Title: The Witch of Willow Hall
Author: Hester Fox
Source: ARC (Nabbed at YALC, thanks HQYA!)
Years after the Salem witch trials one witch remains. She just doesn’t know it… yet.
Growing up Lydia Montrose knew she was descended from the legendary witches of Salem but was warned to never show the world what she could do and so slowly forgot her legacy. But Willow Hall has awoken something inside her…
1821: Having fled family scandal in Boston Willow Hall seems an idyllic refuge from the world, especially when Lydia meets the previous owner of the house, John Barrett.
But a subtle menace haunts the grounds of Willow Hall, with strange voices and ghostly apparitions in the night, calling to Lydia’s secret inheritance and leading to a greater tragedy than she could ever imagine.
Can Lydia confront her inner witch and harness her powers or is it too late to save herself and her family from the deadly fate of Willow Hall?
I was one of the very lucky few to nab a copy of this at YALC in July. There were 20-25 copies available and I managed to just get into the queue before it got cut off. I had heard little about this book prior to YALC and I’ve seen barely any talk about it in the community but I think I like that. Sometimes it’s really nice to read a book with little to no hype surrounding it with only the synopsis to go on.
Trigger Warning for this book: Incest
The book follows Lydia as she adjusts to the move to Willow Hall following a scandal that forced her family to move away from Boston. This book was a little creepy at times. It had ghosts and witchcraft, making it a great read for Halloween. I found it especially creepy when the ghosts came up as I’m not the biggest fan of ghosts despite not really believing in them.
I thought Lydia was a good character to follow. She was mostly unaware of her abilities, knowing she had a strange gift but not knowing exactly what it was. I felt that I could sympathise with her at times and I understood her frustrations. I liked her younger sister but Lydia’s older sibling, Catherine frustrated me. Her sister acted as though she was all righteous and there was definitely some sibling rivalry between her and Lydia. It did make sense later on in the book once things were revealed by the rivalry still remained.
There was the addition of two males characters, including the mysterious Mr John Barrett who Lydia almost immediately takes a fancy too. He is a good character but he’s also wary.
There was a hint of mystery in this book which went along with the Witchcraft and Ghostly sightings. The mystery being the truth of Willow Hall and what happened on the site that it stands on. I was really intrigued to find out why Willow Hall was haunted but all my questions were answered in this book.
Marriage was a prominent theme on this book with Catherine trying to find a suitor and Lydia’s hand is trying to be won again by an annoying side character. It should be noted that there is the mention of incest in this book.
I had this book on my Halloween Reads list having only read a little bit of it at that point, but I’m glad that I added it on to my list now as I think it’s a great debut that’s perfect for Halloween. I would most definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a creepy read this Autumn.