Genre: Historical/Gothic Age Range: Adult Star Rating: 5 stars Series: standalone
Some houses hold secrets that are meant to be kept forever…
When Eliza Sullivan inherits an estate from a recently deceased aunt, she leaves behind a grievous and guilt-ridden past in New Orleans for rural England and a fresh start. Eliza arrives at her new home and finds herself falling for the mysterious lord of Havenwood, Malcolm Winfield. Despite the sinister rumours that surround him, Eliza is drawn to his melancholy charm and his crumbling, once-beautiful mansion. With enough love, she thinks, both man and manor could be repaired.
Not long into their marriage, Eliza fears that she should have listened to the locals. There’s something terribly wrong at Havenwood Manor: Forbidden rooms. Ghostly whispers in the shadows. Strangely guarded servants. And Malcolm’s threatening moods, as changeable as night and day.
As Eliza delves deeper into Malcolm’s troubling history, the dark secrets she unearths gain a frightening power. Has she married a man or a monster? For Eliza, uncovering the truth will either save her or destroy her.
Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
PARTING THE VEIL is a slowburn gothic about a young woman looking to start a new life and marries a man with many, many secrets. It feels like it is really paying tribute and emulating some of the gothic classics while being entirely its own, modern thing.
The mystery element about his family is so good. So many times you think you’ve cracked it, the tangled mess of his family and past, and then another piece of information is revealed, turning the entire thing on its head. It’s done so, so well, keeping you reading to find out the truth because there’s no way you’re going to let such an engaging puzzle box of a mystery go.
I loved how the otherworldly and the mortal elements combine in this book. It’s not a story that can be explained away as entirely one or the other. There are ghostly apparitions, including violence acted upon characters by someone not visible, as well as the cold feeling of something present. It gives it a really spooky feeling that is complimented by the human evil, so there are two types of wrong ton confront and survive.
The book also shines a spotlight on the many ways LGBTQ+ people lived in late 19th-century England, the open secrets and the more closed lipped ones, and the circle of people who supported and protected them (as well as those who didn’t.) It was so nice to see such a range.
Paulette Kennedy’s second book, THE WITCH OF TIN MOUNTAIN, is out early next year and I am very excited to see what she writes next.
Read my reviews of other books by Paulette Kennedy: