I received a complimentary ARC of this book from Netgalley but all opinions provided are my own.
Let’s turn a negative into a positive.
When your 20-month-old wakes you up by shrieking from his bed “momMY, momMY, momMY” before 7 am on a Sunday, you have the opportunity to work on a blog post that you might not have posted that day.
Similarly, when you buy a huge home with the intent of renovating it and using that renovation as an example in your book about home interior design, and then you discover that the house you purchased for said project is haunted, you have the opportunity to befriend, be-lust, and maybe more an absent-minded, brilliant, strapping scientist who happens to be interested in ghosts.
The second example is one that the scandalous widow Alva Webster finds herself reluctantly embracing in Diana Biller’s fantastic The Widow of Rose House. This book has everything I could have wanted: an enticing ghost story, a courageous widow-heroine who’s wary of relationships given her history with her husband and parents, and a wonderfully irrepressible hero, an inventor named Samuel Moore who delights in Alva’s prickliness and is determined to protect her from the challenges that beset her…including the aforementioned ghost.
It’s the dynamics between Alva and Samuel that make this book unputadownable. Besides having searing chemistry—and really, it’s amazing—these leads are also so funny together. When others might be repelled by Alva’s reserved manner, her occasional eye-rolling, or even the sexual rumors that dog her, Samuel's enchanted; when other partners might be annoyed by Samuel’s frequent daydreams of possible inventions, his seemingly endless joie de vivre, his fairly uncomplicated past, Alva’s drawn in, bemused by the inventor who can turn from dreamy-eyed to physically intimidating in an instant. (If I sound a little in love, it’s because I am.)
Add to this the fact that their relationship is based on mutual respect, and well, it’s the kind of relationship anyone would want in a ghost story/romance...or real life. Wouldn’t you agree?
And all of this is set in a place and time—New York, 1875—that Biller imbues with atmosphere and mystery. It’s deliciously creepy-crawl-y with a ghost who can and does scare the bejeezus out of people, and yet the exchanges between Alva and Samuel, the way they are together, make the book unexpectedly lighthearted at times. Happy.
I don’t know how to tell you any plainer that The Widow of Rose House is wonderful, it’s particularly perfect for fall, and you will love it and want more.
Content Warning: mental and physical abuse.
Give me that HEA, please.
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