The cover of this book perfectly evokes it content and mood. I really like it.
Anyone who has read Jane Eyre will recognize some of the tropes of this story. While Jane’s story is unique, this title offers a lot of fun to those who enjoy Victorian Era inspired stories. I was also reminded of some of Mary Stewart’s books, especially Nine Coaches Waiting because of the governess.
First time author Katie Lumsden does a very good job of placing the reader in the time period and in that deserted manor house setting beloved by Gothic writers. Mrs. Eversham lives in this home with her son Louis. She hires Mrs. Lennox to be her son’s tutor. Off Mrs. Lennox goes traveling with her own backstory and secrets.
She arrives to a place that is in a rather bleak locale and has a number of servants including a gardener whom readers will want to watch. Some of the staff is frightened about occurrences that may be happening in the East Wing, the only area of the house that (of course) is off limits to Mrs. Lennox.
I found this story to be a lot of fun and would repeatedly promise myself “just one more chapter” before going on to do things that were calling for my attention. I liked the plot and the characters as well as the settings. It will be enjoyed by those who like historical fiction.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the Penguin Group/Dutton for this title. All opinions are my own.
This book was published in February 2023.
A SheReads Favorite Historical Gothic Mystery
“Who doesn’t love a cursed manor house in the remote English countryside, especially one with an entire abandoned wing? I’m looking forward to diving into this modern gothic that also promises some Lady Chatterly’s Lover action (there is a handsome gardener!).”
“[A] captivating debut. . . . Assured prose propels this well-crafted tale of family, friendship, and the cost of personal freedom. Fans of the great Victorian novels, in particular Jane Eyre, will have fun.”
“Debut author Lumsden masterfully creates a believable atmosphere of the age, where science and logic are served side by side with the supernatural in everyday life.”