Thanks to NetGalley and the author/publisher for providing me with this book!
Themes: Adult, horror, mystery
England, 1818. Lady Helena Winters hasn’t seen her husband in over a year—not since he disappeared without a trace. Torn between seeking a new purpose for her life and longing for her husband to return, Helena travels with her father to Dunmoor House for a fundraising ball. Although the estate was once her husband’s ancestral home, it has recently been purchased by Luke Lennox, a gentleman planning to establish a foundling hospital.
Helena quickly finds herself battling memories of life with her husband and searching for answers to what might have happened to him. Even so, she is drawn to Luke Lennox and his dream of saving and educating children—a passion she shares.
But within Dunmoor’s decaying walls lies a long and sordid history, a legacy of evildoers perpetrating unspeakable acts of wickedness. Now, the corridors echo with voices. Vines grow inside the house, and shadowy figures plague the children at night.
And in the dark forest on the edge of the property, a terrible secret awaits, and what Luke and Helena uncover there will endanger both their lives.
My first DNF of 2022… This book was absolutely not bad, the author is obviously very skilled in creating tensed and gothic atmospheres.
The first thing coming to my mind when I’m thinking about this book is dark. We find ourselves trapped with the characters in a crumbling mansion in the middle of the countryside, and strange events are soon happening. The grading I decided upon for this book is explained by the visible efforts that were made in the writing style in order to project us in this period and setting.
I didn’t get attached to any of the characters even if I recognise that they are well developed, as is their stories, even for the ones that are not present but just evoked by others.
However, I had to stop the book towards the end since it began to unsettle me a lot. Indeed, the author is dealing with heavy themes, the main one being sexual abuses (including on children). Even if they are evoked with talent, it evolves from allusions/short evocations to being very tangible, which was clearly too much for me.
In brief: If you’re seeking some chilling emotions and are not afraid of reading about heavy themes, I think you’ll like this book. However, I strongly recommend checking its trigger warnings before beginning it.
My rating: 3/5
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