My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
Title: The Last Heir to Blackwood Library
Author: Hester Fox
Format: eBook (NetGalley)
Publication Date: 4/4/23
Publisher: Graydon House
Categories: Historical Fantasy, Mystery, Alchemy, Gothic
Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**
Thank you to Graydon House for giving me a chance to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review!
In post–World War I England, a young woman inherits a mysterious library and must untangle its powerful secrets…
With the stroke of a pen, twenty-three-year-old Ivy Radcliffe becomes Lady Hayworth, owner of a sprawling estate on the Yorkshire moors. Ivy has never heard of Blackwood Abbey, or of the ancient bloodline from which she’s descended. With nothing to keep her in London since losing her brother in the Great War, she warily makes her way to her new home.
The abbey is foreboding, the servants reserved and suspicious. But there is a treasure waiting behind locked doors: a magnificent library. Despite cryptic warnings from the staff, Ivy feels irresistibly drawn to its dusty shelves, where familiar works mingle with strange, esoteric texts. And she senses something else in the library too, a presence that seems to have a will of its own.
Rumors swirl in the village about the abbey’s previous owners, about ghosts and curses, and an enigmatic manuscript at the center of it all. And as events grow more sinister, it will be up to Ivy to uncover the library’s mysteries in order to reclaim her own story—before it vanishes forever.
Content Warning: holding someone against their will
I am always intrigued by books by Hester Fox, so I requested this one right away. Here is what I thought:
+ The writing is lush and engaging. I could envision Ivy going to Yorkshire to live in this haunted, old abbey. There were moments the story gave me the chills and creeps. It had all the gothic vibes I was expecting from this author.
+ I like the twist in the story because it was totally unexpected. There is a sentient, evil library – which I thought was pretty cool. I was afraid for Ivy because even I didn’t know what was going on until it was explained, but I could sympathize and feel her confusion and terror when certain things start happening to her.
+~ Ivy is an unreliable narrator which is fascinating and frustrating at the same time. By the middle of the book, I was so irritated with her decision making! There is an explanation to her behavior but you have to keep reading.
~ Though this is a quick read, there is so much information withheld from Ivy it was very frustrating. I just was wishing someone would tell her something to help her out. I just kept judging her and saying she was very naive but there is more to the story that I can’t reveal.
~ There were some parts to the story that felt disjointed. The romance didn’t quite work for me, it could have, but the way the story is written – it just didn’t work for me. And after the explanation about the Abbey’s library – everything felt rushed from then on to the end. I wish there were more creepy scenes, and more incidents with the library books!
Tropes: sentient library
Why you should read it:
- you like gothic, historical fantasy
- the atmosphere of the Abbey, the library, the writing is engaging
- Ivy is an unreliable narrator
Why you might not want to read it:
- some parts of the story is rushed, romance didn’t work for me
I’m always picking up a Hester Fox book because I know the gothic vibes will be there. I love how her writing captures a setting, in this case, Yorkshire and the Abbey. I love the creepy vibes and wish it were creepier! I enjoyed the twist in the story about the library and wish there were more instances where we got to see the library in action. The romance didn’t work for me and I do think the ending was rushed but I still found it entertaining.
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BLOG TOUR} A Lullaby for Witches by. Hester Fox | ARC Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️