An enchanting blend of Victorian gothic romance, romantic comedy, and ghost story from the author of the Daphne du Maurier Award-winning With This Curse!
The year is 1873, and Sybil Ingram has come to a crossroads. Once she was the toast of the London stage, but now that she's 28 years old - very well, nearly 30 - her draw isn't what it used to be, and her theater troupe is foundering. When her trusted mentor asks her to take the blame for his financial misdeeds, Sybil sees no choice but to retire from the life she loves and move to America to marry New York City hotel magnate Alcott Lammle. But her path to happiness is cut short when Lammle dies suddenly - and in financial ruin.
Widowed, nearly penniless, and unable to return to England, the determined diva sets out to stake a claim on Brooke House, an eccentric neo-Gothic manor in the wilds of the Hudson River Valley. She soon finds, however, that a ghostly presence wants her gone. Even worse, her claim is challenged by the most insolent, temperamental, maddeningly gorgeous man she's ever met: Roderick Brooke, a once-famous former violinist whose career ended in a dark scandal.
Soon it's a battle of wills as Sybil matches wits - and trades barbs - with Roderick, finding herself increasingly drawn to him despite her growing suspicion that there is a connection between him and the entity that haunts Brooke House. But an even greater threat arises in the form of the mysterious, powerful queen of local society, Mrs. Lavinia Dove. For reasons that Sybil can't imagine, Mrs. Dove is determined to oust Sybil from her sphere...and the lengths to which she will go are chilling indeed.
By turns mysterious and moving, sparkling and spooky, Nocturne for a Widow follows a spirited heroine through adventures in life, love, and death. From the colorful theatrical world of late-Victorian London to the American wilderness, Sybil's travels will test her mettle - and her heart.
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A comic gothic mystery
"Nocturne for a Widow" is a gothic romance by Amanda DeWees following the footsteps of her Curse series. In this book, Sybil Ingram leaves the Victorian stages in London to marry an American admirer and begin a new life in New Your City. Of course, all her plans go sour and she finds herself in a haunted house disputing its ownership with her stepson, besides dealing with colorful neighbors and a possible ghost. The main female character had actually appeared briefly in “With this Curse” as Clara’s actress employer, and it was a nice nod to her previous books. The atmosphere of this book, however, is a bit lighter and funnier – but without stepping out of the gothic genre, what is quite an accomplishment. The main characters, Sybil and Roderick, are mainly responsible for that because they are strong and colorful and their relationship has a comedic flavor that blends with the mystery inherent in the story with dexterity.
I believe DeWees is really good at creating interesting characters and has a superior writing, and her stories are quite stimulating, but without giving up the details of the plot, I found the ending lacking somehow, as the conflicts and mysteries are easily resolved. Maybe it’s because this book is the beginning of a series, some of the conflicts are going to be dragged to the next one. It’s an amusing tale nevertheless, and I look forward to the next one.
I was given a copy of the audio book to review and I would recommend it to everyone who enjoys romance and the gothic genre. The narration is outstanding with an excellent range of voice and tone, greatly improving the listener experience. Elizabeth Klett has a way of bringing the characters to life, and being a first person narrative, she excelled as Sybil Ingram.
- Maggie Tuliver
Humorous Gothic Romance