Sunday, April 7, 2019

The Witch at Willow Hall by Hester Fox

The Witch of Willow Hall
Good Day!  On this day in 1888 Sherlock Holmes adventure "Yellow Face" began and in 1906 the world's first animated cartoon "Humorous Phases of Funny Faces" by J. Stuart Blackton was released.  I am featuring The Witch of Willow Hall today which I was unable to review when it was released. 
Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Yellow Face (Illustrated) by [Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan]
The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox has us traveling to New Oldbury, Massachusetts in 1821.  After a scandal in Boston, the Montrose family departs for Willow Hall.  The family consists of Samuel and Martha Montrose and their three daughters:  Catherine, Lydia and Emeline.  Samuel has invested with John Barrett in a nearby cotton mill.  John was surprised that the family is living in Willow Hall full-time, but he refuses to express his concerns regarding the home.  Lydia is captivated by John from the moment they meet, but she has trouble expressing her interest (an introvert).  Catherine, with an outgoing personality, quickly latches onto the handsome man.  But John is not the only gentleman in the area who attracts the fickle Catherine.  As time passes at Willow Hall, unexplained things begin to happen.  Then Lydia receives a warning to prepare for what it is coming.  The Montrose family will be forever changed by the happenings at Willow Hall.  Lydia is the only one who can protect the family.  Will she be able to handle what is to come?
 Hester Fox
The Witch of Willow Hall is not what I expected.  I wanted a mysterious story with witches using their magic and ghosts creeping about the place.  Instead, it turned out to be more of a strange romance novel.  Catherine is a mean spirited and selfish woman who seems slightly off balance.  She does not care how her actions reflect on her family or what must be done to clean up her messes (of which there are many).  If her sister, Lydia has something, then Catherine will take it away.  As they grow up, it becomes suitors.  Catherine does not want Lydia to have any joy in her life and goes out of her way to make her miserable.  Lydia and John Barrett’s relationship was frustrating.  Lydia is awkward with him which leads to miscommunication, misunderstandings and outright rudeness. The unlikeable characters lacked development and the dialogue did not suit the era.    I enjoyed the authors descriptions that helped me to visualize the story.  However, the pacing was slow and then it becomes sluggish (in this very long book of 368 pages).  The story is vague in the beginning with details slowly being revealed (if you stick with it that long).  It all comes together in the end when disturbing information is revealed.  I did find the last quarter of The Witch of Willow Hall to be the best.  The story wraps up quickly at the end and some issues were left unresolved.  The Witch of Willow Hall had potential.  I wish the author had focused on the paranormal elements.  If they had been developed, it could have made for an intriguing tale. As you can tell, The Witch of Willow Hall (2 out of 5 stars) was not a pleasant reading experience for me. 

 The Widow of Pale Harbor by [Fox, Hester]
The Widow of Pale Harbor is Hester Fox's next book and it releases on September 17, 2019 (my birthday).  Please remember that these are my feelings regarding a book.  I suggest you obtain a sample (if you use an e-reader) to see if the book appeals to you.  Tomorrow I am highlighting The Patient One by Shelley Shepard Gray.  It is the first full length novel in The Walnut Creek Series.  The prequel to this series is Friends to the End (need to read first).  I hope that you have  a satisfying day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Nurcan Kacira

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