Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Since Harvey's Drake Chronicles is one of the better recent vampire series, I was interested to see how she did in another genre. This is still within the paranormal continuum, but it's historical fiction and Spiritualism, not modern vampires. And it's not bad.
Violet's mother is a Spiritualist, holding seances and "reuniting" the living and the dead. Of course it's all a hoax and the tricks she uses are described with some loathing by Violet (but if you've ever wondered, it's interesting to learn how the "show" happened). They, along with Colin (the 'houseboy') and Marjorie (the 'maid') are invited to Lord Jasper's estate for a ball and reading, which is an opportunity for Violet to meet a potential mate (of course, he and his family can't be too picky about her background) and for mother to find future patrons.
Things are going well until Violet realizes that she can see ghosts. Worse, the ghost that keeps popping up the most is the recently dead twin sister of Tabitha, who lives on the estate next door. Rowena drowned, we're told, but Violet learns that she was actually murdered. Of course, being one of those far-from-retiring girls, Violet decides to solve the mystery of who murdered Rowena.
The book combines the seance/spiritualism and mystery solving with relative ease. There's some romance, and of course Violet's mother isn't happy that Violet actually can see and communicate with the departed. I didn't always believe the dialog, as it seemed a little too modern (I base that on my readings of Dickins and other real Victorian writers). But that's a minor quibble. I'd even be interested to see this as a mystery series!
ARC provided by author.
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