Title: The Widow of Pale Harbor
Author: Hester Fox
Genre: Domestic suspense, historical, gothic
Imprint: Graydon House
On-sale date: September 17, 2019
Format & pricing: Trade paperback (16.99 U.S.)
From the author of the buzzed-about THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL comes an atmospheric follow-up novel set in historic New England, about a minister who takes a position in a small Maine town plagued by strange occurances that resemble the stories of Edgar Allan Poe, and the woman–rumored to be a witch and a murderer–presumed to be behind them.
Maine, 1846. Gideon Stone is desperate to escape the ghosts that haunt him in Massachusetts after his wife’s death, so he moves to Pale Harbor, Maine, where there is a vacancy for a new minister. Gideon and his late wife had always dreamed of building their own church, and Pale Harbor is the perfect opportunity.
But not all is as it seems in the sleepy town of Pale Harbor. Strange, unsettling things have been happening, and the townspeople know that only one person can be responsible: Sophronia Carver, a widow who lives with a spinster maid in the decaying Castle Carver on the edge of town. Sophronia is a recluse, rumored to be a witch who killed her husband.
When Gideon meets her, he knows the charming, beautiful woman cannot be guilty of anything. Together, Gideon and Sophronia realize that the mysterious events have one thing in common: they all contain an element from the wildly popular stories of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe. And when the events escalate to murder, Gideon and Sophronia must find the real killer, before it’s too late for them both.
The Widow of Pale Harbor was the perfect atmospherically creepy read to start the fall season right!
I jumped at the chance to read this one because I enjoyed Ms Fox’s first effort, The Witch of Willow Hall so much, and I am happy to report it did not disappoint. Once again we have a spooky atmosphere rife with eerie goings-on, many specifically aimed at the misunderstood heroine, Sophy Carter, the widow of Pale Harbor. Both she and Gabriel, the hero, have some heavy duty pasts they need to work through, tasks made doubly difficult by the fact that bodies are actually starting to pile up.
I loved the coastal Maine setting (note to self: visit Castle Tucker next time we’re in Maine!) and the way Poe’s stories played into the plot (I often forget just how many stories he wrote, and really need to make a point read some of his less popular ones); both helped to add to the overall feel of the story. The romance was a nice addition, though at times it felt like it distracted them a bit more from the danger at hand than it really should have.
Just the title of Hester Fox‘s next book, The Orphan of Cemetery Hill, has me eager to see what she has in store for us next!
Rating: 4 stars / A-
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.