Her secret will tear the town apart.
Maine, 1846. Gabriel Stone is desperate to escape the ghosts that haunt him after his wife’s death, so he takes a position as a minister in the remote village of Pale Harbour.
But not all is as it seems in the sleepy town. Strange, unsettling things have been happening, and the townspeople claim that only one person can be responsible: Sophronia Carver, a reclusive widow who lives in the decaying Castle Carver. Sophronia must be a witch, and she almost certainly killed her husband.
As the incidents escalate, one thing becomes clear: they are the work of a madman inspired by the wildly popular stories of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe. And Gabriel must find answers, or Pale Harbour will suffer a fate worthy of Poe’s darkest tales.
– My Thoughts –
A woman accused of witchcraft.
Who can save Pale Harbor from itself? “
It should come as no surprise that I loved The Widow of Pale Harbour, probably as much as I did the author’s debut The Witch of Willow Hall. It is perfect for spooky October even though it’s more on the mystery side.
Set in 1846, Pale Harbour, Maine, the story starts with a young widow Sophronia who lives with her maid/companion Helen in a daunting mansion called Castle Carver. Sophronia spends her days reading submissions for her magazine, drinking tea and taking short walks around her property.
Soon, a mysterious man called Gabriel Stone arrives in this quiet village to escape from the memories of his past. Gabriel arrives as a transcendentalist minister but he feels like a fraud. When everyone starts warning Gabriel about Sophronia, he becomes intrigued by the strong woman he sees. However, someone is not quite happy seeing Sophronia’s happiness; soon, dead things and cryptic messages start arriving at Sophronia’s doorstep. Things start to escalate from dead animal carcasses to murder where all evidence points to Sophronia as the main suspect.
If you liked The Witch of Willow Hall, then don’t waste any time picking this up. The Widow of Pale Harbour has a murder mystery and romance which combined with the setting and eery atmosphere in the book makes this a page-turner. In the beginning, the plot takes time to build up but that anticipation proves fruitful. I loved Sophronia who has been mistreated a lot but despite that, she manages to aid others in need. Gabriel is yet another favourite character -okay, yes..that might be because he’s a hunky priest- and I loved watching his and Sophronia’s relationship bloom. He doesn’t lie to Sophronia, respects her boundaries(Is it really that hard?) and even after hearing about the times he was wronged.. he didn’t bear ill will for that person. You know what? They were freaking perfect for each other. Broken in different ways and yet they were the ones who could piece each other together.
I also loved the friendship between Tom and Gabriel; Tom was a perfect addition to the plot during its darker transition. Then there’s the relationship between Helen and Sophronia.. which was complicated but very intriguing.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a gothic murder mystery/romance with a twist of Poe‘s words in it. If you’re looking for a fall read, then pick up this beauty and dive into the haunting story. Hester Fox is already on my list of auto-buy authors and I can’t wait to read her next book!
Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Also, thanks to HQ for including me in The Widow of Pale Harbour blog tour! Please take a look at the blog schedule and visit all the other lovely bloggers in this tour.
– About the Author –
Hester comes to writing from a background in museum work and historical archaeology. She loves the Gothic, the lurid, the dark…so long as the ending is a happy one. She has never seen a ghost, though she remains hopeful.
Hester lives outside of Boston with her husband and their son. Please visit Hester Fox here to learn more
Thank you for reading! Have you read Hester Fox’s debut? Or, Will you add The Widow of Pale Harbour to your TBR? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!