Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller

This novel was like a little mental break for me in the midst of a busy month. I feel like I've been slogging through some of my reading choices, and not making much progress. However, I picked this up off my TBR pile Sunday morning and quickly became engrossed in it-and settled down to power read. I just finished it this morning before work. I was a bit annoyed at myself for being too sleepy last night to finish the last 30 pages before bed. So annoyed! 

I have to say, I was expecting a bit more of a ghost story similar to  Simone St. James (a favorite author of mine). While I had a very mild disappointment, it was more than made up by the romance between Alva Webster and Sam Moore, the two central characters. I wasn't expecting so much of the plot to be about their unfolding relationship, but it was, and the sparks between the two were the best part of the whole book. The ghost story had an interesting twist, for sure. Something I hadn't ever read about in any other ghost story I've come across. 

The basic plot: Alva Webster, widow and infamously known as a woman of *ahem* salacious appetites and oodles of gossip, returns to New York after living for years in Europe. Her husband was murdered, and she's come back to start over where she grew up, the only daughter of privileged parents who now have nothing to do with her. She's purchased Liefdehuis, an abandoned Hyde Park mansion that is rumored to be haunted. Her goal is to renovate the home and write a book about home decorating in the process. It's 1875; she's a widow with some money but not a lot, and has to find a way to make a living. Malicious gossip has followed her home, and even though none of it is true, she can't seem to escape it. 

Professor Sam Moore is in town, eager to test his paranormal equipment on the rumored ghostly hauntings in Liefdehuis. He's quite the genius--and hot, too. He's famous for his many inventions and his family is widely known as the "royalty" of the science world. Alva, however, is not impressed by Sam, and refuses to let him test out his scientific theories on her home. 

Unfortunately, Alva's past returns to create chaos, and she reluctantly agrees to let Sam study Liefdehuis in order to get her project moving along. Local contractors refuse to work in a haunted house, and it's costing her money she can't afford to lose. 

This is where the plot really turns to the relationship between Sam and Alva. Sam is quite appealing and he's impossible to resist. Alva finds herself falling for him hard and fast, even while fighting her despair that she's just not good enough for him, and permanently damaged from her horrible marriage. But those qualities in both Sam and Alva are what make the haunting take an interesting turn, and help them solve the puzzle of what drives people from Liefdehuis in complete fear and terror. 

This really is more of a romance than anything else, but I loved it. Sam is quite possibly the most fun character I've read in quite a while. I can see why Alva falls for him. Alva's journey from frightened, abused woman to one that is trusting and finds love again is a big part of the novel, and very satisfying. All in all, a fun novel that helped lift me out of the November doldrums. It reminded me of Amanda Quick novels, so if you like her, you will enjoy this first novel by Diana Biller. I'll be reading more, without a doubt. 

Rating: 4/6 for a delightful romance with a dash of science, a dash of mystery, and a happy ending. I wish there had been more about the haunted mansion, but I was satisfied and give a kudos to the author for the unique haunting. 

Available in paperback and ebook. 

1 comment :