Thursday, March 24, 2011

Review: Haunting Violet

Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers

release date: June 21st, 2011

hardcover, 352 pages

intended audience: Young adult


source: Around the World ARC Tours

description: Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother's elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.

Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother's scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she's known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?

Review: I tend to love stories set in the Victorian era,... the propriety, the gowns and corsets (though I am grateful the world of women's fashion has long since left corsets behind!), the birth of the seance and a craze over mediums. This one was no exception, I really enjoyed it.

I loved the characters in this book. Violet was a great protagonist, a proper young lady in spite of her position in society but with a great sense of wit, mostly heard through her inner dialogue. Possibly a little on the shy side outwardly, having constantly lived in the shadow of a very demanding, showy mother. It was easy to relate to her and to feel compassion for her and cheer her on. I adored her best friend, Elizabeth. They're closeness and sense of fun was just the perfect touch to lighten the darkness of this ghostly story. Colin was easily my favorite character: humble but brave, funny but passionate...and could sneak a kiss on a girl like nobody's business! Loved him. Oh, and Mr. Rochester...loved him, too, but you'll have to read the book to find out who he is! :)

I loved reading about all the tricks and wool-pulling tactics Violet's mother used to perform her fake seances. You could easily see how much research the author put in to make it as accurate as possible. Funny thing was, Violet begins to actually see real ghosts. The ghost of a drowned girl comes to Violet, insistent that she solve her murder. That's where the story takes quite a creepy turn! It did get off to kind of slow start for me, took about 50 or 60 pages to really pick up. Then there were some moments of brilliance, but also a few moments that left me scratching my head. There were a few times when I was left wondering, "Why did that person react that way? Was it just to make him look like a suspect?" But despite the slow start and a few confusing quirks, this turned into a great, entertaining murder mystery with a nice mix of spookiness, romance, and few good laughs.

Visit Alyxandra Harvey's site here.

Get a sneak peek of Haunting Violet here!

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  1. I've enjoyed Alyxandra Harvey's Drake Chronicles books so I've had my eye on Haunting Violet. I'm glad to see that you like it even though it has a slow start and some flaws. I like that there are more YA historicals and the paranormal element will hopefully attract a greater number of readers. Thanks for your review!

  2. Like you, I ADORE the Victorian era! It's one of my favorite historical periods!

    I've heard a lot of great things about Alyxandra Harvey from people who have read her Drake Chronicles series. I've yet to read anything by her, but I hope to get around to it soon!

    Stopped by from the Comment Exchange Program!