The Widow of Rose House Book Review
Diana Biller’s debut novel is a gorgeous piece of prose, with a decidedly dark Victorian Gothic flair and an intrepid and resilient American heroine guaranteed to delight readers everywhere.
About the Widow of Rose House
It’s 1875, and New York’s Gilded Age is in full swing. After fleeing her abusive husband, Alva Webster spent three years being pilloried in the newspapers of two continents. Now he’s dead, and she’s returned to New York to start over, restoring Liefdehuis, a dilapidated Hyde Park mansion for her new home decoration book and hopefully her reputation in the process. So when the eccentric and brilliant Professor Samuel Moore appears, threatening her fresh start with stories of a haunting at her house,
she refuses to give him access. Alva doesn’t believe in ghosts.
A pioneer in electric lighting and a member of the nationally-adored Moore family of scientists, Sam’s latest obsession is ghosts. When he learns about a house with a surprising number of ghost stories, he’s desperate to convince its beautiful owner to let him study it. Can he find his way into her house and her heart?
The Widow of Rose House is a fantastic five out five stars. I loved the characters, the plot and how different this story was.
First we have the amazing Alva, a strong independent woman who has gone through so much. She grew up in a privileged lifestyle that many would have desired but it had its own downfall – two parents who did not care nor show affection for her. They were cold and mean to her, which has had disastrous long term effects on her ability to trust others and build relationships. On top of this, she married a man she thought loved her but instead abused her both emotionally and physically. When she tried to escape, he made her life (for lack of better words), hell. You would think this would break her, but Alva keeps on fighting back and coming back stronger. She buys a rumored haunted house and lands a promising book deal. While financially she is making it, emotionally she is suffering.
Enter in Professor Samuel, who is everything she has always wanted in her own life. He comes from a family full of love and support, he has two parents that love each other very much and he has never felt the pain of disappointment in the people who should love him the most. He is also a brilliant scientist who has an obsession with the paranormal. In this case, he would do anything to study the house that Alva has purchased. What he doesn’t expect is Alva and his strong feelings for her.
I loved the way the plot develops in this story – I wasn’t expecting a ghost story (I don’t want to give too much away but I thought it would play out to be a trick not a real ghost) tied in with a beautiful story of forgiveness, healing and learning to trust. Alva wants to love and be loved, she just doesn’t know how to. Samuel wants nothing more then to show her how special she is. You keep rooting for the pair to be able to make it but never really know if they can. Is Alva too damaged from her past experiences in order to love Samuel the way he deserves? Can Samuel learn to ignore the pain when she pushes away and keep fighting for the two of them? Will they be able to survive the home that Alva purchased? Will her past continue to blackmail her and keep her hostage?
On a side note – I loved how she explored how women were treated during this time period. They had very little rights, were used as property, physically and mentally abused with the majority of society turning a blind eye. Even her own deceased husband and ex-brother in law did not even know their own Mother’s name (this is probably extreme but to them she was just someone who came from a good family name and married into an even better family name). I think this is a good reminder for all readers of how far we have come and why we need to continue to fight for women’s rights.
This was an excellent book from start to finish that I could not put down. I loved every aspect of this well written novel.
You can purchase a copy of this book here.
About the Author
Diana Biller lives in Los Angeles with her husband their very good dog. The Widow of Rose House is her debut nvoel.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.