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Haunting Violet Paperback – 4 Jul 2011
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Praise for My Love Lies Bleeding:
'Harvey builds an engaging world of vampire cultures balanced with a smart mix of darkness and humor' (Publishers Weekly)
'Witty, sly, and never disappointing . . . Fun, funny, and a relief from Twilight wannabes, this first instalment in the Drake Chronicles has lots to offer for savvy readers and gives vampire addicts a nice twist on their usual fare' (Booklist)
Praise for Haunting Violet:
'I loved this ghostly romp through Victorian high society, from the author of the vampiric Drake Chronicles. Plenty of romance and a sexy, sassy heroine' (Fiona Noble, The Bookseller)
'Strong female characters, great period detail and plenty of ghostly goings on' (The Bookseller)
A stand-alone title from the popular author of the Drake Chronicles, Alyxandra HarveySee all Product description
Top customer reviews
At first the tone is light - likeable Violet irrepressible and accident prone. Gradually the mood darkens, with horrific episodes - she grateful for protection from Colin, her companion since childhood.
An enjoyable read, relying rather a lot on contrivances. Some readers may lose patience with ghost Rowena. Why all the messing around? She knows who killed her. Why not just say? Seances, fraudulent or not, allow an ideal opportunity.
Especially appealing is the developing relationship between Violet and Colin, he once prone to much teasing and practical jokes. Friend Elizabeth is also fun. To be honest, I was not over-impressed by the supernatural aspects, but the murder mystery intrigued. Also most interesting were details of the tricks used in fake seances.
Recommended to those who like a young heroine with spirit (not to mention spirits) and who enjoy a shudder or two.
I'm a big fan of Alyxandra Harvey's Vampire series, The Drake Chronicles. The second book in the series (Blood Feud) is my favourite though. I loved the historical flashbacks to the French Revolution injected between the main story, and in my review remarked that Alyx should think about writing historical when she was done with the Drakes . Little did I know she already had one in the pipeline, Haunting Violet, which went immediately on my must read list as soon as I became aware.
Haunting Violet is set in quite probably my most favourite time in history to read about, Victorian, and centres around the fascinating spiritual medium world, which was extremely popular then. So already I'm sold on this story. And it doesn't disappoint at all; Evocative of its time, eerie and spooky, genuinely mysterious and with that trademark Harvey wit and strong female lead - it's a winning combination.
I loved the character of Violet. Despite being bullied and used by her fraudulent and resentful single mother, she remains a strong character willing to fight back. She has a modern outlook while still fitting in with her era, which makes her both interesting and relatable. Compassionate (if at times grudgingly so to the ghost who desperately needs her help) and intelligent she rocks big time. I thought the plot between the two potential love interests was extremely well done, cringing at her mother's attempts to marry her off to a wealthy gentleman and championing the underdog. There are both very funny and touching scenes in the book, captured in a style unique to this author.
The mystery was also fantastic. What can be more thrilling than a haunted country mansion and a party of nobility and gentry with a murder suspect firmly hidden amongst them. It had a kind of Agatha Christie feel to it, as in it could have been ANY of them, and it was down to the unlikely heroine to eliminate the suspects one by one. For most of the book I didn't know who was responsible, thinking `aha' several times. And while I did guess the eventual culprit a few pages before the reveal, it was still exciting and full of danger so not at all disappointing. Violet's interactions with the ghosts she comes across range from chilling and terrifying to absolutely hilarious, so throughout the book I was either holding my breath in suspense or laughing out loud.
What I really enjoy about Alyxandra Harvey's writing is her snappy, no nonsense and to the point approach. None of her books are particularly long, generally around 300 pages. Yet she always manages to pack so much in and it never feels as if you've been short changed. Haunting Violet is no different and once again the pace gallops along at an engrossing speed with no dips of concentration or loss of interest along the way. I'd highly recommend her books to the more reluctant reader or those with a shorter attention span. Impressively, she also manages to convincingly place us in Victorian England, using authentic sounding language and behaviours without overdoing it and alienating readers by being formal and heavy.
Haunting Violet is a definite success in my eyes and a book I'm only too happy to recommend. Mingling historical settings, romance, a murder mystery and a ghost with Harvey's unique style makes it a must read for fans. I'd also recommend it to fans of Victorian historical fiction and mysteries too, in fact I can't think of many it won't appeal to.
Violet herself was great. I always like characters who love the books I love, and Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favourites! I'm not usually one for historical settings, but the nineteenth century setting of this novel provided the perfect atmosphere. I loved the parlour tricks the group used to simulate the visiting spirits, and the bitchy guests at the manor were brilliant little caricatures.
The romantic element of the book was predictable, but sweet. It was a bit of a shame that the fella's name was Colin, though. Poor dab. Much more enjoyable and dynamic was the friendship between Violet and her plump and energetic friend, Elizabeth.
I think, in a lot of ways, this was a brave book. The Victorian English setting, the old fashioned names and customs, as well as the "murder mystery" aspect of the narrative, are all things which probably should alienate a lot of younger readers. However, Harvey manages to balance these things with relatable, fairly modern characters, a healthy dose of paranormal intrigue, and a sweet romantic element.
Thoroughly enjoyable! Oh, and I love the dress the girl on the book cover is wearing. He he. Four stars!
At its heart, this is a who-dunnit, with a paranormal twist. There are some nice touches around the snobbish nature of Victorian society, and how parlour tricks were used by unscrupulous fake mediums to make money. Some of the characterisations were a bit unconvincing, however, and I felt that the relationship between Violet, and her best friend Elizabeth, could have been portrayed much better. As it was, Elizabeth came across as a one dimensional side kick.
That said, my 10 year old daughter absolutely loved this book, and was unable to put it down. It had that combination of paranormal and romance, which can really appeal to girls. So I am impressed with the ability of the book to draw her into the story.