I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on October 8, 2019
Genres: Historical, Mystery, Paranormal
FINAL DECISION: Enjoyable historical romance combined with a ghost story. While the book had some parts that dragged, overall, I thought this was a good story with interesting characters. I wanted to read more of the Moore family.
THE STORY: Alva Webster returns to New York after the death of her estranged husband as the notorious widow. She intends to build a life for herself by renovating a dilapidated house and using it as the subject of a book. But when her plans are derailed by tales of ghosts that haunt the house, she ends up working with Samuel Moore, a scientist and inventor, who takes up investigating what is haunting the house. Samuel also is intrigued by Alva even as she wants to avoid any entanglements. As the two get closer and search for the secrets of Alva’s house, Alva’s own secret past threatens her plans for the future.
OPINION: This book is an interesting combination of a Gilded Age historical romance, a mystery, and a ghost book with the attendant thriller and suspense aspects. I thought the combination of these genres worked really well. I never felt that the story was out of balance. I enjoyed all aspects of the story.
I liked the relationship between Alva and Samuel. Alva has been grievously injured by her marriage and she treats Samuel pretty poorly because of it. Indeed, if I have a complaint, it is that Samuel is way too accommodating to Alva. She leads Samuel on knowing his feelings for her. I also thought that her insistence on handling her past problems herself was pretty idiotic. The inability to ask for help is not strength but a weakness.
But apart from that, I really loved when Alva and Samuel’s relationship was working. He is adorable and there was such fun and sweetness in their interactions.
The book had some really interesting parts. I thought that parts were repetitive and the book dragged somewhat when Alva is dealing with her past. But the parts with Alva and Samuel together were lovely. I also thought that the ghost portions themselves were suspenseful and scary without being too graphic. The portions of Samuel and Alva doing investigations of the origins of the ghosts in the house also introduced readers to a variety of well drawn characters.
And ultimately, it was the strength of the characterizations which made this book for me. I not only really enjoyed Alva and Samuel, but also Samuel’s family and other more minor characters that help with the investigation.
I thought the ghost story portion was well done and certainly was rooted in real trials of the time.
WORTH MENTIONING: I really want to read the stories of the other Moore siblings (including Henry).
CONNECTED BOOKS: THE WIDOW OF ROSE HOUSE is a standalone.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.