Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Blog Tour Review: The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller

From the Back Cover:

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.

Set during the Gilded Age in New York City, The Widow of Rose House is a gorgeous debut by Diana Biller, with a darkly Victorian Gothic flair and an intrepid and resilient American heroine guaranteed to delight readers.

My Thoughts:

The Widow of Rose House was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and it did not disappoint! I'm not going to go much into plot so as not to spoil anything. I'm just going to tell you how I feel about it.

First, it's hard to believe this is a debut novel. The characters are fantastically drawn. While I may not have made the same decisions Alva did, I found her to be admirable. The poor thing tried so hard not to show vulnerability and not to rely on anyone else. To watch her seize control of her life and learn to trust again was very rewarding. You can't help but root for her happily ever after. And if you don't fall in love with Professor Sam Moore, well, there's no help for you! I certainly hope his siblings (including Henry) will be getting books of their own? Please? Pretty please? The banter among the boisterous Moore family is delightful, and I love their dynamic. They need their own books. Just sayin'. But seriously, Sam's a genius from a family of geniuses, and he's also a big old sweet potato. I love the way he thinks and the way he observes everything, including Alva, and how he can't help but want to find solutions to problems, often to humorous effect. But the story does have several very serious and tragic aspects, and it's all balanced together really well, hitting all the right notes in all the right places.

I'm very tempted to give this five stars just for the feels alone. My only real complaints are that it's a little wordy (and I found myself skimming a page here and there), and I do feel the ghost story could have been a bit more developed and played a larger role in the story. While it is the mechanism that brings Alva and Sam together, it's far into the book before they really start making any progress. The spook factor is rather tame, though surprisingly unpredictable. But when the meaning of the house's name and its purpose were revealed at the end, I shed a tear. I'm bumping it up a notch just because of my reading experience, alternating from having a goofy grin on my face to crying to needing a cold shower.

Disclaimer: This is a straight-up romance. I say that for those readers who don't like romance. I'm not one of them. I love romance and gobble it up whenever I can. It's not quite fair to the book to market it as suspense or even romantic historical fiction, as I've seen in some places, because then people who don't normally read romance end up marking the book down in their reviews. But if you love romance, this is a breath of fresh, crisp winter air. The perfect combination of humor and heavy themes and madcap genius and serious widow and ghost story and true love. So much fun!

My Rating:  4.5 Stars out of 5

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  1. Great review! I would love to win this book! Thanks for the chance :)

  2. Thanks for this captivating and fascinating historical.

  3. Awesome review. I've been curious about this one. I'm looking forward to reading it.

  4. Thanks for the great review. I have added this to my TBR list.


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