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September 12, 2019

The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox ~ a Review

by MK French



In 1846, Gabriel Stone leaves Massachusetts after the death of his wife and moves to Maine. He becomes the minister for the town of Pale Harbor, and there are a number of odd occurrences within the sleepy little town. The townsfolk claim they're all caused by Sophronia Carver, who lives in the eerie Castle Carver with her maid. They claim she's a witch and had killed her husband, but it's soon clear that the incidents are inspired by Edgar Allan Poe tales. If Gabriel doesn't discover the truth, Pale Harbor might become one of Poe's stories.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

September 2019; Graydon House; 978-1525834264
audio, ebook, print (352); Gothic romance
Hester Fox has training in museum collections maintenance, and that shows over the course of her novels. Her other novel, The Witch of Willow Hall (read my review), takes place in a similar era, with focus on herbs and seeing ghosts as the witchcraft. This novel focuses more on mystery, romance, and the friendship that develops, as well as the stories of Edgar Allan Poe. The "witchiness" of Sophronia is less that she conjures demons and more than the townsfolk have never liked her and are too eager to ascribe their superstitions to her. At first, I thought that the people had confused Sophronia for Helen, the lady's maid that is older, always severely dressed and often spends time in her stillroom. It isn't because of that but would have made a lot of sense.

Gabriel and Sophronia are drawn to each other immediately and push each other out of their comfort zones. The romance here is more believable to me than in The Witch of Willow Hall, but still feels rushed. It seems more like physical attraction and simply clicking while together; those aspects are very well written. When they declare their love for each other, it feels a little awkward while reading it. The mystery aspect of the novel, as well as the red herrings sprinkled throughout, is very well done and certainly drew me further and further into the book. When we reach the conclusion, I was definitely satisfied with it and felt sorry for some of the characters.

Buy The Widow of Pale Harbor at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

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