The Witch of Willow Hall

The Witch of Willow Hall

by Hester Fox

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781488096747
Publisher: Graydon House Books
Publication date: 10/02/2018
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 12,097
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Hester Fox has a background in the museum field as a collections maintenance technician. This job has taken her from historic houses to fine art museums, where she has cleaned and cared for collections that range from paintings by old masters to ancient artifacts to early American furniture. She is a keen painter and has a Master's in historical archaeology, as well as a background in medieval studies and art history. Hester lives outside of Boston with her husband and their two cats.

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The Witch of Willow Hall 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
Macsbooks 30 days ago
The Witch of Willow Hall is a perfectly written gothic tale of witches, dark secrets and history.  This is the debut novel written by Hester Fox and all I can is, "Wow!" Every first book should be this amazing! I was completely blown away by the history, the suspense and the storyline itself. It was, without a doubt, a great book!  Lydia Montrose is the middle child and a loving sister. Her family was run out of town after horrible rumors began to swirl around the family. It's 1821, and these types of "rumors" can be a death warrant even 200 years after the Salem Witch Trials. Her family moves to Old Newbury where her father sets up a mill. But things at the house itself are more than a strange. Lydia hears noises and sees ghostly type apparitions. What exactly is going on in their house and with Lydia's family? This slow simmering tale will answer those questions - and more. One of the first "big girl" books I ever read was "The Witch of Blackbird Pond." It set the stage for my intense love affair with gothic tales, horror and spooky reads. Although, when I re-read Blackbird Pond I chuckle at how tame it is in comparison. The Witch of Willow Hall is not so tame - it has everything a reader could ask for in a great witch story. The characters are very well drawn; the love that Lydia and her sisters have for one another shines throughout the book. There is a touch of romance and a plot full of  well placed twists to keep you on your proverbial toes. The Witch of Willow Hall is the perfect Halloween read - but be sure to leave your light on when you do!  Thank you #Netgalley, @HesterBFox, and #Harlequin-GraydonHouse for my copy of this perfect gothic tale! 
gaele 4 months ago
Forced to leave Boston for their country estate of Willow Hall, Lydia Montrose and her family are in crisis. The scandals that ran them out of Boston society didn’t stay in Boston as perhaps some hoped, but followed them to the country. Of course, changing location never really changes people who have no intention of it – and Lydia sees that quite clearly as her sister Catherine is even more tied to her selfishness, her mother is more invested in ‘how we do things’ for public consumption than ever, and Lydia, the peacemaker and in the constant line of fire to mediate family tensions is slowly and surely starting to bend under the weight of her family dysfunction. There is a legend that surrounds Willow Hall, and things that go bump in the night, and when Lydia comes to see a long-buried connection to the now-famed witch trials, her own dormant and unknown talents are stirred. This is not a story about a witch casting her spell, but one of scandal that then pushes all of the skeletons out of the family closet. It is a story of relationships and characters, some developing, some stagnating in their old patterns that worked so well for them in the past. The real growth here comes from Lydia and her recognition of just how dysfunctional her family actually is, and what she has done, and continues to do, to hold the family ‘together’ in one form or another. With the addition of a romantic interest for her, and her sister Catherine’s ongoing need to ‘win’ in every situation, the brooding yet kind John Barrett actually notices Lydia, long the unnoticed one in the family, and their interactions stir and strengthen her own sense of value and ability. An interesting connection that plays on his secrets, Lydia’s uncovering of family secrets, her own new awareness of something “other’ within her and the gradual fracturing of the ties that bind this family together as more is revealed, the story is a slow-to-develop yet always intriguing series of moments as light is shown into corners and the secrets that hide like shadows come to light. I’ve seen comparisons to Wuthering Heights and others in that same gothic vein, but for me, this was ultimately a truly tragic tale of a family being attacked by its own secrets, as it clutches desperately to appearances and trying, unsuccessfully, to push the jam back into the jar. Outstanding for the deft characterization of Lydia, who spends most of the time trying to play middleman and soother for the family, and her realization that she is so much more, and needs not be defined by the boxes in which her family has placed her. Gothic in feel and tone, characters that feel real and plausible, and a solid nod to the history of New England and its often troubled relationship with witchcraft and the spectre of the trials from the 1600’s, this is a debut that is both intriguing and well-crafted, and while not overloaded with supernatural or witchcraft elements, the layers and threads all tie together in a lovely package. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Cutiefulpink 6 days ago
more on My Thoughts... The Witch of Willow Hall gave me some of the same feelings as Night Circus and The Winter Witch. This is a story of discovery as well as a story of family. I loved Lydia, but she frustrated me on several occasions. Without using spoilers, suffice it to say that Lydia falls into the writing trap of problems only being problems because people don’t talk to each other. This is a pet peeve of mine. I do not like books whose plots depend on misunderstandings. Also, there is a point at which I was literally yelling at Lydia to not be so stupid. When you know your sister is an evil hag who has vowed to ruin your life, why, oh, why would you take her word for anything? In fact, at this point, I’m thinking you should assume Catherine is playing a perpetual game of opposite day. Whatever she says, the opposite is true. Words to live by. Beyond those things, though, Lydia is a caring and lovely young lady who is dealing with extraordinary circumstances. Her life is turned upside down by others decisions and she is trying to lie as well as possible. I wish the plot had developed faster, and this book could have been edited more, but this is a good paranormal historical fiction read. I really did enjoy it. * Special thanks to Hester Fox and NetGalley for providing a copy of The Witch of Willow Hall in exchange for an honest review.
CoffeeGoddessTK 13 days ago
It has been a while since I picked up any historical fiction, and I always forget just how much I like it. When I read the blurb for THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL, I was intrigued enough to add it to my TBR, although I did not really know what to expect. I mean, it was coming out around Halloween, it’s a historical piece, and there is some romance in there, so, why not? I have to say that I really enjoyed this book. Author Hester Fox did a great job with developing these characters, giving them depth and writing them so that I became completely invested in their stories. The story was engrossing, and I found it hard to put down, drawn in by the hint of darkness and the gothic feel of it. This book was extremely well done, and I really feel like, for a new author, Hester Fox is well on her way to making a name for herself. If her follow-ups are nearly as good as this book, I will happily read each of them, and recommend them as well. As it stands, THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL is an easy 4 stars for me, and no, it’s not just for Halloween time. If Gothic romance, with all of the requisite mystery and creepy edge to it, is your gig, do yourself a favor and pick up this book. You will not be disappointed.
SecondRunReviews 15 days ago
The Witch at Willow Hall by Hester Fox is a wonderful surprise. Fox creates a suspenseful atmospheric story that weaves family drama, romance and the supernatural together. The end result is an elegant novel that goes beyond being just about witches and ghosts.
Kamisha 16 days ago
What a great, atmospheric fall read! The Witch of Willow Hall really gave me all of the great gothic-style autumnal vibes I didn’t even realize I needed! Historical fiction with a bit of the supernatural thrown in; this book featured witches, ghosts, mystery, and a bit of good romance. The story centers around Lydia Montrose, the middle sister of the Montrose family, as she and her family have moved out to the country manor of Willow Hall escaping scandalous gossip in Boston surrounding her sister Catherine. No spoilers of course, but when you find out what the subject of the scandal is, it is indeed scandalous! Their new home is a sleepy estate on the edges of New Oldbury, a much smaller town than Boston. While most of the family is bored by the country life, Lydia feels a subtle menace about Willow Hall that she can’t quite put her finger on. As the daughters become further entwined in the house and its history, tragic events from both their past and the present emerge which could put the entire family in danger. Lydia must utilize talents she didn’t realize that she even possessed in order to protect her family and ultimately, herself. I ended up really being drawn to the character of Lydia and her remarkable strength in dealing with a family that is at best indifferent to their danger, and at worst, blatantly ignoring their issues. Lydia shows herself again and again to have a strong enough will to deal with her obstinate and selfish sister, while also trying to protect her family at all costs. It doesn’t hurt that deep down Lydia just wants to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, like reading her novels and working in her herb garden, definitely striking some good points in my book! The relationship between Lydia and her family, especially her sister Catherine, is never truly good, yet she tries so hard to do right by them and maintain their confidence. All of these familial responsibilities are only compounded by the fact that now that Lydia is at Willow Hall, it seems she’s begun to see ghosts. And on top of all of that, she can’t seem to stop thinking about her father’s new business partner, Mr. Barrett. I’m not usually one for a lot of romance in my books, but the blossoming romance between Mr. Barrett and Lydia was done really well in this story and had me rooting for them through til the end. There were elements of this story that definitely evoked a regency romance feel for me, which I really ended up enjoying. Overall, I loved this beautiful little Gothic romance story that takes a strong look at the lengths we are willing to go to for family. It’s the perfect read for someone who wants to get in the fall mood, but doesn’t want to be spooked by too much horror.
Shortcake5 16 days ago
Heartbreakingly enchanting story. Engaging and continued to keep my interest.. The Witch or Willow Hall was a perfect October read, however, it will be a great read for all seasons. Hester Fox, does a wonderful job of telling a story, building her characters so you become invested in the outcome of each person. This novel reminds me slightly of Pride and Prejudice, and since I love Jane Eyre this is a good thing. I recommend this novel for a light, entertaining read.
WhisperingStories 17 days ago
1811, Boston Massachusetts, USA, home to the Salem Witch Trials two centuries earlier. Little Lydia Montrose is caught up in what is described as a ‘fight’ with a local boy, but the rumours never die down of what really happened that day. 1821, with the rumours still doing the rounds and Lydia now becoming a woman, the family move from the city to a small town and into Willow Hall. The house has stood empty for many years and even the owner, John Barrett won’t live there, preferring a smaller dwelling down the road. There is talk in the town that the place is home for ghosts, but surely ghosts aren’t real? The Witch of Willow Hall is a fictional historical paranormal story with the most amazing cast of characters. The Montrose family, consisting of Father, Mother and three daughter, Catherine, Lydia and Emeline, who move into Willow Hall after a turbulent time at their old home, due to the incident with Lydia some ten-years before. The tale is told from Lydia Montrose’s point of view. Lydia is a plain young girl, she is also a witch, she just doesn’t know it. She understands that certain things happened depending on her moods, but she doesn’t know why or how, though there are stories that they are the descendants from one of the Witches hung at Salem. Catherine is older than Lydia and much prettier too. She is used to men falling at her feet and so deems every man to be in love with her. She is exceptionally shallow and naive and very, very selfish. She detests Lydia and tries to do everything in her power to make her sister miserable. She is also harbouring a dangerous secret, one that could tear her family apart. Emeline is just a little girl, full of curiosity. She gets in the way a lot and wants to be like her big sisters. Lydia is her idol and they dote on one another. The plot builds slowly as we get to know and understand the Montrose family, mainly the girls and witness overtime as strange occurrences happen to Lydia that she can’t explain and no-one else notices. There is a very upsetting scene within the book, one I’m not going to talk about. All I will say is that had I know it was coming I wouldn’t have read it sat on a sun lounger around the pool – Luckily I had my sunglasses on!! The Witch of Willow Hall is a real treat if you love paranormal books or historical fiction. The casting is vivid, the setting beautiful, and the pace just right. I was amazed to discover that it was written by a debut novelist as it really is superb. I was hooked from the very beginning and stayed that way throughout. It is wonderfully enjoyable and the story lingers long after you close that final page.
MrsKelp 17 days ago
The Witch of Willow Hall was a wonderful story. It reminded me a little of Pride and Prejudice. I haven't read anything in the style of this era in a long time. Hester Fox does a beautiful job of weaving this romantic tale with a touch of mystery. Lydia is the main character and she is constantly in turmoil over something or another. Catherine is a very complex character with her own reasons for the things she does. She spends too much time worrying about what she does not have to see what she could have. The two sisters' constant animosity toward each other becomes more clear at the end. This was a great story for any fan of the Elizabethan era.
Rexcatz 18 days ago
Very good and original.. Excellent book by any means, and especially for an author's first book. I am looking forward to more from this writer.
NovelKim 19 days ago
If you enjoy stories with spirits who commune with the living, dialogue, protocol and etiquette of the 1800s, a bit of scandal, a bit of chicanery, a bit or romance, sisters who love and hate each other in equal measure, town gossips, a little more romance and a few more spirits clogging up the works, this book should be on your radar. The wealthy Montrose Family has problems which has forced them from Boston society. Their problems take on a different dimension in their pretentious new home in New Oldbury, a suburb of Boston. Of the Montrose sisters; Lydia is happiest with her books; Emeline, the youngest, when she is playing games and telling stories to Lydia; and Catherine who never seems to be happy, merely content when she is psychologically torturing Lydia. Their new home, Willow Hall, is built on the site of a previous house and all is not as it should be. But read on and enjoy this gothic tale which has the power to make you twist your hankie and speed up your heart. Thank you NetGalley and Graydon House for a copy.
beckymmoe 23 days ago
Dramatic and atmospheric--a perfect October read! Lydia Montrose's life swirls with secrets--the one that has torn her family apart and caused a permanent move from Boston; the one that her older sister is hiding; the one that involves a childhood bully; and the one that she and generations of her ancestors share, even if Lydia herself hasn't acknowledged it yet. When the ominous setting of Willow Hall--a dark place with secrets of its own--brings all of these secrets together in a potentially disastrous way, Lydia may be the only person who can save what is left of her family. But is it too late for her to figure out what she is and gain control of her latent abilities? I honestly couldn't stop reading until I found out for sure! Blended perfectly with all of the supernatural and family drama is a delightful romance, making The Witch of Willow Hall a novel that also made me smile and blink back happy tears, keeping me hopeful of an HEA even when things looked their bleakest. This was such a strong debut novel--I can't wait to see what Ms. Fox has in store for us next! Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A- I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Matriaya 24 days ago
This book drew me in from the first with the setting - a creepy gothic mansion that seemed positively crawling with the supernatural. It was written in first person present, which is a style I don't always jive with, and would have perhaps liked this one more had it been written in a different style. I found some of the characters - Emmeline, Catherine, the mother - to be interesting, and would have liked to follow them more, but Lydia I didn't care for much, and I didn't enjoy her romance either, which is a bit sticking point for me. All in all, it was a decent book, but not great.
Linda Baker 27 days ago
It's 1812 in Massachusetts and the wealthy Montrose family, mother, father and daughters, Catherine, Lydia, and Emmeline have fled Boston pursued by scandal. The son of the house, Charles, has also fled to London. Catherine is the beautiful, volatile eldest daughter, Lydia the mousey, quiet middle daughter and Emmeline the imaginative youngest. Willow Hall is newly constructed and palatial but from the beginning seems unwelcoming, and even threatening to the family. Even worse, it seems to be amplifying certain powers that Lydia has been trying to suppress all her life. When spirits start to manifest, one an ancestor who was hung as a witch during the Witch Trials of the previous century, Lydia begins to understand that she must explore her heritage to save herself and her family. Lydia is immediately drawn to her father's upright new business partner, John Barrett, and despite his reticence, he appears interested in her as well. She has always considered herself to be much less attractive than her flamboyant sister, Catherine. The fact that her fiance broke off their engagement when the scandal broke has not helped. Catherine is the source of the embarrassment that hounds them but seems to be determined to find a husband and get away as soon as possible. To that end, she will do anything, even undermine Lydia. Their father is distant, their mother is fading away slowly, so it is up to Lydia to raise and educate Emmeline. It will take a series of tragedies to bring some peace to the Montrose family. The Witch of Willow Hall is a mixture of genres; gothic, ghost, paranormal, mystery, romance, and family history. It begins with an episode in Lydia's childhood that immediately engaged my interest and continues with enough twists and turns to make one's head spin. Hester Fox draws out the revelation of the scandal that caused the Montrose family to uproot themselves masterfully. When it finally is revealed, it is quite a shocker, unless one has been taking in just how destructive Catherine is. I am afraid that I found all the twists annoying after a while and just wanted to get on with it. My interest held, however. Thanks to Graydon House and NetGalley for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own. RATING- 3 Stars
anneinaz 28 days ago
The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox is a period piece, a ghost story, a story of witchcraft, a story of family dynamics and tragedy, albeit a little more intense than most, and a romance. A big order for one book and Fox pulls it off nicely. It is essentially the story of the Montrose family: Charles, Catherine, Lydia, and Emeline, and their parents, Martha and Samuel who have been forced to leave Boston, due to a scandal and have settled in New Oldbury where their father is building a mill on the river band with his new partner, John Barrett. Willow Hall is their new home, huge house with three stories and bedrooms aplenty where the remaining servants, Joe and Ada hold sway. Snip, Emeline's dog quite likes the open spaces in which he is able to run and Lydia is taken with finally having the space for an herb garden. There is a pond on the property where Emeline (who is 8) hopes to discover mermaids. The plot is interesting; the characters are drawn with plenty of detail, both physical and emotional. Lydia has an ex-fiancé she left behind in Boston, not quite broken-heartedly, and Catherine is on the prowl for a beau and a social life. These situations are drawn in exquisite detail. This was an enjoyable book to read, not believing in either ghosts or witches made it more fun and less frightening. The sounds of the night in both Boston and New Oldbury are drawn so well that a reader feels he/she is there in the dark with Lydia. The interactions of this family are ones anyone with a family will recognize, although their tragedies are far worse than most. I recommend this book. It was a lovely read for anyone who likes period fiction. The plot was intriguing and the characters interesting, #netgalley #thewitchofwillowhall
MyBookAddictionandMore 29 days ago
The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox is an exciting New Adult, Historical Fiction debut by a talented storyteller. It’s haunting, has family secrets, strange powers, witchcraft, tragedy, and love, against the backdrop of the 1821 New England witch hunts. An hauntingly addictive tale, with gothic elements and a dash of the supernatural, that will keep readers entranced and turning pages. Very satisfying and enjoyable read. The characters are superb and charming. The plot, mesmerizing and intriguing. Well done, Hester Fox! “I voluntarily received a complimentary copy, however, these are my honest opinions. I was in no way required nor compensated to write a review.” Rating: 4. 5 Reviewer: AprilR
marongm8 3 months ago
The Witch of Willow Hall is a great read just in time for Halloween. This reminded me of a grown up version of Hocus Pocus except for the fact of the long lost youngest daughter and her next generation keeping the powers a secret until an unusual event happens where her powers activate. A fascinating read that immediately pulls you in imagining that you are right in the story following along wanting to know what happens to everyone! A read that is definitely necessary for Halloween.
Anonymous 3 months ago
A good suspense,mystery romance with twist. Lydia a her family were outcast from Boston and went to live at Willow Hill.Lydia was different from sister but doesn't know why until she goes to Willow Hill.There she meet MR Barrett and a romance begins but will they get their happy ending. Things happens that but make it impossible. Very good story. Voluntarily reviewed.
Anonymous 3 months ago
A good suspense,mystery romance with twist. Lydia a her family were outcast from Boston and went to live at Willow Hill.Lydia was different from sister but doesn't know why until she goes to Willow Hill.There she meet MR Barrett and a romance begins but will they get their happy ending. Things happens that but make it impossible. Very good story. Voluntarily reviewed.
Kaleena 3 months ago
"There are stories around here that the place is haunted. All manners of ghosties and goblins." This book wasn't what I was expecting but I found myself devouring the pages in one morning nonetheless. If I were to categorize this book it is first and foremost a historical romance; it felt like reading Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights with supernatural/witchy elements. This is a successful historical fiction book, but unfortunately I found the witch plotline underdeveloped and secondary to the romance. The Montrose family has all but been run out of Boston due to rumors, but it is not until well into the book that the reader learns what happened. Lydia did something as a child; however, what ran them out of Boston was not the incident with the Bishop boy but something that her twenty-one year old sister Catherine did. The Montrose family loses their status and items, having to move to the country. Witch of Willow Hall is honestly about the family's relocation, their struggles with their new status, interpersonal conflicts, and romance. The sisterly relationship between Emeline and Lydia warmed my heart and actually reminded me a lot of Little Women in a lot of respects. Fox was able to craft a compelling plot-driven story that felt very much like books written of this period, making for an immersive experience. Unfortunately, other than Lydia Montrose (our MC), John Barrett, and Emeline Montrose all of the characters are pretty much horrible. Catherine Montrose is awful, Cyrus Thompson is terrible and his actions make no sense, There's a lot of tings happening in this book, and unfortunately for me it didn't really gel 100%. The book opens by saying “It was the Bishop boy who started it all…” yet none of that really felt connected until the end of the book, and the supernatural/witchy plot didn't really start to surface until 50% in and I was honestly left wanting a lot more. Overall I found this to be a decent book that I enjoyed, but I was hoping for more. If you go into this book thinking that there will be witchcraft you will be disappointed. I would recommend this book to lovers of the historical romance genre, particularly if you enjoy the cattiness and competition between women of a marrying age. CONTENT WARNINGS: animal death, incest, miscarriage Many thanks to the publisher for providing me an electronic advanced reader copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Quotations taken from an uncorrected proof and may change upon final publication.
gigiluvsbooks2 3 months ago
Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it. 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. 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… Review: What a great story for this witching season. It is very atmospheric and gothic in feel. It is also so full of romance, mystery, ghosts, secrets and machinations. There is a whole lot wrong in Lydia's family and Lydia tries to help those around her even though, honestly some of her family does not deserve her help. Then she has this power that is a confusion to her and takes a ghost relative to help her learn about her gifts. Then there is John Barrett their new neighbor, who Lydia has strong feelings for. Both John and Lydia are not very clear about their feelings that lead to some misunderstandings and road blocks in their romance. A very descriptive and engaging read, that I could not put down once I started reading it. I so wrapped in the story I did not want it to end. Cannot wait to read what this Author comes out with next! 4Stars *I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book provided by the publisher.*
SevenAcreBooks 3 months ago
Moving to the countryside to escape an appalling scandal doesn't save the Montrose family from heartache and devastation. Lydia Montrose does her best to keep the family peace by caring for her younger sister while also trying to save her family from her older sister's scandalous antics. The family's new home seems to house a malevolent spirit that calls to Lydia and her younger sister and fighting it is proving exhausting. While trying to gain the good graces of their neighbors by hosting a town hall and party, the family suffers a horrible loss. In that loss, Lydia discovers a power in her that is both frightening and alluring. If Lydia isn't careful, she will lose not only those that she loves, but herself as well. A dark and troubling story of sibling rivalry that threatens to tear apart what little family they have left. Richly told with twists and turns that will have you questioning your own sanity. Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced copy of this book-all opinions are my own.
deb-oh 3 months ago
The Witch of Willow Hall Hester Fox I received this copy from NetGalley for an honest Review: It seems like it has been forever since I read a good old-fashioned Ghost Story, and that is what TWofWH was to me. The story centers around the Montrose family and their daughters. The family leaves Boston, in the year1821, because of a scandal and moves to Willow Hall. There, the daughters try to cope with the move and the reasons behind it. Catherine, Lydia & Emeline are not happy about the move but are willing to cope because of their frail mother. The relationship between Lyd & Catherine is not loving and they have many trials to cope with. Lydia has inherited 'strange' powers from her great-great aunt who was hanged for being a witch in Salem, but she is unaware of what they are and has had no help from her mother to understand how to use them. Catherine has a secret and needs to marry, Lydia feels strong feelings that she has never felt before and isn't sure how to handle them...Enter 2 handsome men who befriend the Montrose girls; Enter a couple of ghosts who keep Lydia up at night, a strange pond where deadly things happen, and the house's history of tragedy. Old time gossip, and tragedies of their own, the girls try to cope in their new world all while looking for solutions to their problems and love. A very good story. Good character development, great atmosphere, and a love story all set among the ghosts & The Witch of Willow Hall.
DressedToRead 3 months ago
A gothic romance with a mysterious family tree. The Montrose family is at the heart of this story and they have moved to the country with their three daughters to escape a scandalous family event. It is 1821 and their new estate is Willow Hall. There are stories about the home and whispers of ghosts and strange happenings. The younger sister, Emeline is quite taken with mermaid stories and now has added ghosts to her list. The two older sisters, Lydia and Catherine are often at odds and seem to be competing with each at times. Catherine has a secret that could bring dishonor to the family and Lydia warns her to stay out of trouble, but no one can seem to control Catherine. When tragedy strikes, we learn more about the family history, hidden secrets are revealed and ghosts start appearing (one image really spooked me). There are some truly creepy happenings that made me uncomfortable and there was an eeriness that created a sense of dread, although it is not a scary book. This was more of a gothic romance mystery than a witch story, although we do have some witchy influences. The pace is slow and steady as the story builds and the family secrets are revealed. There are some shocking twists and interesting dynamics that kept me intrigued until the end. I also enjoyed the author's wonderful descriptive writing. Fans of gothic tales about dark family secrets with a hint of witchery should enjoy this one!
Anonymous 4 months ago
I knew I was saving this for the fall for a reason. What a great first read of the Halloween season! I am a sucker for the supernatural. Give me witches, ghosts, demons… pretty much anything other than zombies and I am all over it so obviously as soon as I heard of The Witch of Willow Hall I knew I had to read it. The fact that this book not only brings out a supernatural element but is also a historical fiction (which I have been meaning to read way more of, by the way) just pulled me even further. I mean, witches and ghosts are one thing but witches and ghosts when your home is still lit by candlelight every day? That is the perfect storm for a chilling fall read! While it became quite obvious early on that this book was not at all what I was expecting, I was still instantly pulled in and had a hard time putting it down. In fact, I didn’t put it down. No matter how sore my eyes got or how late at night it was, there was no way I was sleeping until I had read every page and when the wee morning hours finally came, I was ready to start it all over again. Such a page turner! I will admit that I was expecting more in the supernatural sense; more witches or some spell work but I found that I wasn’t disappointed by the lack of it. Don’t get me wrong, there was just the perfect amount of chilliness, but I went in thinking that would be the focus of this book. That being said, I was surprised and pretty pleased that the more I read, the more it seemed that The Witch of Willow Hall is really more focused on Lydia coming to terms with herself. I really enjoyed watching her grow as a person and come into her own throughout the book. Another big focus in this book will bring out the romantic in all of us. Yes, there is romance. In a subtle Pride and Prejudice sort of way. That is to be expected though with the historical setting and I’m not sure why I didn’t realize that when I first picked up this book. What I loved most about the love story in this, was that it wasn’t overpowering. Sure, there was tension and conflict but it was written in a way that didn’t take away from anything else in the story. It just flows perfectly. Hester Fox has, without a doubt, written a novel that will last through the ages. With the perfect balance of romantic tension, family drama and supernatural eeriness this haunting page turner is the ideal fall read. If this is the debut, I can't wait to see what Fox has in store next! Finally, I'd love to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book to read and provide my honest opinions