Thank you to Simon and Schuster and Edelweiss for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.
I don’t have much of a preamble for why I chose this book. It sounded creepy and I love creepy and gothic stories. Sometimes, that’s all a bookworm really needs!
Summary (Goodreads): On top of the Yorkshire Moors, in an isolated spot carved out of a barren landscape, lies White Windows, a house of shadows and secrets. Here lives Marcus Twentyman, a hard-drinking but sensitive man, and his sister, the brisk widow, Hester.
When runaway Annaleigh first meets the Twentymans, their offer of employment and lodging seems a blessing. Only later does she discover the truth. But by then she is already in the middle of a web of darkness and intrigue, where murder seems the only possible means of escape…
Review: I really wanted to love this book. Sadly, that was not to be. There were just too many issues in this novel for me to enjoy reading it. Also, trigger warning for rape; it wasn’t as graphic as in other books but it is uncomfortable and I wanted to mention it straight away.
First of all, the story was just … weird. It didn’t really have a plot. Things happened, for sure, but they lacked that deeper motive. It just felt like events and interactions were cobbled together so that there could be a story; there was nothing to tie everything together.
The novel also moves at a very awkward pace. On the one hand, it is slow because it takes a long time for anything to actually happen. However, the actual relationships between the different characters developed too quickly for it to be believable. In fact, I was shocked to see just how soon characters developed feelings (negative and positive) for each other; there was no build up to any of it, so it all fell very flat for me.
I also didn’t like any of the characters. They were all so flat and portrayed in a stereotypical way. It was hard to connect with any of them, including the protagonist – and the story is told from her perspective! Their motives, their behaviours, nothing was properly explained or developed and this just made the story fall apart even more for me.
The only thing I liked about this book is the writing itself. It was fairly easy to read, even though there were occasional slips into more modern ways of talking.
Overall, this book just did not work for me. It was a matter of development; neither the plot nor the characters were well-developed so the entire story just couldn’t stand up. I have to give this book a 1/5 stars.