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…
The Witch of Willow Hall
by Hester Fox
The whole premise of this book was creepy and intriguing…a perfect read coming into fall. The time in which this book was written has to be one of my favorites because the world was just different back then, with different sets of rules and expectations. So, in that regard this book was amazing because I feel as if Fox really had an understanding of the mannerisms and lifestyles the people back in this era had. I think it gave the book an overall sense of mystery and added creepiness.
The story stars out with a family who just moved due to a scandal with one of the sisters, but we don’t really know the whole truth/story there. It’s a mystery from the start. Even though this book focused a lot on just one of the sister, Lydia, to me it felt like this book was about all of the sisters. There’s a story in each of them and we see a lot of good sister bad sister in my opinion. The entire time I was reading The Witch of Willow Hall I had this sense of haste and foreboding which really made me want to know more, but I have to say…if you’re looking for an all out witchcraft story then this isn’t the book for you. The witchcraft here was very subdued and subtle in a lot of ways. Like I said, you did get that sense of dread and mystery but not all out witchcraft.
The romance aspect of the book was good and kept me entertained. John Barrett was the kind of hero (or antihero) that you’d come to expect from a book like this. I liked his character and definitely wanted to know more of him while reading. Their romance was a slow build up for me but it fit with the slow pace of the book. That’s not to say that it wasn’t action-packed in its own way, because it was, but you will have to sit back and let the story unfold in its own time.
Overall, the book was amazingly well written, so much so that it’s hard to believe this was Hester Fox’s debut novel. The plot was crafted beautifully and kept you intrigued from the start. It was believable up to a point so nothing is really just over the top. With that said, I want to reiterate that this isn’t your typical witchcraft story. It’s gothic in the sense that weird and unexplainable things are happening and when we finally get to the witch stuff it’s subtle in the way that it’s brought out.
If you’re looking for a good historical romance with an eerie feel this book is definitely for you. I wanted to see more of Lydia’s abilities and a deeper passion between the her and John, but overall it was a great read. I look forward to more books by Hester Fox.