by Valentina Cano
Amazon / Goodreads
The day Anne Tinning turns seventeen, birds fall from the sky. But that's hardly the most upsetting news. She's being dismissed from the home she's served at since she was a child, and shipped off to become the newly hired parlor maid for a place she's never heard of. And when she sees the run-down, isolated house, she instantly knows why:
There's something wrong with Rosewood Manor.
Staffed with only three other servants, all gripped by icy silence and inexplicable bruises, and inhabited by a young master who is as cold as the place itself, the house is shrouded in neglect and thick with fear. Her questions are met with hushed whispers, and she soon finds herself alone in the empty halls, left to tidy and clean rooms no one visits.
As the feeling of being watched grows, she begins to realize there is something else in the house with them--some creature that stalks the frozen halls and claws at her door. A creature that seems intent on harming her.
When a fire leaves Anne trapped in the manor with its Master, she finally demands to know why. But as she forces the truth about what haunts the grounds from Lord Grey, she learns secrets she isn't prepared for. The creature is very real, and she's the only one who can help him stop it.
Now, Anne must either risk her life for the young man she's grown to admire, or abandon her post while she still can.
Review:This was a very enjoyable dark, suspenseful, Gothic tale with a very sweet romance. But it did have some flaws for me that really hurt my overall feelings for the story. Even though the romance was very sweet and served the story well - I wish it had been fleshed out more, and there was such a predictable trajectory to it that made it bland. And although the story had a Victorian feel, the dialogue and the way the characters acted sometimes didn't feel completely true to the time period. It took me out of the story sometimes, so that the story was not as immersive as I would have liked.
The mystery and the secret Lord Grey is keeping is the most interesting part of the book. Especially with how Anne helps Lord Grey overcome his difficulties. The story's pacing was sometimes a bit off for me as well, as things move pretty quickly from Anne and Grey getting to know each other, to how they figure out how to defeat the creature. I suppose it didn't really bother me as I was reading, because this is such a quick read, but reflecting back on the story - I don't think this one is as memorable as it could have been given the cool premise and the great atmosphere.
The side characters felt like filler as well, and not as important to the story. They were often separated from the main action and quickly too. The only other aspect that felt more fleshed out was the portrayal of servant life and class separation. That seemed like something that was important to the author and it was represented well in this book. Overall, I think this is an enjoyable read, but probably not very memorable once it is finished.
I received this book from the publisher or author for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review.