I picked up this book as part of my fall reads selection for this year, banking on the synopsis for a cozy, but mysterious read. While it may not have been as dark and mysterious as I had first anticipated I was still surprised by how quickly this book went by, and its slow unravelling of its protagonist’s past. Combining romance, mystery, and a haunted house this book soared by, and started October off right for me.
The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller is primarily a Historical Romance set in 1870’s New York. Newly returned from France a young widow, Mrs. Alva Webster buys an old mansion with plans to restore it. The home though is not without its problems as rumors of it being haunted circulate around town, halting work on it, and setting a young and curious scientist upon her.
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
I’m glad I finally decided to grab this book after going back and forth for a good long while. Amazon had repeatedly recommended this one to me, and I kept clicking, then adding to my list, but never going any further. It was strange, and probably thanks to how I purchase books when online since in store is another thing altogether. I wouldn’t place this as being the next big read, but it was a great fix to a reading slump, and really entertaining.
If I had to list some of the book’s negatives they would be in lacking darkness, and perhaps focusing on the romance a little too much, which I know it’s found in the romance section, but hear me out. These two negatives kind of go hand in hand, as the two protagonists meet almost instantly, and we are given a snippet into who Alva Webster is, or at least seems to be for the public. Samuel, on the other hand seems to be an open book, most of his personality and past coming out earlier on. I started to figure out upon buying the book that my thinking this was more mystery was inaccurate when I instead found it in the Romance section (oops my bad), but as I read this it really felt like there was something we should be fearing and it just wasn’t coming across for me. We have Alva’s dark and mysterious past, but somehow even with that I think I felt more annoyed at the impact of that past than scared for her. Even the Haunted House didn’t quite give me a scary impression as we got into the figuring out of who was haunting it and why. I just kept feeling like some of this could have been played a little differently and maybe made the book a stronger read for me. In the end, the negatives were more personal and subjective than they usually were for me, so it really could just be me on this one.
The pros on the other hand for this book were what made this go by so fast. As much as the romance became the focus of the story, I really did like the pairing of Samuel and Alva, both of them figuring out each other in the early stages, and learning how to work together to solve their problems. I still feel like Samuel was a little too knight in shining armor with how he is written, but it did come in handy with Alva. It would have been nice though to see more flaws from him besides his emotions blinding him at times. The big positives that made this an easy read all around included the realistic/flowing dialogue, mystery of the past, and the stories that are woven together in the book. I think the mixing of stories was one of my favorite parts to this book as we have Alva’s past, the present, and the individual haunting the house later. In the end, they all end up feeling connected and kept me glued to the story.
If you’re looking for a great, easy read this one definitely follows the typical Romance in how easily it makes you flip the pages. This isn’t written like a fantasy/sci-fi where we’re building forever, instead you are thrown into the lives of the characters, and introduced to the main plot rather quickly. Like I said earlier, this isn’t going to be the next big literary piece, but in terms of finding a fun fall romance this one was a perfect beginning to my fall reads selections. Have you read The Widow of Rose House? What books have you gotten to read for Fall so far? Let me know in the comments below!