Skip to main content

The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox: A Book Review

The Widow of Pale Harbor
Author: Hestor Fox
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Publisher: Graydon House
Release Date:  September 17, 2019
Pages: 352
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review. 
Synopsis: A town gripped by fear. A woman accused of witchcraft. Who can save Pale Harbor from itself?

    Maine, 1846. Gabriel Stone is desperate to escape the ghosts that haunt him in Massachusetts after his wife’s death, so he moves to Maine, taking a position as a minister in the remote village of Pale Harbor.

    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 with a spinster maid in the eerie 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 twisted person inspired by the wildly popular stories of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe. And Gabriel must find answers, or Pale Harbor will suffer a fate worthy of Poe’s darkest tales.

    Hester Fox comes to writing from a background in the museum field as a collections maintenance technician. This job has taken her from historic houses to fine art museums, where she has the privilege of cleaning and caring for collections that range from paintings by old masters to ancient artifacts to early-American furniture. She is a keen painter and has a master’s degree in historical archaeology, as well as a background in medieval studies and art history. Hester lives outside Boston with her husband.

    My Review: The author of The Witch of Willow Hall has recently penned another gothic love story. Gabriel arrives in Pale Harbor as their new minister. He immediately hears malicious rumors about the mysterious Sophronia Carter murdering her husband and practicing witchcraft. When he visits her for the first time, he discovers that she is not what the rumors say and quickly falls in love with her.

     Sophronia Carter is a courageous heroine. Because she is ostracized by the whole town, she normally stays in her castle. After she meets Gabriel, Sophronia begins to take a risk and begins to attend social functions to the dismay of the town’s residents. Therefore, Sophronia is an admirable and independent character because she does not let criticism define her life. Throughout the novel, Sophronia makes her own choices and slowly gains self-confidence. I also like Sophronia’s intelligence and her love of philosophy and literature. 

     On the other hand, Gabriel is a hard character for me to like. He is a minister, yet he rarely interacts with his parishioners. He barely attends any of their dinner invitations or mingles with them. He also does not seem like he cares about his job. He constantly neglects his duties for Sophronia. Therefore, he portrays a very unconvincing preacher. The characters seems to insinuate that he was made to live and breathe only for Sophronia. Thus, Gabriel is a character that disappoints me because he lacks character development. He simply serves as a role for Sophronia’s love interest.

    Overall, this novel is full of betrayal, redemption, and courage. As for the characters, Helen is the most fascinating. She is very enigmatic, and I love unraveling her secrets. The setting is the best aspect of the book. It features a gloomy castle which evokes an eerie atmosphere. Yet, I am very unsatisfied with how there was very little witchcraft in the The Widow of Pale Harbor. The synopsis promises that there would be some magical elements to it. However, the fantasy elements only appear in a few pages, you can easily miss them if you are not paying attention to the story. I am also disappointed with the underwhelming romance and the predictable mystery. Still, The Widow of Pale Harbor is a light and fast-paced read to spend on a rainy night. I recommend it for fans of Victoria Holt, Simone St. James, and Laura Purcell.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Seven Sisters (The Seven Sisters #1) by Lucinda Riley: A Book Review

The Seven Sisters (The Seven Sisters #1) Author: Lucinda Riley Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance Publisher: Atria Release Date: 2015 Pages: 463 Source: My State Public Library Synopsis: Maia D’Apliese and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home, “Atlantis”—a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva—having been told that their beloved father, who adopted them all as babies, has died. Each of them is handed a tantalizing clue to her true heritage—a clue which takes Maia across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Once there, she begins to put together the pieces of her story and its beginnings. Eighty years earlier in Rio’s Belle Epoque of the 1920s, Izabela Bonifacio’s father has aspirations for his daughter to marry into the aristocracy. Meanwhile, architect Heitor da Silva Costa is devising plans for an enormous statue, to be called Christ the Redeemer, and will soon travel to Paris to find the right sculptor to

My Favorite Books of 2021

Looking back at the year 2021, it has been a very hard year especially with the pandemic. Reading a good book is what helps me get through the most difficult times. While I did not read as much this year as I usually do, I still found some gems that a worth a re-read. These books drew me into the past and for a while whisked me away from the realities of 2021. This is the list of my favorite books of the year. Boudica has always been one of my favorite historical figures of the year. I even wrote a history article which you can find here . I can say without a doubt that Melanie Karsak did justice to Boudica's early life. It was  a gripping historical read with raw emotions! I look forward to the next books in the series to see how Queen Boudica is portrayed! Queen Esther's story has always been one of my favorite book in the Bible . When my favorite Christian author writes one of my favorite stories, it becomes a sweet treat! I loved everything about The Star of Persia ! The m

Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts: A Book Review

Finding Dorothy Author: Elizabeth Letts Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Ballantine Books Release Date: February 12, 2019 Pages: 352 Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: Hollywood, 1938: As soon as she learns that M-G-M is adapting her late husband’s masterpiece for the screen, seventy-seven-year-old Maud Gage Baum sets about trying to finagle her way onto the set. Nineteen years after Frank’s passing, Maud is the only person who can help the producers stay true to the spirit of the book—because she’s the only one left who knows its secrets.     But the moment she hears Judy Garland rehearsing the first notes of “Over the Rainbow,” Maud recognizes the yearning that defined her own life story, from her youth as a suffragette’s daughter to her coming of age as one of the first women in the Ivy League, from her blossoming romance with Frank to the hardscrabble prairie years that inspired The Wonderful Wizard of Oz . Judy reminds Maud of a