Friday, August 5, 2011

Review: Haunting Violet

AUTHOR: Alyxandra Harvey
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: Walker Children's
PAGES: 352
GENRE: paranormal, mystery
OVERALL RATING: Highly recommended
SUMMARY: Violet Willoughby does not believe in ghosts. All her life, she has traveled Victorian England with her mother, assisting with fraudulent seances and swindling rich widows out of their late husbands' money. When Violet and her mother are invited to the English countryside to read at a party, Violet discovers that she can see the ghost of a murdered girl who is trying desperately to save her twin sister from the same fate.

WHAT I LIKED: Tight corsets, bustling petticoats, grimy gaslights, extravagant balls, and pouty debutantes: the faux-prudish Victorian era is perfect for Haunting Violet. Harvey creates idyllic setting where old ladies gossip about the latest scandal, social class dictates everything, and nearly everyone has something to hide. Haunting Violet would not have worked nearly as well in a modern setting.

I love the character development! Violet is smart, stubborn, sarcastic, courageous, clumsy, and loyal, and Colin and Elizabeth are believable counterparts to Violet. Violet's mother, while horrible and self-serving, is still a somewhat sympathetic character; for sixteen years, she has never abandoned Violet or given her over to an orphanage. Considering she was a young single mother with terribly limited options, it's hard to completely hate her.

The mystery of who killed Rowena reminds me a bit of that game Clue. With many suspects and many possible motives (and all of them at the same party), Violet suspects lots of different people at different times. While the true killer was not really a surprise to me, I was enthralled with the mystery of it.

Aside from the mystery of Rowena's death, Haunting Violet's multi-layered plot includes romance (!), friendship, scowling old ladies, Violet's mother's scandalous history, lots of sneaking around, and of course, the Victorian backdrop. Just awesome.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Really, I liked the entire book. A page-turner all the way through, I can easily recommend Haunting Violet to anyone who loves a good ghost story along the lines of The Sixth Sense.

  • Language: mild; I don't remember any language at all.
  • Sexuality: mild-moderate; a few passionate kisses, some flirting, Violet's mother had her out of wedlock
  • Violence: moderate; the whole story centers on a young girl's murder; some ghostly possessions
  • Drugs/Alcohol: mild; characters take laudanum (opium) both willingly and unwillingly
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We do not have it yet, but I just added it to my next order. My MS students will love this one.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let's start a conversation! All commenting on Mrs. ReaderPants is moderated and CAPTCHA-free! Please submit your comment only once--it will appear shortly.