Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Publication: Walker Childrens; First Edition edition (June 21, 2011)
Description: Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother's elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.
Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother's scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she's known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?
My Thoughts: This is a wonderful example of a Gothic novel for young adults. We have the beautiful and downtrodden young heroine in Violet who is her mother's unwitting accomplice in her role as a society-lauded medium. There is the poor but honest (relatively) hero in Colin who was taken in by Violet's mother to be footman/bodyguard/accomplice. The two have grown up together.
And we have villains. First, we have Violet's mother the so-called Celeste Willoughby, noted psychic and social climber. We have Sir Jasper who has invited them to his country home to hold a series or seances. And we have any number of other suspects.
Suspects to what, you might ask? Well, after years of helping her mother arrange fake encounters with ghosts, suddenly Violet has begun to see ghosts. The most persistent is Rowena who was a neighbor of Sir Jasper's who died of drowning at age 15 a year before Sir Jasper's house party. Rowena is constantly appearing to Violet (and scaring her regularly) as she tries to direct Violet to the one who murdered her and to encourage Violet to protect her twin Tabitha.
Violet and her friend Elizabeth, who is an Earl's daughter and very at home in the upper class lifestyle, work together to try to track down the clues and find the murderer. Meanwhile, Violet's mother is trying to encourage a rich young man to offer for Violet. Violet is somewhat reconciled to the match until her relationship with Colin heats up.
Before this one ends we have numerous scandals and even a few murder attempts. The story was exciting as we worked along with Violet trying to figure out who the murderer was. This was an exciting and entertaining novel that can introduce young adults to the Gothic romance genre. The characters were well-drawn and engaging and the story was the kind that keeps the reader turning the pages to find out what happens next.
If I could have found a finishing school for ghosts I would have forced her to attend. She might have been an earl's daughter while she lived, but as a dead girl, she had ghastly manners. And I was going to tell her so, just as soon as I figured out how not to choke on my own terrified heart.I bought this one at Amazon. You can get your copy here.