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Haunting Violet – Alyxandra Harvey

1865 – I was nine years old when my mother decided it
was time I took part in the family business. I was pretty enough now, she said,
that I might be of use. Id grown into my ears and my long neck and might be
clever enough to handle myself. Besides which, she claimed, she had no other
option.”

Violets mother is a medium, a fake medium. Coning people
into believing she is seeing the ghosts of loved ones using the tricks of the
trade she is invited to a country manor to show off her “talents.” Having grown
up and participated in the séances Violet never believed in spirits or the
spirit world. That is until the spirits started trying to connect with her.
Coming across the ghost of Rowena, a girl her age who drowned the year
previous, Violet knows there was something more to her death than everyone is
letting on. Trying to discover what happened whilst also playing pretend for
her mother Violet might have taken on more than she can manage.

***

Following amazing praise across the blogosphere and a
summary that I couldn’t help but be intrigued by I wanted this book so badly…
but then just before it came out I put myself on a buying ban… needless to
say as soon as that ban was over I bought the kindle I had so graciously begged
my friends for for my birthday! As soon as the kindle arrived I did what anyone
would do… I bought books, and then I read the first one I bought. I’m glad it
was Haunting Violet, as my very first kindle book definitely challenges others
for one of the best books of the year!!
Having heard the praise for Haunting Violet I was worried
that it wouldn’t live up to expectations. I’d heard that the story was spooky
and the characters amazingly real, and the setting would remind you of an
Austen or a Bronte book… and all these rumours couldn’t be closer to the
truth!
The story takes you back to the late 1800s. The setting
reminded me of older books like Austen and stuff, but obviously a little more
modern. I liked that the majority of the story was set in a country house and
thanks to the amazing writing style that Harvey adopts I could seriously see
myself walking alongside Violet and Emma across the grounds and gardens of the
house. I have a soft spot for books that contain elegant gowns, manicured lawns
and handsome men but more often than not the female main characters of these
books annoy the hell out of me… that was not the case here though.
Violet’s life is pretty much a lie. Having taught herself
elocution and the ways of the peerage, she could get by well enough but her
cockney came out every now and then and her thoughts, which you get a lot of as
he is the narrator of the story, were very much from her roots. She constantly
worried that she wasn’t be ladylike enough and I loved her for that. She was a strong
character who wasn’t afraid to run around in her pantaloons should the need
arise and for the most part she didn’t really care that much what the other
annoying women thought of her. The book also featured some other strong characters
in Elizabeth and Rowena, but I think Harvey did well to keep the strong characters
close to their backgrounds; with Elizabeth being constantly scolded by her
mother and still acting like the Debutante she was meant to be for the
majority. Rowena had to be strong after what she had gone through but, I guess
anyone who wanted their deaths avenged would be strong!!
The male characters where very much how you would expect
for the time period; many of them were younger, posh boy types which annoyed me
a little but others weren’t like that. Colin was a brilliant character, again
probably aided by the fact he wasn’t a poch boy, he was an Irish orphan boy
taken in by Violets mother. Also Lord Jasper was an intriguing character, I
liked him from the start and I was very worried when certain events made me
question him.
The story was fabulously spooky. It had all the elements
of a ghost story, complete with water seeping through walls and cold mists
coming over the hills. I the atmosphere was created brilliantly through the
words and descriptions Harvey used and I couldn’t put the book down for fear
that I would look up and see a young girl’s face screaming at me!!
What I think I loved the most about Haunting Violet was
the romance. There were definite romance elements for our main character but
they didn’t detract from the actual story. Violet had two suitors in this one
and I know which I was rooting for from the very beginning, but neither distracted
her from Rowena’s terrible demise. I loved the love story of Rowena too and I
thought that it was true love at its best.
I loved Haunting Violet, it was honestly the type of
spiritualist ghost story that you want to read, it was informative,
entertaining and utterly breathtaking in places. I was rooting for Violet the
whole way through and I actually didn’t want it to end!!
Haunting Violet came out on July 4th,
published by Bloomsbury. My copy was purchased on my kindle. 

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