Monday, October 14, 2019

The Widow of Rose House - Historical Fiction Review

Goodreads:  The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller

Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  It's 1875, and Alva Webster has perfected her stiff upper lip after three years of being pilloried in the presses of two continents over fleeing her abusive husband. Now his sudden death allows her to return to New York to make a fresh start, restoring Liefdehuis, a dilapidated Hyde Park mansion, and hopefully her reputation at the same time. However, fresh starts aren't as easy as they seem, as Alva discovers when stories of a haunting at Liefdehuis begin to reach her. But Alva doesn't believe in ghosts. So when the eccentric and brilliant professor, Samuel Moore, appears and informs her that he can get to the bottom of the mystery that surrounds Liefdehuis, she turns him down flat. She doesn't need any more complications in her life―especially not a handsome, convention-flouting, scandal-raising one like Sam.
Unfortunately, though Alva is loath to admit it, Sam, a pioneer in electric lighting and a member of the nationally-adored Moore family of scientists, is the only one who can help. Together, the two delve into the tragic secrets wreathing Alva's new home while Sam attempts to unlock Alva's history―and her heart.

Set during the Gilded Age in New York City, The Widow of Rose House is a gorgeous debut by Diana Biller, with a darkly Victorian Gothic flair and an intrepid and resilient American heroine guaranteed to delight readers.

Genre: Fiction - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I love a good ghost story book and this sounded interesting.

My Impression:  Alva Webster has a past with a capital P.  There's nothing she can do to hide it but she's hoping to capitalize on it to her benefit by restoring a house and writing a book about it.  The only problem is that the house has a past that is just as lurid and scandalous as hers is.  Enter Professor Sam Moore of a rather distinguished family of scientists who is fascinated by ghosts. 

Alva has had a rough time of it and has built more then a few walls and a very stiff upper lip to cope with it.  Sam with his enthusiasm and charm might just be her opposite but right from the start they are attracted to each other and seem to thoroughly enjoy each other's company. 

I was surprised to read this was a debut book for this author.  She has such a clean straightforward style while still managing to give a good dash of humor and atmosphere.  Sam is so incredibly likable that I couldn't help but smile when he showed up on the page and I loved Alva even though at times my heart broke for her.  The pacing of this was nice and solid - never rushed but I never felt like it was dragging.  This was a nice book to sink into and escape from the work for a bit.  I wanted to know what was going to happen with the house, between Alva and Sam and with all the other plot threads that ran through this book.  This was a wonderful spooky (but not scary) historical fiction with great characters and a touch of romance. 

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  This is an author I'll be looking out for from now on.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Definitely!  If you enjoy slightly spooky fiction then this would be a great choice.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. That sounds great - a old house and secrets! Count me in.
    Hope you are doing well. There has been a lot going on with you these past few weeks.

  2. Sounds like a good one. Love the cover, especially b/c of her outfit.

  3. I have a feeling that I would really like this one. I will have to check it out. Great review, Katherine!

  4. I've been semi attracted by this one somewhere else, maybe I saw it on NG. However reading your review makes me even more attracted to it.

  5. This one sounds intriguing - thank you for sharing, Katherine:)

  6. Sounds excellent! This one is already on my TBR list and I can't wait to read it. Glad you enjoyed!