The Witch of Willow Hall
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 Details

TitleThe Witch of Willow Hall
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 2nd, 2018
PublisherGraydon House
ISBN-139781525833014
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal, Witches, Fiction

The Witch of Willow Hall Review

  • Melisa
    January 1, 1970
    A very enjoyable, creepy fall read!I love this period - the propriety and all the rules and manners, the language, the fashion, the balls. All of it! Well, not all of it - although women’s rights were just starting to take off, women were still treated as the lesser sex. But I did enjoy how we have some very strong, outspoken, intelligent leading ladies in this story.We have a family who has moved to the country from Boston due to a scandal that has occurred, however we don’t know what has happe A very enjoyable, creepy fall read!I love this period - the propriety and all the rules and manners, the language, the fashion, the balls. All of it! Well, not all of it - although women’s rights were just starting to take off, women were still treated as the lesser sex. But I did enjoy how we have some very strong, outspoken, intelligent leading ladies in this story.We have a family who has moved to the country from Boston due to a scandal that has occurred, however we don’t know what has happened and learn along the way.I love an unlikable character and this book had several, including a well drawn villain and a wicked sister. I also enjoyed the sweet romance.As someone who likes my books based in reality, this one had just the right amount of “spooky” in it for me - enough that it was believable and not super over the top.A great atmospheric, gothic tale!Thank you to Harlequin Books for my advance copy, this book will be available October 2nd! This was a group read with my @6bookbesties, Be sure to check out the reviews from Holly, Berit, Mackenzie, Jennifer and Kendall.
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  • Berit☀️✨
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful, atmospheric, and haunting..... this was an exquisitely told debut...Hester Fox has wovin together this Gothic story of heartbreak and hope effortlessly.... as soon as I opened the cover of this book I found myself transported into the lives of the Montrose Family... finding myself in the middle of A scandal and the gloom and magic of Willow Hall....This was not the story of a witch, but rather the story of Lydia Who just so happens to be a witch.... The witchcraft in this book was Beautiful, atmospheric, and haunting..... this was an exquisitely told debut...Hester Fox has wovin together this Gothic story of heartbreak and hope effortlessly.... as soon as I opened the cover of this book I found myself transported into the lives of the Montrose Family... finding myself in the middle of A scandal and the gloom and magic of Willow Hall....This was not the story of a witch, but rather the story of Lydia Who just so happens to be a witch.... The witchcraft in this book was very under played and subtle, something I felt worked extremely well... Lydia was such a remarkable and charming character... Believe me I love hocus-pocus and spells as much as the next person, but I think that would have overshadowed the quiet beauty of Lydia... she just was one of those characters that reaches inside you and grabs a little piece of your heart.... you just feel everything she feels, because she is so authentic and worthy.... any book that can evoke feelings in me about a character, is an absolute bonus in my book!Lydia, along with her parents and two sisters Catherine and Emeline leave Boston in the wake of a scandal.... Willow Hall is where they find refuge... but is the house haunted? There is definitely an eerie air of mystery about the place....This truly was a story of family and The complexities within.... Catherine, Lydia’s older sister was a extremely colorful character.... she was definitely a worthy villain, the sister nobody wants to have... I was fortunate enough to have an author Q & A with Hester Fox... One of my questions was: who is your favorite character in this book? and her answer was Catherine, and I can see that she would be fun to write!This truly was a magical book, not in the way of the supernatural, but in the way of storytelling.... there really is a little bit of everything in this book.... a little romance, A little witchcraft, a little taboo, a little haunting, A little tragedy, a little scandal.... A book with a beautiful ending that will leave you heartbroken and yet still hopeful!Absolutely recommend to fans of Gothic historical fiction, who love character driven stories with a bit of a slow burn...*** many thanks to Graydon House for my copy of this book ***
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  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    Woo hoo, witchy woman...she got the moon in her eye! 🎶 🌙 🌙 🌙 🌙 It is the 1800s in Boston, Massachusetts, some two hundred years after the Salem witch trials. One member of the Montrose family is a witch, but she has no knowledge of this. There is a scandal that causes the Montrose family to flee from Boston to New Oldbury. Their new home is the gothic, eerie, but stately Willow Hall. It holds its own secrets within its walls. Will the Montroses be able to outrun their past, or is their family de Woo hoo, witchy woman...she got the moon in her eye! 🎶 🌙 🌙 🌙 🌙 It is the 1800s in Boston, Massachusetts, some two hundred years after the Salem witch trials. One member of the Montrose family is a witch, but she has no knowledge of this. There is a scandal that causes the Montrose family to flee from Boston to New Oldbury. Their new home is the gothic, eerie, but stately Willow Hall. It holds its own secrets within its walls. Will the Montroses be able to outrun their past, or is their family destined to be outcasts?While there is a main character witch, The Witch of Willow Hall is not chock-filled with sorcery or witchcraft, so you should know that going in. What it is instead is an exceptionally atmospheric, well-told historical drama centered on family secrets, romance, betrayal, and tragedy. I adored Lydia and found her story interesting and engaging. This is a slower-building story where not much happens until the end of the book, and that’s ok because the story is about the people, the Gothic feel of ominous foreboding, and the richly cinematic atmosphere. Thank you to Harlequin for the physical copy. All opinions are my own. I was fortunate to read this atmospheric book with five beautiful friends. ♥️ My reviews can also be found on my blog with pictures 🤓: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
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  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars"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."A witch who doesn't know she is a witch! A family who flees Boston amidst scandal, moves to the town of New Oldbury in 1821. Looking to start over, will they find happiness, or will the past haunt them?The Montrose Family was once a prominent family living in Boston until they were enveloped in a mysterious Scandal. Deciding t 3.5 stars"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."A witch who doesn't know she is a witch! A family who flees Boston amidst scandal, moves to the town of New Oldbury in 1821. Looking to start over, will they find happiness, or will the past haunt them?The Montrose Family was once a prominent family living in Boston until they were enveloped in a mysterious Scandal. Deciding to leave the city (and rumors) behind, Mr. Montrose, along with his wife and three daughters (Catherine, Lydia, and Emeline) moves into a summer home known as Willow Hall, in New Oldbury, MA. The reader knows that the is a son, but he does not make the move with the rest of the family. Why? Mr. Montrose will be a partner in the local Mill owned by a young man by the name of John Barrett. Lydia meets John Barrett as he helps her find her younger sisters lost dog and she feels an instant attraction to him. Lydia is not the most confident person and is often put down and somewhat bullied by her older sister Catherine. While the older two sister often clash, both adore their younger sister, Emeline. Young Emeline is full of adventure and years to find mermaids in the pond on the property and speaks of a boy at the pond who speaks to her.Lydia has not felt comfortable in Willow Hall or the surrounding woods. She doesn't sleep well and begins to see and hear things that no one else in the family can. She knows that something isn't quite right at their home and has questions about one of her descendants. When tragedy strikes, Lydia begins to see ghosts and learns more about her abilities. I loved the Gothic feel of this book. Plus, the premise is interesting: a family driven from Boston due to a scandal, a young woman who is a witch but doesn't know it or how to control her powers, a residence with a past, ghosts, tragedy, and a young man with ties to the property. If you come into this book thinking it is going to be all about witchcraft, you will be disappointed. Yes, there is a witch in this story, but you will not see lots of spells being cast or black magic. This book touches on several things - ghosts, witches, mystery, some romance, scandal, family secrets, a little magic, and tragedy. As the book moves along, the reader learns about the scandal which caused the family to leave Boston, and the history of Willow Hall. This book does have a sense of dread and foreboding throughout. It's not a fast-moving book in the action sense, not a lot of action happens until closer to the end of the book. Having said that, the story is interesting and as the truth comes out, secrets are revealed, and several characters show their true colors. Lydia is a likable character and I was invested in what would happen to her, would she find answers, would she find happiness, would she find a way to harness the powers she doesn't quite understand, etc. This book is a slow burn where the story builds, along with the sense of foreboding, until the end when revelations take place. I would have liked a little more magic thrown in but overall an enjoyable read.I received a copy of this book from Graydon House and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions in this review are my own.Read all my reviews at www.openbookpost.com
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    A Gothic tale, just perfect for October. A terrfic blend of romance and ghostly happenings. Set in 1821 New England, two centuries after the infamous witch trials, we come to a creepy house, with a family whose lineage holds many secrets. So incredibly atmospheric, this was a sisters read and some of us were reminded of the atmosphere rnvoked in past Gothic reads, Rebecca, Jsne Eyre and Wuthering Heights. The chilling kind of old fashioned read where one can use words like torrid and sordid. If A Gothic tale, just perfect for October. A terrfic blend of romance and ghostly happenings. Set in 1821 New England, two centuries after the infamous witch trials, we come to a creepy house, with a family whose lineage holds many secrets. So incredibly atmospheric, this was a sisters read and some of us were reminded of the atmosphere rnvoked in past Gothic reads, Rebecca, Jsne Eyre and Wuthering Heights. The chilling kind of old fashioned read where one can use words like torrid and sordid. If you read this you will see how well they fit.Characters to like, especially Lydia, one to find reprehensible, Catherine and a mysterious stranger, John. What they mean to each other, what the house wants from them will be revealed to the reader, exactly when it is time. Although chilling, suspenseful, it never gets uncomfortably dark, I thought it was just right. Not a big fan of romantic novels, but this story would not have worked without, which I don't often say. The writing, the descriptions, are very well done, and the atmosphere created just perfect. A wonderful rest for a dark, rainy evening.ARC from Edelweiss.
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  • Norma * Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    Spooky, suspenseful & a little bit witchy!This book reminded me so much of the gothic romantic suspense novels that I used to love reading growing up. They were my absolute favourite stories and this tale just made me feel all nostalgic and reminded me of my fondness for these types of stories. THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL by HESTER FOX is a dark, haunting, romantic and an excellent debut novel that had me totally absorbed, entertained, and interested throughout this entire book.I wouldn’t neces Spooky, suspenseful & a little bit witchy!This book reminded me so much of the gothic romantic suspense novels that I used to love reading growing up. They were my absolute favourite stories and this tale just made me feel all nostalgic and reminded me of my fondness for these types of stories. THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL by HESTER FOX is a dark, haunting, romantic and an excellent debut novel that had me totally absorbed, entertained, and interested throughout this entire book.I wouldn’t necessarily say that this story was all that gripping or suspenseful for me though but it definitely had an ominous feel to it that I found quite appealing.HESTER FOX delivers an atmospheric, intriguing and beautifully written gothic romantic tale of suspense and mystery here with wonderful character development, a captivating setting and an extremely spellbinding storyline. I really enjoyed the creepy dark vibe and the supernatural aspect to this novel even if it was a little subtle the real magic here was in Lydia's character.It was one of those books that definitely cast its spell on me and I wanted to savour every single page. *Traveling Sisters Read*Norma’s Stats:Cover: Beautiful, alluring, eye-catching, intriguing and a fitting representation to storyline.Title: Appealing, suspenseful, intriguing and a fitting representation to storyline. My interest is always piqued when the word witch is in a title and I’m usually all over it!Writing/Prose: Well-written, engaging, captivating, and fluid.Plot: Foreboding, menacing, engrossing, leisurely-paced, enjoyable and extremely entertaining. I adored this storyline!Ending: A lovely ending that I was extremely satisfied with and left me feeling hopeful. Overall: A fascinating read that had me totally engrossed within this gothic romance tale from start to finish! I absolutely loved the creepy and menacing feel that subtly emanated throughout this wonderful atmospheric tale! Would highly recommend!Thank you so much to NetGalley, Harlequin and Hester Fox for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review!
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  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    This is a perfect gothic, ghostly historical read for this time of the year, set in 1821 featuring elements of the supernatural. Hester Fox writes a family drama novel that just drips with chilling atmosphere. The well off Montrose family move to the small country town of New Oldbury after rumours and scandal drive them out of Boston. Willow Hall is their new home, infested with an unsettling and disturbing air, with a tragic history and ghosts that does not bode well for the family. The Montros This is a perfect gothic, ghostly historical read for this time of the year, set in 1821 featuring elements of the supernatural. Hester Fox writes a family drama novel that just drips with chilling atmosphere. The well off Montrose family move to the small country town of New Oldbury after rumours and scandal drive them out of Boston. Willow Hall is their new home, infested with an unsettling and disturbing air, with a tragic history and ghosts that does not bode well for the family. The Montrose sisters are the beautiful and attention seeking Catherine, the plain Lydia endowed with powers that are beyond her comprehension, closest to her younger sister, Emeline. The brother, Charles, is overseas, the father is involved in negotiating business deals and the mother, is weighed down with and struggling to handle the misfortunes that have hit the family. The family are to discover that rumours and scandal follow them to their new home, and in combination with the harrowing local history that haunts Willow Hall, this spells danger and tragedy for the Montrose family.There are hints that the scandal revolves around Catherine, although she shows little sign of any regrets for her past actions. In the oppressive heat, tensions and rivalries abound between a desperate Catherine and Lydia as the pair dance around the only two eligible men in the local area, the quiet and thoughtful John Barrett and the more lightweight August Pierce. Lydia and Emeline both see what others cannot, with Emeline becoming obsessed with mermaids and the local pond. Lydia had been engaged in Boston to Cyrus, a business arrangement organised by her father, but it was broken, collateral damage to the family scandal. Lydia had not been greatly disturbed by the loss of Cyrus, but the past comes to haunt her present and threatens to destroy her future. Catherine, spiteful, resentful, and jealous, is a dangerous woman determined to wreck any hopes that Lydia may have at happiness. Lydia is caught between family loyalties and secrets, facing blackmail, trying to understand her powers, afraid for her future and for other people as her romantic dreams threaten to disintegrate around her. Her only hope lies in her grasping and utilising the powers endowed on some of the women on her mother's side of the family. Hester Fox's debut historical novel is beautifully written, capturing the social attitudes of the time, particularly with reference to the position of women. She creates compelling characters in Lydia and particularly in her scheming and manipulative sister, Catherine. The key highlight for me was the gloomy and menacing atmosphere that pervades the entire novel. This is gripping historical fiction that cannot fail to enthrall the reader. Many thanks to HQ and HarperCollins for an ARC.
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  • Mackenzie - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    Haunting, romantic, and atmospheric—Hester Fox’s The Witch of Willow Hall is a deeply engaging gothic historical fiction novel that explores the notion of how we choose to become who we are. Set in the small community of New Oldbury, Massachusetts in the 1800s, this book has a cast of characters that will make you forget where you are and feel like you are part of this town. About the BookThe Salem witch trials are long past when the Montrose family arrives in New Oldsbury in 1821. Now the thing Haunting, romantic, and atmospheric—Hester Fox’s The Witch of Willow Hall is a deeply engaging gothic historical fiction novel that explores the notion of how we choose to become who we are. Set in the small community of New Oldbury, Massachusetts in the 1800s, this book has a cast of characters that will make you forget where you are and feel like you are part of this town. About the BookThe Salem witch trials are long past when the Montrose family arrives in New Oldsbury in 1821. Now the thing that terrifies communities is the hint of a scandal that could besmirch their good name. The Montrose’s are the victims of such a scandal, cast out of Boston and into New Oldsbury, where they take up residence in their new country home, Willow Hall.But gossip still clings to sisters Catherine, Lydia, and Emeline Montrose. Broken engagements, a shattered business relationship, and the shunning of their social circle have left the Montrose’s with no choice but to start over. But all isn’t lost. There are two eligible men in New Oldbury that may just make the Montrose sisters forget about their troubles. And yet, the events of their past haunt the Montrose sisters…As the series of events set off by that rumor in Boston begin to unfold, a darkness seems to creep in on the family. But there may still be one witch left in Massachusetts—Lydia Montrose. And Lydia will have to learn about her strength as a person, as well as her strength as a witch, if she hopes to save those she loves most.ReflectionI must admit, I am completely captivated by this book. I found myself forgetting where I was, being transported to that weeping willow tree beside the pond outside of Willow Hall, with the forest looming around me. Though there is a haunting, gothic setting to this novel, it is more historical fiction with a dash of romance than ghost story. But don’t think you’ll escape this book without a few ghosts!One of my favorite parts of this book are the characters. The sisters themselves are so different and well-developed. The shallow eldest sister Catherine, who may seem narcissistic but has much more depth of character than we first think. The youngest sister Emeline, who desires to be one of the older girls and feels left out by her age. And the middle sister Lydia, taught to believe herself to be plain and only desirable due to her father’s money, only to learn that she has a strength of character and heart that goes beyond the rest of her sisters. Mr. Montrose, who is stoic to the point of seeming absent, until it matters most and we see the love of a father for his family. Mrs. Montrose, whose body has failed her in the wake of a broken spirit following the shame of her family.And then we have Mr. Barrett and Mr. Pierce—New Oldbury’s most eligible bachelors. Mr. Barrett is as quiet and proper as Mr. Pierce is charming and alluring. If this book delves into any topic, it may be that first impressions may be deceiving, and that outward appearances may only be skin deep. I loved the dynamics between Mr. Barrett, Mr. Pierce, and the sisters. It added a surprising and welcome story line of romance and courtship that was delightful to read!This book is incredibly atmospheric. Hester Fox has a talent for descriptive writing that really made this book outstanding. The woods were filled with shadows and secrets, pressing in around Willow Hall and becoming a daunting force to enter and leave the manor. And then there was the willow tree by the pond, where so many important points in the story occur. The nature in this book was a character in itself, threatening to work with or against the characters, depending on how they engage with it.And finally, we have the ending. I won’t spoil anything about the book but I want to state how much I loved the way the ending of this book was written. The last chapter in particular was truly fantastic! It left the perfect tone to end the story on, and left me wanting more from Hester Fox.I read this book with the 6 Book Besties and we all enjoyed different things about the book! We want to thank the amazing team at Harlequin books for partnering with us on this book. I hope you enjoy it!
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  • Hester Fox
    January 1, 1970
    I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it <3Edited to add:You can find content warnings for THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL here: http://www.hesterfox.com/content-warn...
  • Kendall
    January 1, 1970
    The Witch of Willow Hall is a rich gothic mystery at it's finest!!!Our main character Lydia and her family move to New Oldbury after a scandal arises with her family. After the scandal, their family is ready to have a fresh beginning but somehow the past always sneaks up on you....coming back to haunt you. Lydia starts to realize that she has some special powers. A witch! Loved this part of the novel!! I am huge fan of supernatural. Lydia's family dates back to the Salem Witches... dated well ov The Witch of Willow Hall is a rich gothic mystery at it's finest!!!Our main character Lydia and her family move to New Oldbury after a scandal arises with her family. After the scandal, their family is ready to have a fresh beginning but somehow the past always sneaks up on you....coming back to haunt you. Lydia starts to realize that she has some special powers. A witch! Loved this part of the novel!! I am huge fan of supernatural. Lydia's family dates back to the Salem Witches... dated well over 200 years go. Lydia starts to realize that she needs to control her powers because if she doesn't... word will be getting to the wrong person and may wreck even more havoc to her and her family. What I loved about this?! I couldn't get enough of the gothic vibe and supernatural aspect. I was hoping to dive more into the Salem witch Trails giving us more history upon that but this wasn't the case which was a tad bit of a bummer for me. The author does a fabulous job of focusing on family, love, and romance with a hint of supernatural. I was a tad nervous going into this one because historical fiction isn't usually my to go genre but I surprised myself and really enjoyed reading this alongside my besties.Overall, this was a wonderful read and am so glad I was able to experience Hester Fox's piece of literature.Huge thank you to Harlequin Graydon Publishing for the advanced arc in exchange for my honest thoughts.3.5 stars rounded down on this one :)Publication date: 10/2/18Published to GR: 9/28/18
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  • Holly B
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 STARS  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 a 3.5 STARS  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!Thanks so much Harlequin for providing my copy for review. This book will be available on October 2, 2018. Review will post to my blog on 9/28/18.
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  • Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*
    January 1, 1970
    Two centuries after the Salem Witch Trials, there's still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn't even know it.It was the year of 1811 and it was the Bishop boy that started it all. He pelted stones at passing carriages. He lurked around every corner, responsible for every terrible thing in the world that Lydia's mind could not comprehend. Her Pa brought home a black cat for her and her sister Catherine. It was an outdoor cat. The cat's name was Bartholomew and would squeak in greeting Two centuries after the Salem Witch Trials, there's still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn't even know it.It was the year of 1811 and it was the Bishop boy that started it all. He pelted stones at passing carriages. He lurked around every corner, responsible for every terrible thing in the world that Lydia's mind could not comprehend. Her Pa brought home a black cat for her and her sister Catherine. It was an outdoor cat. The cat's name was Bartholomew and would squeak in greeting before she got to the straw filled crate. That day when she entered the barn, the cat did not greet her. She peeked into the crate the cat was dead and the straw had blood on it. Things got hazy for Lydia. She went storming into the street, in a rage. She had a purpose of what needed to be done. But she still did not know how she was going to do it. The Bishop boy was found and didn't hide the fact that there was fur on his cuffs and his brown shoe was splattered with blood. Then he turned to the stash of pebbles he was collecting. There was a dozen people gathered around the cobblestones by the time Tommy Bishop was crying for his mother. That was when Lydia came back to herself and realized how many eyes were on her and what she had done. Her mother snatched Lydia up. More than anything else she was afraid of what was going to happen to her. She was afraid that she would be sent away. Her mother sat her on a bench. She braced herself for her sentencing. She was never punished. Her mother told her if anyone asked about it, they would say that it was only a scuffle. Her mother then told her that she must never show the world what it is inside of her. She told her not to tell anyone what happened. Her mother also made it clear that should it come out again that they could find themselves turned out of their home or worse. She never thought that they might be turned out for other reasons and and certainly not for the rumors that surround them now, which are that: rumors. This is a spooky gothic novel. It is just perfect for the fall Halloween season. I loved the gothic atmosphere and even enjoyed the romance that fitted into the story. The book had everything in it: A witch, ghosts, spookiness, suspense and some dark secrets. There was some magic but there wasn't any witch spells, which made it realistic.The estate they live in 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, Emmeline. I loved the characters and there were some unlikable characters too. I loved Lydia the best. John was a very likable character too. Cyrus was an unlikable character too. Another unlikable character was Catherine. She was just so selfish and just cared about herself. She was so jealous. I loved the ghosts too which I am not going to name them, because it could spoil the story. This was a Traveling Sister read and I think we all enjoyed it. I love reading with them.This was an arc from Edelweiss.
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  • Anna Lee Huber
    January 1, 1970
    Beautifully written, skillfully plotted, and filled with quiet terror, readers will devour this absorbing, Gothic tale of romance and suspense. Perfect for fans of Simone St James and Kate Morton.
  • Marialyce
    January 1, 1970
    4 wonderfully Gothic creepy stars My reviews can be found here: https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres... There are things afoot at Willow Hall. The family Montrose, have moved into their country home. Fleeing from Boston because of a scandal, the sisters Catherine, Lydia, and Emeline are forced to take residence in this omnivorous home. The year was 1821, and the happenings in and around the home, seem to bring hints of something strange, something otherworldly, something supernatural.Catherine, 4 wonderfully Gothic creepy stars My reviews can be found here: https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres... There are things afoot at Willow Hall. The family Montrose, have moved into their country home. Fleeing from Boston because of a scandal, the sisters Catherine, Lydia, and Emeline are forced to take residence in this omnivorous home. The year was 1821, and the happenings in and around the home, seem to bring hints of something strange, something otherworldly, something supernatural.Catherine, spoiled and beautiful, thinks herself to be alluring to all men. She plots and schemes to entrap one of the men who come into her circle. For Catherine harbors a secret, a terrible secret, that she hides doing anything she can to keep her mission going, that of marrying John Barrett or his friend. Catherine needs a husband and what Catherine needs, she will get, letting no one stand in her way.Lydia, unaware of what she is, contends with Catherine's artifice eventually learning Catherine's secret. Lydia finds herself attracted to John Barrett, her father's partner, but of course feels Catherine's beauty will entrap John. Lydia also carries a secret, there is something different, something eerie, something shudder some about her. What is it that seems to stir up things around her? John Barrett is a wonderful character, a man who is so reminiscent of Heathcliff, as he carries his own secrets in a brooding style, holding himself back and in check.Emeline, the youngest daughter, seems to also have a certain aura about her. She is mysterious, ethereal, and haunted. She becomes trapped into seeing things that should not be there, eventually leading her to a horrible place that devastates the family.This was a ominous tale, one that fleshed out the characters so well, one that made these characters feel real, made their actions so in accord with the Gothic atmosphere of the story. Willow Hall had that aura to it, that impression that all was not right and there was something lurking within its confines. I could not help but think of the moors where Catherine and Heathcliff once roamed.I recommend this book as one that was disturbing and macabre. This was an excellent debut for this author. If you are looking for a story to fill your October nights, this book might just satisfy your need for the sinister, the ghostly, and the menacing. Nicely done Ms Fox!Thank you to Hester Fox, Graydon House, and Edelweiss for a copy of this Gothic tale.This was a Traveling Sister read and we enjoyed this book and discussion.
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  • Judy
    January 1, 1970
    Hard to believe this is a debut novel - it is really very well written. I was totally absorbed in the story and didn't want to put the book down until finished. There's a lot more to the story than witchcraft. The Montrose family flees Boston in 1821 due to scandalous rumors and moves to New Oldbury into a home called Willow Hall. Willow Hall has a history of tragedy. This is the story of what happens at Willow Hall and especially what Lydia discovers about herself and her history. There is also Hard to believe this is a debut novel - it is really very well written. I was totally absorbed in the story and didn't want to put the book down until finished. There's a lot more to the story than witchcraft. The Montrose family flees Boston in 1821 due to scandalous rumors and moves to New Oldbury into a home called Willow Hall. Willow Hall has a history of tragedy. This is the story of what happens at Willow Hall and especially what Lydia discovers about herself and her history. There is also a romance, blackmail and betrayal, incest, and a new tragedy at Willow Hall. The witchcraft in the book is definitely there, but is somewhat understated.My favorite characters were Lydia Montrose and John Barrow. The characters were well-developed and interesting. My least favorite character was Catherine - I would really hate to have her for a sister! The book was atmospheric and gave me a sense of foreboding and dread.I really enjoyed the book! Thanks to Hester Fox and HARLEQUIN - Graydon House Books through Netgalley for an advance copy.
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  • Mfedore
    January 1, 1970
    I read an early draft of this book. I found the characters and setting to be very unique and well-developed. The heroine, Lydia, is a compelling character and I found myself engrossed in her experiences. This is the author's debut novel and I am excited to see what she produces next!
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  • Niki
    January 1, 1970
    THIS WAS SO GOOD. Creepy af but also romantic af?? Give me a John Barrett without the ghosts pls.
  • Samantha
    January 1, 1970
    The ULTIMATE page turner!I typically don't read such dark novels, and I always hesitate when reading a new author's first published book, but the fact that the main character had a great aunt that was killed during the Salem Witch Trials, and I do too, I picked it up. Set in the 1800s of Boston, Lydia and her family have fled to the country side amidst a family scandal. She soon discovers that she too, is a witch and is struggling to come to terms with it while trying to learn more about it. As The ULTIMATE page turner!I typically don't read such dark novels, and I always hesitate when reading a new author's first published book, but the fact that the main character had a great aunt that was killed during the Salem Witch Trials, and I do too, I picked it up. Set in the 1800s of Boston, Lydia and her family have fled to the country side amidst a family scandal. She soon discovers that she too, is a witch and is struggling to come to terms with it while trying to learn more about it. As her relationships with her family start to crumble, she starts to realize how strong her feelings for her father's business partner are and then must deal with her sister's scheming ways. I can't convey enough how well or how captivating this book was to me. I never would have guessed that this was Hester Fox's debut novel and I cannot wait for another one! Not gonna lie, I'd love to see a Hale Women series and watch them evolve each generation. We'd get to catch up with the others and see what new troubles their powers cause as the times change around them.Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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  • Reading.Between.Wines
    January 1, 1970
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there's still one witch left in Massachusetts, but she doesn't even know it.If you are looking for an atmospheric fall / Halloween read, then I highly recommend The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox. What it's about: The Montrose family moves from Boston to New Oldbury in 1821 to escape the rumors that are circulating around Boston about them. They move into the Willow Hall estate which, little do they know, possesses a dark history. The young ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there's still one witch left in Massachusetts, but she doesn't even know it.If you are looking for an atmospheric fall / Halloween read, then I highly recommend The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox. What it's about: The Montrose family moves from Boston to New Oldbury in 1821 to escape the rumors that are circulating around Boston about them. They move into the Willow Hall estate which, little do they know, possesses a dark history. The youngest daughter, Lydia, quickly starts to find out what this history is, plus realizing her own ancestry, and must harness the power she possesses to protect the people she loves. That's all I'm going to say about the plot because this book is BEST going in mostly blind, and I appreciate that the blurb doesn't tell you a whole lot. I really liked the pacing in this book, and it was spooky while still being on the lighter side of the spectrum. There are some dark occurrences, but the overall feel to the book, for me, was not as scary as I thought it was going to be. I think Fox did an excellent job of describing everything and making The Witch of Willow Hall very atmospheric while also giving you a general sense of foreboding. I also liked the aspect of the mystery surrounding Lydia and if the rumors about the family are true. You also don't find out what the rumors even are until a good distance into the book which was a great added build up. This is a debut novel, but SUCH a good one. I was surprised to learn it was a debut because it doesn't read like one. I also loved the humor in this book! It was a nice surprise and I really liked Lydia as a character. No multiple viewpoints here but loved it just the same.Final thought: If you want a spooky, atmospheric novel on the lighter side for fall The Witch of Willow Hall is the novel for you! This book can be read at night, so don't expect it to be SUPER creepy, but for me it was perfect. My vote: A well done debut novel which has its funny parts, but also gives you a bit of the creeps at the same time.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    Love, love, love! Perfect for fans of Witchy reads, with parallels to Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.
  • Mellie Antoinete
    January 1, 1970
    Man I loved this book! Pride & Prejudice meets Jane Eyre with the winds of Salem gusting through the trees. A glorious autumnal read!
  • Debby Taylor-Lane
    January 1, 1970
    It is rare I find a book that captures me so exquisitely I cannot put it down. From the moment I set eyes on this beautiful cover I began to fall in love. Nine hours later, as I read the final page, it owned my heart. The era research is beyond fault, the character development is top notch and the scene setting is so perfect you will feel the chill and smell the flowers. The highest accolade I can pay is to liken this to works by Austen and the Brontë sisters. If you are a reader who enjoys mast It is rare I find a book that captures me so exquisitely I cannot put it down. From the moment I set eyes on this beautiful cover I began to fall in love. Nine hours later, as I read the final page, it owned my heart. The era research is beyond fault, the character development is top notch and the scene setting is so perfect you will feel the chill and smell the flowers. The highest accolade I can pay is to liken this to works by Austen and the Brontë sisters. If you are a reader who enjoys masterpieces such as: Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice and Emma (with a pinch of the supernatural thrown in) then you will love this novel. A book destined to become a future classic.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    Witch of Willow Hall was such a joy to read. It was thrilling, and action-packed the entire way through. I found it incredibly easy to read--I was half-way through before I could put it down! It's rare to find a book that is so thoroughly enjoyable but also well-written and emotional. Highly recommend to anyone looking for a great book to read!
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  • Dianne
    January 1, 1970
    Dark and ominous, THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL by Hester Fox is far too rich in atmosphere to fly along at a rapid pace. A beautifully written tale of menace, of ghosts and of a young woman with unexplained powers, dirty family secrets and a desire to know what love is.When Lydia’s family left Boston to escape scandal, the idyllic estate her father built promised new beginnings. But what hid beneath the beautiful mansion and the secrets within her own family would bring a dark veil over them all. Th Dark and ominous, THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL by Hester Fox is far too rich in atmosphere to fly along at a rapid pace. A beautifully written tale of menace, of ghosts and of a young woman with unexplained powers, dirty family secrets and a desire to know what love is.When Lydia’s family left Boston to escape scandal, the idyllic estate her father built promised new beginnings. But what hid beneath the beautiful mansion and the secrets within her own family would bring a dark veil over them all. The only bright spot for Lydia was Mr. Barrett, but family jealousies could ruin any chance she had for happiness, as would the darkness she feared grew within her.Hester Fox has colored an edgy tale and steeped it in the darkness of pain, deceit, death and visits from those beyond the veil. But the most dangerous of all may have been the living, as one kind-hearted young woman must learn to stand up for herself, who she is and what she wants.Wonderfully described scenes come to life, the emotional havoc is taut and the feeling of history coming to life from another era is both terrifying and enthralling!I received a complimentary ARC edition from Graydon House!Publisher: Graydon House; Original edition (October 1, 2018)Publication Date: October 2, 2018Genre: Gothic RomancePrint Length: 368 pagesAvailable from: Amazon | Barnes & NobleFor Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com
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  • Riley
    January 1, 1970
    This wasn't at all what I expected but I still really enjoyed it. The witchy/magical elements are really in the background which I was slightly disappointed by. But if you go into this looking for a historical romance with a bit of mystery I think you will like it more.
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  • Kristi Schmitz
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my goodness! Don’t you just LOVE this book cover? I think it’s perfect for this amazingly curious, dark, mysterious work of historical fiction awesomeness! I think this book, The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox, is being promoted as a Romance genre book, and it does have the most wonderful love story, but it’s so much more than that. I found myself utterly transfixed with this book, creeped out, and consistently desperate to find out what was going to happen!Premise- The Montroses are relo Oh my goodness! Don’t you just LOVE this book cover? I think it’s perfect for this amazingly curious, dark, mysterious work of historical fiction awesomeness! I think this book, The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox, is being promoted as a Romance genre book, and it does have the most wonderful love story, but it’s so much more than that. I found myself utterly transfixed with this book, creeped out, and consistently desperate to find out what was going to happen!Premise- The Montroses are relocating to their new home, Willow Hall, after rumors about the eldest daughter, the beautiful and captivating Caroline, make their wealthy (but “scandalous and immoral”) family Boston’s ultimate pariahs. Lydia, the sensible sister (read: the plain one), spends her days caring for her younger sister and feeling like a spinster after her recent failed engagement. Right away, things seem amiss at Willow Hall. Weird things are happening- sudden door slams, wailing in the middle of the night, outbursts of anger, etc…scary!Then, when an unspeakable tragedy occurs, Lydia despairs over her new reality, and learns that the rumors which ousted their family from Boston are far worse and truer than anyone ever imagined. Caroline’s secret threatens to destroy their own family forever. On top of that, Lydia- always the caretaker, handler, “fixer”- finds herself competing with her sister for the handsome Mr. John Barrett’s affections, a guy who just so happens to be their father’s new business partner. Drama, drama, drama I tell ya!This book had everything- history, sibling rivalry, danger, tragedy, love, you name it! As I got closer and closer to the end, I found myself feeling so sad that I wouldn’t be “living” with the Montrose family much longer. In fact, this family and the town of New Oldbury would be the perfect setting for a Willow Hall series…hint hint!If you are looking for a WONDERFUL story that will have you hooked from the first page, this book is it! Add October 2nd, 2018 to your calendar because that’s when The Witch of Willow Hall comes out, and you don’t want to miss it!5 out of 5 stars for The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox. Thanks to NetGalley and Graydon House Books (US & UK) for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
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  • Cass
    January 1, 1970
    What a story! It absolutely captivated me — as soon as I started, I had to keep going to find out how the tale would unspool. This is an excellent gothic romance, deliciously dark, full of secrets, shame, and the supernatural.
  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    The Witch of Willow Hall is a skillfully crafted gothic romance. There were times that I felt like I was in 1821 right beside Lydia. The Montrose family flees Boston in the wake of scandal and rumors involving the eldest sister, Catherine. As they settle into the countryside, their father works to get a mill established with a local businessman, ghost seems to start to appear as tragedy occurs. The entire time you slowly get bits and pieces of what truly caused the Montrose family to relocate an The Witch of Willow Hall is a skillfully crafted gothic romance. There were times that I felt like I was in 1821 right beside Lydia. The Montrose family flees Boston in the wake of scandal and rumors involving the eldest sister, Catherine. As they settle into the countryside, their father works to get a mill established with a local businessman, ghost seems to start to appear as tragedy occurs. The entire time you slowly get bits and pieces of what truly caused the Montrose family to relocate and at the same time, you feel the weight on Lydia’s shoulders grow heavier and heavier. As this weight grows, her relationship with Catherine dissolves. Her relationship with her mother unravels. The only light she had is John Barrett. Who, she can’t really be sure she has either. The scenes were rich in detail, dialogue and emotion. It made me want to continue reading well past the time I was supposed to be asleep. There were aspects that made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end and I needed to know more. There were heartbreaking moments but then there were times I felt so light, so hopeful I had to keep going. I enjoyed every page of this novel and hope to read more by the author in the future.
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  • Dianna
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book for review. Opinions shared are mine.Initially, I was shocked to find that this book is author Hester Fox’s debut novel. Beautifully developed, the story line had the perfect blend of suspense and romance. There were a few awkward sentences that made me double-read, and I hope those are caught by the editing process before its October release. Fans of Gothic romance will devour this book! Willow Hall reminded me a little bit of Manderley, and Catherine’s dark chara I received a copy of this book for review. Opinions shared are mine.Initially, I was shocked to find that this book is author Hester Fox’s debut novel. Beautifully developed, the story line had the perfect blend of suspense and romance. There were a few awkward sentences that made me double-read, and I hope those are caught by the editing process before its October release. Fans of Gothic romance will devour this book! Willow Hall reminded me a little bit of Manderley, and Catherine’s dark character seems like a nod to Wuthering Heights.There aren’t enough words for me to say how much I love John Barrett. He was like all the best parts of Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightley. Jane Austen fans who crave a bit of supernatural kick in a story — do yourself a favor and read this! It’s like Downton Abbey, ghost story style.I hope this is the first of a series. It would be such a tragedy if we didn’t hear more about Mary Preston’s history. Even more, I want to know what happens with Lydia! The ghostly elements of the story were very mild, not scary in the least, and I would love to see even more in future books. If you can’t tell, I’m very much looking forward to more from Hester Fox!
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  • Irene
    January 1, 1970
    What an intriguing read! When the Montrose family was forced by scandal to uproot their lives and flee the city, I at first thought to myself that surely it could not have been that severe, after all what was not considered scandalous in those days? The scandal itself is a bit of a mystery, and there are hints that it may have been caused by Lydia or by Catherine, but either way I could not wait to find out what it was. Once settled in their new home it seems that gossip has followed them, and s What an intriguing read! When the Montrose family was forced by scandal to uproot their lives and flee the city, I at first thought to myself that surely it could not have been that severe, after all what was not considered scandalous in those days? The scandal itself is a bit of a mystery, and there are hints that it may have been caused by Lydia or by Catherine, but either way I could not wait to find out what it was. Once settled in their new home it seems that gossip has followed them, and sadly a tragedy is not far behind. The relationship between the sisters held me spellbound. For having been raised by the same parents in the same home, they could not have wound up more different from each other. This was a captivating work of historical fiction with a gothic ghost story feel, complete with heroes to cheer for and villains that I took delight in hating.I received an advance copy for review.
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