lie with only a twinge of regret. She loved her mother. She respected and admired her. She even liked her, which was not always something that could be said between daughters and mothers. But she did not want to talk to her. Not just now. Not since her mother had given Carragh a letter her daughter did not want. A letter she felt had been stalking her ever since, laying whispery ink fingers on the back of her neck, pleading, “Read me, read me . . .”
To hell with that. Pacing idly in circles after she talked to Francis, Carragh went to the IKEA bookshelves where her grandmother’s collection of novels rested and pulled out Evan Chase’s first novel—The Wandering Knight. She didn’t open it, but like a ten-year-old, she crossed her fingers and wished for the luck she wanted. Who wouldn’t want to know what happened at Deeprath Castle with Evan and his beautiful, insane wife? What book lover wouldn’t jump at the chance to look for a lost novel?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Gallagher family has called Deeprath Castle home for seven hundred years. Nestled in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland, the estate is now slated to become a public trust, and book lover and scholar Carragh Ryan is hired to take inventory of its historic library. But after meeting Aidan, the current Viscount Gallagher, and his enigmatic family, Carragh knows that her task will be more challenging than she’d thought. This was a great Gothic mystery and I’m pretty sure it’s the first one I’ve ever read in this genre. I really enjoyed this mystery and couldn’t put it down. I liked the way the book was laid out as three stories in one and I felt like it was well written and kept a good flow. I highly recommend. **I voluntarily read and reviewed this book
I wasn't sure about this book going in, but I really enjoyed it. I don't like books that include too much of that ominous and frightening feeling that keep me up at night, but this had just the right mix of mystery and suspense with a little romance thrown it. I usually try to stay away from books that are too creepy or unsettling, so I was wary of this book, but it had the prefect amount of "scariness" without any of the unsettling feelings that lead to sleepless nights worrying about strange noises or dark shadows. Carragh Ryan takes a temporary position at an old eerie Irish castle that was once home to one of her favorite Victorian authors. While her job is to catalog the contents of the Gallagher family's extensive and valuable library, she is actually hoping to uncover information about the lost years of the renowned writer who married the daughter of the house during the late 1800s. In doing so her true wish is to perhaps discover the author's lost manuscript about "The Darkling Bride," the unpublished novel supposedly written about his wife Jenny Gallagher and based on an ancient legend from the family's lands. Carragh must navigate around the complex family relationships between Nessa, the great-aunt who hired her, Aidan, the current viscount, and his sister Kyla, among others. These relationships are all tainted by the fact that Aidan and Kyla's parents were murdered in the house 30 years earlier. As information and secrets come to light, not only from Aidan's parents, but also from Jenny Gallagher and the original Darkling Bride, Carragh begins to feel more and more threatened. She cannot tell if the malevolence she feels is from one of the inhabitants of the castle--alive or dead. I feel as though the author did a great job of telling the story of Deeprath Castle and the Darkling Bride. There were several different timelines and perspectives, but all the threads wove together well to create a nuanced yet complete story. Several references were made to traditional gothic tropes as well as authors such as Victoria Holt (who I read as a young teenager), which I think added a very slight hint of humor to the story. As Carragh is doing things like climbing a dark haunted tower she smiles as she realizes what a cliche she is, which made me smile as well. It was as if the author, through Carragh, was acknowledging the fact that she seemed to be living in a novel of gothic suspense and almost poked fun at that fact. As someone who has read almost all of Victoria Holt's novels, I enjoyed and appreciated that fact. This was a really good read. It was fun, interesting, suspenseful, yet also light and not too frightening. It had all the gothic staples: the innocent (yet not at all helpless--it is 2018!) newcomer to the dark and foreboding castle, the handsome yet mysterious lord of the manor, the formidable and unwelcoming elderly female relative, the ancient legend of tragedy, a murder mystery, etc.. Yet the author realized all of these things and used it to her advantage. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys mystery and gothic romance. I was pleasantly surprised by this book and would read more by this author.
As a teen, I didn’t have a lot of choice in the books I choose to read. There was no Young Adult or Teen genre. If you were a book lover, you went from juvenile choices to adult. My choices were mystery writers. As an avid reader herself, my mother handed me Mary Roberts Rinehart. Then I discovered Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, and Mary Stewart. I was in heaven. Guess what? I’m in heaven again! Laura Andersen has brought the haunting, misty vistas of the gothic tale into the 21st century. She blends the modern within her tale of The Darkling Bride. Deeprath Castle, nestled close to the Wicklow Mountains, has been home to generations of Gallaghers. Caaragh Ryan is familiar with Deeprath’s dark history and she jumps at the chance to inventory the thousands of volumes of the castle’s library. She is hoping to figure out the mysterious events that led Evan Chase, a popular author of his time, to search out the haunting story of the Darkling Bride only to fall in love with the daughter of the castle. The sadness that evolved into the suicide of his wife and ended with his abandonment of Deeprath, leaving his infant son in the care of the boy’s grandfather, never to write again. Carragh wasn’t counting on the assistance of the current Viscount, the troubled but kind Aidan, helping her to understand his family and fill her with tales of his home and Ireland. Andersen’s Darkling Bride is filled with all the elements that make a great Irish gothic tale. Possible ghosts, fairies, changelings, beautiful mysterious women and handsome troubled men. It has strong, formidable women who strongly believe in tradition and maintaining an equally strong façade. Her vivid descriptions of the Irish countryside make you grab a wrap when the winds blow and rain pounds the battlements. Caaragh is a strong young woman who embraces who she is but keeps her past to herself. Andersen concludes her story nicely and finishes off with a realistic feel. She is a contemporary author that can pickup the baton of those noted authors who have given us good gothic fiction. I wish to thank the generosity of the publisher and NetGalley for providing an Advanced Reader’s Copy for my honest review.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. An imposing Irish castle, filled with dasrk secrets of the past and even more imposing descendants in the present. A murder decades unsolved. And ghosts lingering - waiting - for just the right person to put the past to rest. Carragh Ryan took the job of cataloging the Deeprath Castle library without a second thought. Finding herself between temp jobs, she jumped at the chance to find one that landed her in the middle of the living history of one of her favorite writers, the renowned Evan Chase. She had no way of knowing the ghosts of the past she'd be dredging up, or that she would end up just as unwelcome before the truth could be brought to light. This dark mystery, told in alternating chapters from the present and past is a deliciously chilling read. The past and present come crashing together as family secrets long- buried are brought to light. The story is engaging and kept me turning pages. The ending is well- plotted, and most of all, I thank the writer for doing it all without bad language or graphic content.
4.5 stars The Darkling Bride is the newest book from Laura Andersen and if you haven’t heard me rave about her other books yet…go check them out. They are some of my favorite historical fiction books…which leads me to this book and one of the reasons why I wanted to read it. This book focuses on the Gallagher family and their family home, Deeprath Castle located in the Wicklow Mountains, has been at the center of their story for a long time. Due to the family history as well as the mysterious circumstances around some deaths in the family, the legend of the Darkling Bride has continued to grow. One of the things I thought that Andersen did really well was moving from current time to the past easily. The story flowed well and while I really wanted to focus on Aidan and Carragh, I also was extremely interested in Jenny Gallagher’s story. Andersen does this by weaving all the pieces together seamlessly and tying it back to the mysterious deaths of Aidan Gallagher’s parents which have gone unsolved for years. I love a great character driven story and Andersen does a fantastic job of developing both Carragh and Aidan. I loved these two and they both have had something traumatic shape who they are today which gives them a connection not everyone has. With that said, they have both been trying to avoid anything that links them to their painful pasts but that isn’t as easy as they would hope, especially for Aidan when the cold case around his parent’s death is revisited by an inspector that is determined to figure out what really happened. I do also have to share that the banter between Aidan and Carragh is wonderfully done. I also thought the secondary characters were great. Not only did they help move the story forward, but they also added layers to the story that weren’t necessarily expected. Carragh’s family, Inspector McKenna, Nessa Gallagher, Kyla and Philip – all were important to the story. One other piece that I will briefly mention is the story of Jenny Gallagher as she is at the center of the Darkling Bride legend. Family legacy plays a big role in this book and Jenny’s story is the one that begins it all. As the only daughter and inheritor of the Gallagher estate, Jenny had a hard time finding someone who wanted her for more than Deeprath Castle. When Evan Chase, an author, arrives to explore the legend of the Darkling Bride, their story begins and echoes into the future as Aidan and Carragh find out more about the Gallagher family than they truly expected to. I don’t really want to say much more as there are some twists and turns in this story that I don’t want to disclose and potentially ruin the whole thing. Just know that going into this book, you will get to dig into the secrets of the Gallagher family through the eyes of three different generations and each will give you an important part of the whole story. I had a hard time putting this book down and I loved trying to figure things out right along with the characters in this book. If you are looking for a story that will take you to the countryside of Ireland and digging into a family mystery, I highly recommend you check this book out. I will be waiting patiently to see what Laura Andersen writes next and you will most likely find me re-reading this one (and her other books) again just to tide me over.
Great story that drew me in quickly and kept me guessing. The Darkling Bride has all the elements that make it an enjoyable read - mystery, romance, a castle with ghost. Perfect for a rainy day
Once upon a time, many of us would have loved to live in an Irish castle with its ghosts, secret rooms, hidden passages, and a very long history. For the Gallagher family tracing back hundreds of years that was their life. They had lived in a castle, they had experienced its tragedies, they had and were becoming a part of its history. Many things had transpired over those years and if the walls of the castle Deeprath, oh, the stories they would tell. Now, the castle is being turned over to the public trust and so an accounting must be made of it many holdings especially those contained within its enormous library. Carragh Ryan is hired to do the job. She meets the family, the handsome dashing current Viscount Aidan, his severe Aunt Nessa, his sister and brother in law. All of them are always at odds with one another and Carragh seems to be headed for some unforeseeable trouble. For Aidan and his sister, Deeprath castle was a place of tragedy, a place where their parents brutally died, perhaps even killed by the ghost of the Darkling Bride who seems to be both a legend and possibly a reality. Tragically another woman, Jenny Gallagher also lost her life at Deeprath many years prior to the Aidan's parents and she too seemed to fall under the influence of the Darkling Bride. So the mystery of why and how these people died is the basis of this novel. This story is atmospherically told, having many moments of mystery intertwined into the history of the castle. However, at times, the story seemed to meander a bit and be a bit too murky and long winded. In spite of that, it was a fun read for those who enjoy a mysterious castle, a family with secrets, and an historical look into the past.
You don’t see much in the way of the gothic genre these days, but I have always enjoyed them. In fact, Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier is one of my top 10 novels, so when I saw the opportunity to get an advanced copy of this gothic novel, I jumped at the chance. My husband and I had the chance to visit Ireland this past summer, so the setting for this book had an additional appeal. Deeprath Castle located in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland is being donated as a public trust, and Nessa Gallagher has hired Carragh Ryan to take inventory of the library before it is turned over. The castle has been home to the Gallaghers for over 700 years, but the owner, Aiden, and his sister, Kate, have not lived there since they were children. Their parents were murdered there when they were children, and the mystery remains unsolved. Carragh is interested in working there because a famous author, Evan Chase, used to be married to one of the family members, Jenny Gallagher. Another mystery surrounded her death, leaving behind her husband and infant son. He also was said to have been writing a book about the Darkling Bride, a legend surrounding the castle indicating that the bride haunts the castle. The police have decided to re-open the murder investigation before the castle is donated and new information comes to light. As Carragh begins her work, too, unusual things start to happen. Is it because she is close to discovering past secrets or are spirits at play? She soon finds Aiden an ally and hopes that the relationship will turn to more. This book has all the elements of a good gothic novel: A mysterious castle, possible ghosts, a dark and brooding atmosphere, family secrets, and a castle tower where someone was held. There’s also a mystery to be solved and a little romance as well. The story is told in alternating timelines between 3 time periods: the Evan Chase/Jennifer Gallagher (1880s), Aidan and Kate’s time growing up at Deeprath (late 1900s), and present time. Andersen deftly manages the alternating time. I wish I had been able to read this book before our trip because we visited the setting of the book and saw some of the things mentioned. I would look at them very differently now had I read this book before the visit. The book isn’t quite up to Rebecca’s level, but it was a very enjoyable book I would recommend.
The past catches up to the present, and odd clues in the house soon have Carragh wondering if there are unseen forces stalking the Gallagher family. As secrets emerge from the shadows and Carragh gets closer to answers—and to Aidan—could she be the Darkling Bride’s next victim? A seven hundred year old family castle is home to intrigue, mystery, deceit and death. Three generations of one family will be forever lashed together in history when dark secrets are revealed and wicked machinations in the name of “family” expose what the human mind is capable of. Carragh has been hired to catalog an ancient family library, but what she unwittingly discovers will forever change both the past and the future of the Gallagher family. THE DARKLING BRIDE by Laura Andersen marries mystery and murder together with an atmosphere that brings the smell of old books and the grit of untold secrets to life. Gothic in its feel, dark and tense, Ms. Andersen delivers a fabulous mystery set in the haunting backdrop of an ancient castle in the Ireland. Perfect reading for a dark and stormy night! Proof that if the walls could talk, secrets will be told. I received a complimentary ARC edition from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine!