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

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…

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My Review

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.

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!

17 Comments

  1. booksandblends

    September 20, 2018 at 10:37 AM

    Great review Kaleena! I have this on my shelf and your review makes me want to go read it!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      September 22, 2018 at 6:11 PM

      I have a feeling that you will really enjoy this one, Kayla!

      1. booksandblends

        September 23, 2018 at 1:47 PM

        I hope so! I’m trying to save it for around Halloween!

        1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

          September 24, 2018 at 9:01 AM

          It isn’t the spookiest of reads with little witchy stuff, so if you are saving it for that you may be disappointed.

          1. booksandblends

            September 25, 2018 at 7:37 AM

            I’m such a easy scare so it’s probably good that it wont have it lol!

  2. pcochrun

    September 20, 2018 at 10:43 AM

    I know what you mean… That first sentence has to start a thread.

  3. Christine

    September 20, 2018 at 11:46 AM

    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!!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      September 22, 2018 at 6:15 PM

      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)

  4. Becky @ Velvet Spade Reads

    September 20, 2018 at 1:56 PM

    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. 😀

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      September 22, 2018 at 6:17 PM

      I hope you enjoy(ed) the book! I really think if you aren’t expecting it to be a spooky read you’ll be good, and it was nice to have something ~different~ to read.

  5. Phantom Paper

    September 20, 2018 at 11:05 PM

    A review well done 😊 It’s bumming when books miss certain expectations, I’ve had a few(Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Buying Time & What Blooms From Dust).

    What’s next for you?

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      September 22, 2018 at 6:18 PM

      Thank you so much, and yea it is a bummer when I think a book is going to be one thing and it winds up being something else. Luckily for me I enjoyed this one!

      I am currently reading PRIEST OF BONES, and then Dracul is next!

      1. Phantom Paper

        September 26, 2018 at 9:27 PM

        Oh, you still enjoyed it😄 well then, that’s better~ Wow, Priest of Bones? Sounds like some heavy n dark stuff!

  6. September in Review – Reader Voracious Blog

    September 30, 2018 at 10:05 AM

    […] * The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox: is more of a historical romance than a spooky/supernatureal read; it felt like reading Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights with supernatural/witchy elements. This is a successful historical fiction book and one people will enjoy provided they don’t go in expecting a spooky October read. [Full ARC Review] […]

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