Friday, October 11, 2019

Blog Tour Book Review: The Widow Of Rose House by Diana Biller

Author: Diana Biller
Series: Stand-alone
Audience:  +18
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: October 8th 2019
My Rating: 4 Cups
Source: Publisher
Blurb (from Goodreads):
A young widow restores a dilapidated mansion with the assistance of a charming, eccentric genius, only to find the house is full of dangerous secrets in this effervescent Gilded Age debut novel

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.

*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of his book from St. Martin's in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

**Disclaimer: This book contains mature content. As a result, my review may contain references to content intended for mature audiences only.

Trigger Warnings: Physical and Mental Domestic Abuse

I'm finally ready for some spooky reads, and what better way to start than with this fantastic debut? I was very happy to read this book since I love stories about haunted houses and I'm always happy to read historical romances, as we already know.

I felt so bad for Alva, guys. Her reputation is dust, all because people were more inclined to believe the lies of men than they were to listen to her side of the story. Her family wants nothing to do with her, people stare and whisper behind her back wherever she goes, and I was honestly shocked by her strength to keep her head up and not show how much the entire thing affected her. I wanted to slap her parents, especially her mother, so so much. We get tiny glimpses from the start about Alva's difficult, from childhood all the way up to her marriage, and it honestly made me mad. I loved the symbol of her buying an abandoned house with the intention of redesigning it and making it be as gorgeous as it could possibly be. It felt to me like Alva was pouring her need to rebuild her life on this house and on this project, and I really enjoyed that symbol. Her PTSD is pretty brutal, and I don't think I've ever read about a female character suffering from it up until now. I thought Ms. Biller did a wonderful job describing the various triggers and how it manifested for Alva. Alva is a strong woman that went through a lot, and her courage and willingness to move on, to make a life for herself is something I really respected and loved reading about.

Samuel Moore is an absolute darling. It's been a while since I read about a true nerdy hero and I very much enjoyed it. He is the kind of person that gets distracted very easily by anything shiny - or in his case anything relating to science and the understanding of the world. I loved how interested he was in trying to make life easier by using his inventions. A funny one was an invention that supposedly helped a person tie their shoelaces faster, and he even went as far as to ask Alva about her shoe wearing habits and made calculations based on that. It was a scene that satisfied my nerdy soul, guys. But Sam is so much more than just an awkward nerdy scientist. He was a loving man, the kind of man that Alva (and any person for that matter) needed. Again the symbolism comes back to the house. The house brought these two people together, Alva trying to rebuild it, Sam trying to find the ghost or ghosts haunting it and trying to understand them and their stories.

Speaking of the ghost... There were many stories surrounding this haunted house and I loved how it went from a serial killer, to a child, to a maid, to a homeless man trying to find shelter from the cold. I really loved that aspect of the novel, and it got me in the Halloween spirit. The book itself isn't as spooky as one might imagine based on the blurb, but it's still very appropriate for this time of year.

I really liked this story. I think it's a fantastic debut and I will keep my eye out for Biller's future books.

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