The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Love isn’t naïve, Alva. It’s hope, and it’s faith, and it can outlast buildings and wars and empires.”

Mrs. Alva Penrose Rensselaer Webster is notorious, scandals of orgies, affairs and what not has been pasted in the papers for more than eighteen months and her return to New York from Paris is not welcomed by the high society. But she’s no wilting flower, ready to face each and every demon in her path, Alva is determined to hold her head high and make her way in the world. Her decision to buy an aging and deteriorating mansion Liefdehuis and restore it, capture each and every stage of development for a home improvement book and publish it,is her way to gain at least a modicum of respect that she’s lost with the lies that were deliberately propagated against her.

“One minute her world was blackmail and anger and skeletons in dark, shadowed corners, and then Sam Moore walked into the room. It was as though he walked in an almost imperceptible beam of light, which rendered the terrifying ordinary, and the ordinary beautiful.”

Sam Moore is a walking beam of sunshine, the perfect antithesis to Alva’s darkness. He is an eccentric scientist interested in Liefdehuis and its haunted mysteries, wanting to conduct experiments and understand more about the spirit world. It is this wish that forces him to approach Alva but nothing prepares him for the impact of love seeing the quiet and resilient strength of Alva and her steady determination to face any hurdles in her path.

There’s nothing not to love in this wonderful and glorious writing by Diana Biller. Sam and his all-encompassing love and goodness, Alva’s wary and cautious approach to everything, her struggles and abuse, Sam’s beloved and quirky family, each of them such a gem of delight that I wish the author brings them back in a series. The Widow Of Rose House is a perfect amalgamation of everything that I love, a ghost, a haunted house, beautiful romance, lovely and witty banter between the protagonists and also a solid story about abuse suffered by women at the hands of their parents or even their better half’s. The narrative about the ghost added an excellent layer of intricate story-telling that left me teary-eyed.

Go ahead and read it, dear friends, and fall in love with Sam Moore and Alva Webster.

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A young widow restores a dilapidated mansion with the assistance of a charming, eccentric genius, only to find the house is full of dangerous secrets in this effervescent Gilded Age debut novel

It’s 1875, and Alva Webster has perfected her stiff upper lip after three years of being pilloried in the presses of two continents over fleeing her abusive husband. Now his sudden death allows her to return to New York to make a fresh start, restoring Liefdehuis, a dilapidated Hyde Park mansion, and hopefully her reputation at the same time. However, fresh starts aren’t as easy as they seem, as Alva discovers when stories of a haunting at Liefdehuis begin to reach her. But Alva doesn’t believe in ghosts. So when the eccentric and brilliant professor, Samuel Moore, appears and informs her that he can get to the bottom of the mystery that surrounds Liefdehuis, she turns him down flat. She doesn’t need any more complications in her life―especially not a handsome, convention-flouting, scandal-raising one like Sam.

Unfortunately, though Alva is loath to admit it, Sam, a pioneer in electric lighting and a member of the nationally-adored Moore family of scientists, is the only one who can help. Together, the two delve into the tragic secrets wreathing Alva’s new home while Sam attempts to unlock Alva’s history―and her heart.

Set during the Gilded Age in New York City, The Widow of Rose House is a gorgeous debut by Diana Biller, with a darkly Victorian Gothic flair and an intrepid and resilient American heroine guaranteed to delight readers.

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