My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Why wouldn’t I want to read this book, just look at that beautiful cover image! That just there provides the perfect gothic feel and there I go, sucked into the story of a young woman who has to fight against all odds and come up with trumps.
Vaughan Springthorpe is the youngest of five sisters and believes herself to be the least beautiful amongst them and compounded by an afflicted lame leg has no chance to ever be the gentle lady wooed by any suitors. Her only hope is to put to good use the education she has been given by her lawyer father. Traveling to Morton Abbey to deal with the sale of the estate was a new beginning for her dream towards independence but the price to be paid for the job may be her sanity.
This is a well-written spooky thriller with uncanny voices and frightening incidents causing the practical and sensible Vaughan to question her beliefs in ghosts and spirits. The damp and moldy Morton Abbey doesn’t help matters and the claustrophobic atmosphere adds to the element of chill and suspense. Aggravating the problems is the highly volatile Nick Spencer whose madman tactics take a toll on Vaughan’s peace of mind. The author’s characterization of Vaughan is fantastic, she is someone that I could root for, her approach to all things inside Morton Abbey and even the nearby village Netherton was completely realistic. She uses all her rational reasonings to explain away the mysterious incidents happening around her and I loved her angry responses to Nick thus showing the passionate woman hidden inside the pragmatic soul. The romance that develops slowly is also excellently done as one can feel the gradual awakening of the love in Vaughan’s mind.
The mysteries surrounding the estate were along the expected lines but I loved how the author has added multiple layers to the story of Nick’s past and his animosity with his brother Sir Peter. The Curse of Morton Abbey takes the reader to a time in history where women lawyers had no part to play in society so it was exciting to see Vaughan establishing herself in the field of law.
But the highlight factor of the novel I would say is the writing by the author Clarissa Harwood. It is not flowery with a prosaic language that sometimes becomes boring, but one still feels the vibe of a classical narrative as each segment of the story unravels as in books like Jane Eyre. The pacing of the story is not quick like a thriller but the author successfully lures the reader in with different stands of the story weaving together a complex mystery that follows the dysfunctional Spencer family.
The spooky season is just around the corner and for all fans of gothic suspense, the Curse of Morton Abbey is one to curl up on the sofa with a fire burning in the fireplace.☔☔☔☔☔
Many thanks to Book Sirens, and the author for a chance to read and review this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.
Jane Eyre meets The Secret Garden in this gothic tale set in 1897 Yorkshire.
Solicitor Vaughan Springthorpe knows perfectly well that Sir Peter Spencer’s offer of employment seems too good to be true: he hires her sight unseen and offers a suspiciously large salary to prepare the sale of his crumbling Yorkshire estate. But few people in late-Victorian England will entrust their legal affairs to a young woman, and Vaughan is desperate to prove herself. Despite her mother’s pleas to stay in London and the odd warnings from locals near the manor, Vaughan forges ahead to begin her work at Morton Abbey.
But someone at the manor is determined to drive Vaughan away. An intruder tries to enter her bedroom at night, gunshots go off outside her window, and an eerie crying echoes from the uninhabited second floor. Even Netherton, the nearest village, seems strange: the picturesque houses and perfect-looking families are haunted by dark secrets connected to Morton Abbey itself.
To complete her work and solve the mystery at the heart of Morton, Vaughan needs the help of Joe Dixon, the handsome gardener, and Nicholas Spencer, her employer’s irascible invalid brother. But with her questions diverted, her progress thwarted, and her sleep disrupted by the crying, Vaughan doesn’t know if she will escape Morton Abbey with her sanity intact or be cursed by the secrets within.
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