Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Secrets of Colchester Hall by Sophie Barnes

As one of six possible candidates vying for Viscount Sterling's hand, Lady Angelica has been invited to stay at his grand manor for a weeklong house party. But an unpleasant feeling lurks within Colchester Hall, and while Angelica tries to explain the chill creeping up behind her as merely a draft, she can't shake the feeling that something disturbing might be at play.


When Sterling decides she's the woman he wants, will Angelica accept her new home and the sinister secrets she fears it might hold, or will she give up on true love because of something she might be imagining?

Publisher: Author |Genre: Gothic Romance | Source: Purchase | Rating: 3.5

In need of a wife, Sterling invited a dozen eligible young ladies—and their chaperones—to stay at his estate for a fortnight in hopes he finds one of them suitable to marry. When Angelica catches his eye, she’s not thrilled at first but he soon wins her over but there’s the tiny matter of something haunting the halls of Colchester Hall. Sterling and Angelica must figure out if something from his past is trying to tear them apart.

This was a fast, fun, slightly gothic Regency mystery with hints of the Bachelor. While it had its moments of ghosties and things that go bump in the night, this one was missing that atmospheric feeling that gothic novels have. Still, it made for a solid, quick read.

I thought the bachelor aspect—where Sterling set up random dates and group outings—made for a fun adventure and let their personalities come through in a short time. The mystery aspect, while easy to figure out, was well fleshed out. Of course, because this was a novella, the romance while not insta-love was still a bit faster than normal but didn’t come across as too rushed.

My only problem with this one was the ending—the setup of the book had a nice pace and was interesting/eventful but the ending just fell a bit flat. I guess I wanted a bit more.

Overall, this was a nice little novella but I think this would have benefitted from being a full-length book. Everything in this book was tied up nicely but I feel like it could have been explored more and some of the aspects like the gothic atmosphere could have brought out more. Still, I did have fun with this one and think other will enjoy it as well. 


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