Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
Violet lives with her abusive, eccentric mother, who is currently making a living performing fraudulent seances for the wealthy. Lying isn’t pleasant, but it beats living a life of hard labor. Fooling people into seeing ghosts has made Violet a bit cynical when it comes to the “spiritualist” movement so popular in Victorian England. However, when her mom gets asked to a country estate to use her “gifts”, Violet is surprised to find that while her mother’s gifts are fake, she might actually be a medium herself. A ghost appears to her and she finds herself wrapped up in a murder mystery that may just end up making her meet her own end.
I wanted to love this book. The cover is gorgeous. I love historical young adult fiction. I enjoy a good mystery and it’s been awhile since I’ve read one. Alyxandra Harvey’s “Haunting Violet” should have been the perfect storm. Ms. Harvey’s writing style is very interesting, but it made it a bit difficult to fully immerse myself in the story. It’s all through Violet’s eyes, so it is first person, but in the past tense. It was neat, but a bit difficult to read. The Victorian elements were beautiful though. I loved her descriptions of the countryside and the gowns. I want to go there with Violet! I also really enjoyed Elizabeth, Violet’s best friend. She was bright, bubbly and determined. Every time they interacted, she stole the show. She just had so much light and personality. I’d love to read a story just about her! The remainder of the characters were rather dull in comparison. Some of that is to be expected in a historical piece with a large cast, but I didn’t even like our heroine. There just wasn’t much to her other than she could see ghosts and she was extraordinarily beautiful. Her interactions with her love interests were rather dull as well. This book is truly all about the mystery, so if you’re looking for historical romance, this isn’t for you. The mystery elements are well done though and Ms. Harvey keeps you guessing up until the very exciting ending.
Unfortunately, the unique writing style, flat characters, and slow moving plot kept it from creeping any higher than a 3 star book for me. However, if you’re a fan of mysteries and historical fiction, it’s still worth checking out. There aren’t many books like it out there and while I had trouble connecting to the story, many readers seem to really enjoy it. I’d love to hear what your thoughts are!
“Haunting Violet” by Alyxandra Harvey was published in June of 2011 by Bloomsbury. I received a finished copy from the publisher for review.