Thursday, September 1, 2011

Book Review: Haunting Violet, Alyxandra Harvey

The Plot: Seventeen-year-old Violet knows all the tricks. She has spent years as her mother’s assistant, rigging fake séances to insure that paying customers are able to contact their loved ones. Violet hates tricking people who are already wracked with grief, but in 19th century London, a single woman with a child had very few options. And her mother thinks all of their worries are over when they are invited to a summer party to do readings for the peerage and a wealthy merchant hints that he wants to marry Violet. But then Violet starts seeing ghosts. Real ones. Now she has to solve a murder before someone else gets hurt.

As much as I’m thankful I wasn’t born then, I love novels set in the Victorian era. “Shocking displays” like addressing someone by their first name, and crime-solvers in corsets are a lot of fun. As for the whodunit of this particular book, to me, it was fairly obvious.  But that didn’t really take away from the enjoyment. Violet is a very relatable character and her feelings are easy to understand. The main ghost in this ghost story us a little over the top. I never understood why the one ghost who she tries to help constantly terrifies her, while others simply hang around until she notices them. Of course, the heroine of any Victorian novel has to fall in love with a man in the wrong class. But, in this case, instead of the wealthy landowner who would rescue her from poverty, Violet falls for one of the few people who have a worse situation than hers. Haunting Violet won’t make you sleep with the lights on or confound your inner Sherlock Holmes, but if you’re looking for a clean, fun read, I recommend this book.     

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