The Widow Of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox

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A town gripped by fear. A woman accused of witchcraft. Who can save Pale Harbor from itself?

1846. Desperate to escape the ghosts of his past, Gabriel Stone takes a position as a minister in the remote Pale Harbour, but not all is as it seems in the sleepy town.

As soon as Gabriel steps foot in town, he can’t escape the rumours about the mysterious Sophy Carver, a young widow who lives in the eerie Castle Carver: whispers that she killed her husband, mutterings that she might even be a witch.

But as strange, unsettling events escalate into murder, Gabriel finds himself falling under Sophy’s spell. As clues start to point to Sophy as the next victim, Gabriel realises he must find answers before anyone else turns up dead.

My Review

Deliciously dark and foreboding, combining history and fiction with eerie gothic atmosphere to create this brooding tale of murder and mystery.

After the death of his wife, Gabriel Stone arrives in Pale Harbour to begin life as a transcendentalism minister to the small population, and no sooner has he arrived, one of the first things he hears is of the witch who resides at Castle Carver, the widow Sophronia Carver. The locals also believe her to have killed her late husband, Nathaniel, who was owner and editor of a magazine that published up and coming authors stories as well as publishing some of the more well known authors such as Edgar Allan Poe.

After the death of her husband Sophronia has not left the grounds of Castle Carver, she has stayed in the safety of the house, contented with her work reading and selecting the submissions for the magazine that was left to her in her husbands will. She has a few staff that attend to the grounds and a young woman comes from the village once a week to help with the house, and with Helen, her live in help and friend, she is as content as can be expected for someone rumoured to be a witch, as well as a murderer. That is until strange and sinister things begin to be left on her doorstep, and then the arrival of the new minister to her door brings about a change in her life, one that is both as welcome as it is terrifying.

With characters and settings both steeped in atmosphere this is a beautifully written novel that draws inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe’s works and with it creates Hester Fox’s own masterclass in gothic historical fiction.

You can feel the tension radiating from the pages as things begin to escalate in the town of Pale Harbour, and with characters that are as believable as they are haunting, this book had me hooked from the very beginning. The pace and the prose were perfectly executed, all leading up to a conclusion that was as unexpected as it was entertaining. I absolutely loved Hester Fox’s first book The Witch Of Willow Hall, so I was really excited about reading this one, and I can safely say, I loved this one even more!

The Widow Of Pale Harbour will be published here in the UK on 17 September 2019 and is available for preorder now.

A massive thank you to the author Hester Fox, publishers HQ and NetGalley for my copy of this book in exchange for an honest and independent review.

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