The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox
If you go into this book thinking that there will be witchcraft you will be disappointed. It’s an enjoyable book but was not what I was expecting.
About the Book
Publisher: Graydon House | Release Date: October 2, 2018 | Pages: 368
Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction | Format: eARC | Source: Publisher via Netgalley
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…
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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.
“There are stories around here that the place is haunted. All manners of ghosties and goblins.”
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, that 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 its 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 things 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 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.