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 Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki: A Book Review

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post Author: Allison Pataki Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Ballantine Release Date: February 15, 2022 Pages: 381 Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: Mrs. Post, the President and First Lady are here to see you. . . . So begins another average evening for Marjorie Merriweather Post. Presidents have come and gone, but she has hosted them all. Growing up in the modest farmlands of Battle Creek, Michigan, Marjorie was inspired by a few simple rules: always think for yourself, never take success for granted, and work hard—even when deemed American royalty, even while covered in imperial diamonds. Marjorie had an insatiable drive to live and love and to give more than she got. From crawling through Moscow warehouses to rescue the Tsar’s treasures to outrunning the Nazis in London, from serving the homeless of the Great Depression to entertaining Roosevelts, Kennedys, and Hollywood’s biggest stars, Marjorie Merriweath

Tituba: The Intentional Witch of Salem by Dave Tamanini: A Book Review

Tituba: The Intentional Witch of Salem Author: Dave Tamanini Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy Publisher: David F Tamanini Release Date: 2020 Pages: 317 Source: Publisher/Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: If you love historical fiction... come revisit Salem's terror in this provocative new telling of enslaved Tituba, no longer a caricature, but a fully human woman with magical powers.      Come! Let Tituba cast its spell with a unique and tantalizing tale that explores the wild emotions driving accusations of witchcraft in 1692.      A Promise and a Hope      Enslaved Tituba has been faithful to a promise to her dying mama in Africa. She has appeased the masters from Barbados to Boston to Salem and waited for her magic.      A Mother’s Agony      When Tituba’s only son dies trying to escape slavery, her life changes forever. After enduring the crush only a mother can feel, she rages and turns to vengeance.      Witches Tear into Salem      The villagers see wi

Blog Tour: Marie Antoinette’s World: Intrigue, Infidelity, And Adultery In Versailles by Will Bashor

Marie Antoinette’s World: Intrigue, Infidelity, And Adultery In Versailles [history/biographical nonfiction] Release date: June 15, 2020 Postponed due to Covid-19: July 30, 2020 at Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Hardcover and ebook, 320 pages Author’s page | Goodreads SYNOPSIS Synopsis: This riveting book explores the little-known intimate life of Marie Antoinette and her milieu in a world filled with intrigue, infidelity, adultery, and sexually transmitted diseases. Will Bashor reveals the intrigue and debauchery of the Bourbon kings from Louis XIII to Louis XV, which were closely intertwined with the expansion of Versailles from a simple hunting lodge to a luxurious and intricately ordered palace. It soon became a retreat for scandalous conspiracies and rendezvous—all hidden from the public eye.       When Marie Antoinette arrived, she was quickly drawn into a true viper’s nest, encouraged by her imprudent entourage. Bashor shows that her often thoughtless, fantas