Delighted to have The Widow of Rose House by Diane Biller on the blog today with a review from Tanya Kaanta. A historical romance set in 1875, New York.
Back of the Book
A young widow restores a dilapidated mansion with the assistance of a charming, eccentric genius, only to find the house is full of dangerous secrets in this effervescent Gilded Age romantic comedy debut
It’s 1875, and Alva Webster has perfected her stiff upper lip after three years of being pilloried in the presses of two continents over fleeing her abusive husband. Now his sudden death allows her to return to New York to make a fresh start, restoring Liefdehuis, a dilapidated Hyde Park mansion, and hopefully her reputation at the same time.
However, fresh starts aren’t as easy as they seem, as Alva discovers when stories of a haunting at Liefdehuis begin to reach her. But Alva doesn’t believe in ghosts. So when the eccentric and brilliant professor Samuel Moore appears and informs her that he can get to the bottom of the mystery that surrounds Liefdehuis, she turns him down flat. She doesn’t need any more complications in her life–especially not a handsome, convention-flouting, scandal-raising one like Sam. Unfortunately, though Alva is loath to admit it, Sam, a pioneer in electric lighting and a member of the nationally-adored Moore family of scientists, is the only one who can help. Together, the two delve into the tragic secrets wreathing Alva’s new home while Sam attempts to unlock Alva’s history–and her heart.
Book Review by Tanya Kaanta
The Widow of Rose House is so much more than a gothic romance. Diana Biller paints a love story lush with mystery, ghosts, and facing one’s demons. All while having a second chance at love.
The novel sets in New York during the year 1875. Alva Webster is a widow recently returned from Paris. And the rumors are abound she is a loose woman who cheated on her husband, engaged in orgies, and some dare to say had a hand in his death. But gossips are brutal and as the reader, we know this is far from the truth.
When she returns, she hopes finally to be free from her controlling husband. She purchases a rundown mansion called Liefdehuis. Though rumors quickly spread that the house is haunted.
Enter Professor Samuel Moore. He’s a brilliant scientist and member of a much loved and respected family. While Alva does not believe in ghosts, Sam does. And he’s determined to help her figure out the mystery of Liefdehuis, if the hauntings are indeed real, and how to rid the home of the ghost so she can restore the home.
As Sam researches Alva’s home, their attraction for one another grows. And where Sam is keen to begin a relationship, Alva is trigger shy, having just left an abusive relationship. And the more Sam tries to convince Alva, the more she hides away, from her own secrets and from the love Sam has to offer. But dear readers, in the end, Sam and Alva both break through the walls of fear surrounding Alva. And what I love so much about this novel is the how the consent between the two is so beautifully written. How attune Sam is to Alva and her past. Recognizing there are pieces he doesn’t understand but needs to respect. And their physical and emotional relationship is built on trust and complete support. Sam’s a lovely hero and one I hope many men emulate.
In a nutshell, if you’re in the mood for a moving, well-written, gothic-feeling romance, The Widow of Rose House is for you. It’s got mystery, paranormal activity, a hero who fights for the woman he loves without smothering, and a heroine who faces her fears, which allows her to eventually move on. I definitely recommend and can see why it’s one of the anticipated romances of 2019 for BookPage.
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