Top positive review
on 6 August 2011
Alyxandra Harvey is one of my favourite authors. I'm a huge fan of her Drake Chronicles series so I was enormously excited a few months back when I first heard about this book. I loved the sound of the concept which was a ghostly murder mystery set in the Victorian era. I'm very pleased to say that all the anticipation paid off and `Haunting Violet' did not disappoint in the slightest. In fact I enjoyed it so much that I started it early one evening and ended up staying up half the night to finish it. Now that's the sign of a brilliant book!
The story is based around teenage heroine Violet, who is an incredibly headstrong and immensely likeable character. One of the things I always like to see in books is a strong and feisty female protagonist and this is one of the many characteristics by which Alyxandra Harvey's books are known. Even though the book is set in the Victorian era, Violet does not allow herself to be bound by the rules of society. She still believes in making her own choices and of being herself, even when her domineering mother may be trying to turn her into something she's not. This helps to create a wonderful juxtaposition between the period in which the story is set and the characters.
As the story unfolds, Violet arrives with her mother at the estate of Lord Jasper. Violet's mother is a fake spiritualist, who has made ends meet by convincing wealthy patrons that she can commune with their dearly departed friends and relatives. Things are turned on their head however, when Violet starts having strange visions and realises that she although her mother can't really see the dead...she can! This realisation, leads to the unravelling of a murder mystery which it's up to Violet to solve.
The book is ghostly and spooky and no matter how many guesses I made, I had no clue about who the murderer was until right near the very end. When the exposition came, it was well thought out and executed and also terrifically exciting. A real page turner!
`Haunting Violet' is much more than just a murder mystery though. There's also a blossoming romance between Violet and her mother's employee Colin, who she grew up with. I wish there had been more time to spend on the relationship between the two of them as it was one of my favourite bits about the book. I loved the way he was always there when Violet needed him, even without her having to ask. I have to say that I swooned a fair bit over Colin who started off as quite an unlikely hero but turned out to be the rock that Violet needed.
If you've never read anything by Alyxandra Harvey before then now is the time to start. This was a fantastic stand-alone novel that really allowed you to connect with the characters and engage with the story. Brilliantly written and tremendously thrilling, `Haunting Violet' is definitely going in my keeper pile. I loved it!