The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox
Published by Graydon House on October 2, 2018
my rating: ★★★
Goodreads avg: 3.79 (as of 2018-12-17)
cw: familial death, incest, suicide, miscarriage, child death
disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for review consideration. All of the opinions presented below are my own.
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…
Sometimes I feel as if we are standing on opposite sides of a great chasm, and I must watch helplessly as the gaping space between us widens.
→ What I Liked:
I enjoyed the connection between the main character, Lydia, and her love interest. Their interactions were by far my favorite to read and the romance was really what kept me going through this. I really wanted to know how things came together (or didn’t) for the two of them.
While it took some time to gain my interest, this took on an unputdownable quality for me. It really turned into quite the page turner and I read the entire second half of the book in one sitting.
→ What I Didn’t Like:
Besides Lydia and, to some extent, her love interest, there wasn’t much depth among the characters. They all felt quite one-dimensional and were defined by one or two qualities that didn’t really change. I also hated the way the older sister Catherine was written — she was a stereotypical catty teenage girl whose only purpose was to cause strife. I’ve been over characterizations like these for a while now.
The Lack of Subtlety
I was literally rolling my eyes at the beginning of this with how hard it was hitting me over the head with the witch stuff. There were plenty of “hints” about Lydia’s true nature, but they were so blatant that they may as well have been screaming off the page. It really drew from the story itself for me.
There was so much stuffed into this ending that it felt very rushed to me. A lot of it just felt so very… convenient. And the focus was so much on the romance and so little on the witchcraft that I was left dissatisfied and with very many questions. I want a sequel to learn more about Lydia’s abilities and family history, but felt like the way this ended didn’t leave much room for that.
- Romance was enjoyable
- Side characters needed work
- Lots of eyerolls
- Ending was way too busy
- Would recommend, but think of this more as a YA romance with paranormal elements than a fantasy or horror with romance on the side
- Will pick up Hester Fox’s next book