I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Review: Halton Cray

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , , ,
Halton Cray (Shadows of the World #1)
by N.B. Roberts
Amazon  /  Goodreads

Plot Summary:

‘Yes, I’ve killed! I’ve killed as indiscriminately as God! And yes, I will kill again.’

‘Sometimes Death lurks after them for days, weeks, or even months, waiting for their time... Sometimes it doesn’t, and I’ve often raced that omnipresent Reaper to one portion of its work.’

When Alexandra Turner takes a job at the eerie Tudor mansion, Halton Cray, she needs all her wit and spirit to cope with the enigmatic Thom Rues. Whilst a near constant fog envelopes the estate, Alex begins questioning the bizarre things she’s seeing around him, as gossip circulates that Thom is more than just different. Determined not to let rumours influence her, Alex tries to learn who he really is, even as he provokes her with his dark sense of humour. But discovery of Thom’s terrible secret propels Alex’s life in a direction she could have never predicted.

Halton Cray is the first book in the Shadows of the World series, a contemporary paranormal romance and adventure inspired by Charlotte Bront—Ď’s Jane Eyre.


Obviously the fact that this book is inspired by Jane Eyre made me want to read it - and I have to say in one aspect this book totally honors the connection.  That aspect being the chemistry between the two leads.  While I was a bit iffy on them initially - because Thom Rues was sometimes unattractively abrasive and I really wanted Alex to stand up to him more and keep up her side of the banter - but eventually their growing romance won me over.  The story itself doesn't really bear a lot of similarity to the plot structure of Jane Eyre, but draws more on the major elements, like the dynamic and the rocky progression in the romance, a very ominous house, and a big secret, and I think because it is more of it's own story, that helped make this a very absorbing read on its own.  Especially when it came to finding out what Thom was hiding.

I don't want to reveal too much about the secret because I think it's a great surprise, and the explanation behind it was really well done.  There's a real impact in the reason why Thom and Alex are separated because it is a conflict that is very difficult to resolve.  Often with stories inspired by Jane Eyre, that reason can seem pretty weak, but that is not the case here.  However, it is resolved somewhat in this book, and probably that plot point is the one thing I had the most problems with in the story.  Because the way the problem is done away with, really stretched believability for me even though this book does dabble a bit in fantasy.  It just took me out of the story, and I had to decide to go with it, to really start enjoying the book again.

This was an absorbing read for me though, because of the atmosphere and the gradual sparks between the two main characters.  Alex is a very relatable character, and Thom is so darkly magnetic once you get to know him (which is a great reflection on the character of Rochester.)  The suspense of not knowing Thom's secret in the first half the book really carried the story for me as well, because there are so many hints and clues, but it's nearly impossible to put them all together.  The author really created something very different with Thom.  The dark atmosphere is enhanced by some really creepy scenes in this book, and in particular a great scene where Halton Cray loses power in the middle of a big storm and in the middle of a party.  Some of the guests get a little panicky, and I was really caught up in the pervasive feeling of dread and suspense in that scene.

As a Jane Eyre fan, I would recommend this book as an interesting modernized version, but with the focus more on it being a great, dark Gothic tale.  It's a little overwrought, with tons of atmosphere which is just perfect in capturing the Gothic tone.   I'm definitely looking forward to the next installment of Alex and Thom's story!

(I was asked to review this book by the author, but obtained my copy through the Amazon Prime Lending Library)

On Friday, I will be featuring an interview with the author, N.B. Roberts.  There will be some burning questions about the romance in this book as well as the author's thoughts on Jane Eyre!

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