The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

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There are stories around here that the place is haunted. All manners of ghosties and goblins.”

This book wasn’t what I was expecting but I found myself devouring the pages in one morning nonetheless. If I were to categorize this book it is first and foremost a historical romance; it felt like reading Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights with supernatural/witchy elements. This is a successful historical fiction book, but unfortunately I found the witch plotline underdeveloped and secondary to the romance.

The Montrose family has all but been run out of Boston due to rumors, but it is not until well into the book that the reader learns what happened. Lydia did something as a child; however, what ran them out of Boston was not the incident with the Bishop boy but something that her twenty-two year old sister Catherine did. The Montrose family loses their status and items, having to move to the country.

Witch of Willow Hall is honestly about the family’s relocation, their struggles with their new status, interpersonal conflicts, and romance. The sisterly relationship between Emeline and Lydia warmed my heart and actually reminded me a lot of Little Women in a lot of respects. Fox was able to craft a compelling plot-driven story that felt very much like books written of this period, making for an immersive experience. Unfortunately, other than Lydia Montrose (our MC), John Barrett, and Emeline Montrose all of the characters are pretty much horrible. Catherine Montrose is awful, Cyrus Thompson is terrible and his actions make no sense.

There’s a lot of tings happening in this book, and unfortunately for me it didn’t really gel 100%. The book opens by saying “It was the Bishop boy who started it all…” yet none of that really felt connected until the end of the book, and the supernatural/witchy plot didn’t really start to surface until 50% in and I was honestly left wanting a lot more.

Overall I found this to be a decent book that I enjoyed, but I was hoping for more. If you go into this book thinking that there will be witchcraft you will be disappointed. I would recommend this book to lovers of the historical romance genre, particularly if you enjoy the cattiness and competition between women of a marrying age.

CONTENT WARNINGS: animal death, incest, miscarriage

Many thanks to the publisher for providing me an electronic advanced reader copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Quotations taken from an uncorrected proof and may change upon final publication. The Witch of Willow Hall will be published on October 2, 2018.


You can find information about my rating criteria here.


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Hi! I’m Kaleena: book lover, runner, wanderer, and philanthropist. Life is an adventurous gift: through the outdoors and books. I run Reader Voracious Blog, where I post spoiler-free book reviews of science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, and mystery & thriller.

17 thoughts on “The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

  1. Book bestie, Can you please let me know where the animal death is and how bad it is? I cannot do animal deaths AT ALL. Thank you so much for the warning and for the review. I know that I told you on Twitter that this one is in my TBReviewed pile too. I am kinda bummed by your summary (you did a GREAT job)–not what I am expecting either. After I finish Picoult’s (I am SO behind on book blogging), this one is next in my queue. I want more witch!!

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    1. The animal death is kind of bad but it is in the first chapter of the book, which you can skip in its entirety and not miss anything important. I can fill you in on what you missed if needed! This is a good book and I think that as long as people go on with the right expectations it will be enjoyable. Let me know if you need more info on the animal death or want a recap of what you miss (honestly it’s nothing)

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  2. This is a great review heading into the read… (don’t expect witchcraft! check.) I’m totally starting this one tonight or tomorrow! After the last book I read, this actually sounds a little refreshing (even perhaps a little frivolous?) – especially if it is a quick,easy read as you suggested. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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