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The Widow of Rose House

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A young widow restores a dilapidated mansion with the assistance of a charming, eccentric genius, only to find the house is full of dangerous secrets in this effervescent Gilded Age debut novel It's 1875, and Alva Webster has perfected her stiff upper lip after three years of being pilloried in the presses of two continents over fleeing her abusive husband. Now his sudden A young widow restores a dilapidated mansion with the assistance of a charming, eccentric genius, only to find the house is full of dangerous secrets in this effervescent Gilded Age debut novel It's 1875, and Alva Webster has perfected her stiff upper lip after three years of being pilloried in the presses of two continents over fleeing her abusive husband. Now his sudden death allows her to return to New York to make a fresh start, restoring Liefdehuis, a dilapidated Hyde Park mansion, and hopefully her reputation at the same time. However, fresh starts aren't as easy as they seem, as Alva discovers when stories of a haunting at Liefdehuis begin to reach her. But Alva doesn't believe in ghosts. So when the eccentric and brilliant professor, Samuel Moore, appears and informs her that he can get to the bottom of the mystery that surrounds Liefdehuis, she turns him down flat. She doesn't need any more complications in her life―especially not a handsome, convention-flouting, scandal-raising one like Sam. Unfortunately, though Alva is loath to admit it, Sam, a pioneer in electric lighting and a member of the nationally-adored Moore family of scientists, is the only one who can help. Together, the two delve into the tragic secrets wreathing Alva's new home while Sam attempts to unlock Alva's history―and her heart. Set during the Gilded Age in New York City, The Widow of Rose House is a gorgeous debut by Diana Biller, with a darkly Victorian Gothic flair and an intrepid and resilient American heroine guaranteed to delight readers.


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A young widow restores a dilapidated mansion with the assistance of a charming, eccentric genius, only to find the house is full of dangerous secrets in this effervescent Gilded Age debut novel It's 1875, and Alva Webster has perfected her stiff upper lip after three years of being pilloried in the presses of two continents over fleeing her abusive husband. Now his sudden A young widow restores a dilapidated mansion with the assistance of a charming, eccentric genius, only to find the house is full of dangerous secrets in this effervescent Gilded Age debut novel It's 1875, and Alva Webster has perfected her stiff upper lip after three years of being pilloried in the presses of two continents over fleeing her abusive husband. Now his sudden death allows her to return to New York to make a fresh start, restoring Liefdehuis, a dilapidated Hyde Park mansion, and hopefully her reputation at the same time. However, fresh starts aren't as easy as they seem, as Alva discovers when stories of a haunting at Liefdehuis begin to reach her. But Alva doesn't believe in ghosts. So when the eccentric and brilliant professor, Samuel Moore, appears and informs her that he can get to the bottom of the mystery that surrounds Liefdehuis, she turns him down flat. She doesn't need any more complications in her life―especially not a handsome, convention-flouting, scandal-raising one like Sam. Unfortunately, though Alva is loath to admit it, Sam, a pioneer in electric lighting and a member of the nationally-adored Moore family of scientists, is the only one who can help. Together, the two delve into the tragic secrets wreathing Alva's new home while Sam attempts to unlock Alva's history―and her heart. Set during the Gilded Age in New York City, The Widow of Rose House is a gorgeous debut by Diana Biller, with a darkly Victorian Gothic flair and an intrepid and resilient American heroine guaranteed to delight readers.

30 review for The Widow of Rose House

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jonetta

    Alva Webster returns to New York from Paris in the midst of false scandalous rumors after fleeing her abusive husband three years before. Now that her husband is dead, Alva wants to move on with her life and purchases Liefdehuis, a neglected mansion in Hyde Park. Her plan is to restore it and write a book about the process. Stories of it being haunted circulate quickly, getting the attention of famed inventor Samuel Moore who wants to research it, scientifically of course. When he sees Alva for Alva Webster returns to New York from Paris in the midst of false scandalous rumors after fleeing her abusive husband three years before. Now that her husband is dead, Alva wants to move on with her life and purchases Liefdehuis, a neglected mansion in Hyde Park. Her plan is to restore it and write a book about the process. Stories of it being haunted circulate quickly, getting the attention of famed inventor Samuel Moore who wants to research it, scientifically of course. When he sees Alva for the first time, he’s as equally captivated by her as he is her house. I thought I was getting a creepy, spooky story about ghosts and got a creepy, spooky story about a ghost, a house AND two utterly delightful characters in Alva and Sam. She’s darkness and resilience and he’s a magnificent bright light and energy. Together they make the most fascinating combination with some of the best, most clever and witty banter I’ve experienced in some time. I had this categorized as historical fiction and the 1875 setting makes that completely appropriate but it’s also a paranormal with its ghostly elements, a mystery as the identity of the apparition is explored and a combustible romance as Alva and Sam will rank as a favorite couple of fiction. This turned out to be much more than I’d anticipated when I agreed to read this story. I read it in one day, not wanting to put it down. Alva’s story is tragic and Sam’s was rather glorious, coming from the most delightful family of inventors. Their presence gave me insight into this free-spirited man whose quirky nature just made him more endearing. But these two fit so perfectly because their imperfections balanced so beautifully. The ghost story is not your ordinary tale either, with an angle I hadn’t foreseen. It’s hard to believe this is a debut novel as it’s so well constructed with outstanding characterizations. It turned out to be a wonderful reading experience and my hope is we haven’t seen the last of Alva & Sam. This needs to be a series...seriously! 4.5 stars Posted on Blue Mood Café (Thanks to St. Martin’s Griffin for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    "The haunted mansion is the perfect home: spacious, well-furnished, and it entertains your guests for you." (Walt Disney World) The Widow of Rose House is a colorfully wrapped package that touches on moments of the Gilded Age, the draw of romance, the weight of shifty crime, and the eerie stream of the paranormal. Diana Biller will see to it that you are entertained throughout. Alva Webster sits rigidly at a table in the famous Delmonico's restaurant in New York City. She knows that there is an "The haunted mansion is the perfect home: spacious, well-furnished, and it entertains your guests for you." (Walt Disney World) The Widow of Rose House is a colorfully wrapped package that touches on moments of the Gilded Age, the draw of romance, the weight of shifty crime, and the eerie stream of the paranormal. Diana Biller will see to it that you are entertained throughout. Alva Webster sits rigidly at a table in the famous Delmonico's restaurant in New York City. She knows that there is an abundance of eyes upon her every move. Although she is meeting a publisher to discuss a book proposition on home decor, Alva knows that she, herself, is the title of every topic discussed at every table. A recent widow living previously in Europe, Alva has decided to come back to New York. But what has followed her here are horrendous rumors of her questionable lifestyle abroad. Scandalous, you might say, even though it is nothing but lies. But lies are like little demons jumping from one pointed tongue to another here in New York City. Alva has recently bought a property in the Hyde Park section of the city. Rumors abound that this said mansion is haunted by its previous owners. Even the workmen that Alva has hired for the renovation left their tools and materials behind in their haste to escape the creepiness from within its walls. Soon Alva is contacted by Professor Sam Moore who wishes to proceed with paranormal investigations in the mansion. He comes from a very quirky family of delightful scientists. In time, Sam and Alva combine their efforts into finding out what is at the core of the mansion even though Alva has a real flesh and blood enemy pursuing her. I enjoyed The Widow of Rose House and would rate it at 3.5 kicked up to a 4 star review. Although a historical fiction novel, the relationship between Sam and Alva has a more modern day vibe as you'll find out. I also would have liked to have experienced more creepy inner explorations of the mansion throughout the book......unexplained voices and chilling experiences in the build-up and less romance. But that's just me. Still a worthy read that will grab your attention. I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to St. Martin's Press/Griffin and to Diana Biller for the opportunity.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Katie B

    3.5 stars It's not very often I will read something involving ghosts but the synopsis sounded interesting so I rolled the dice and took a chance on this one. Thankfully my gamble paid off and I thought this was a pretty cute historical romance. Always good to step out of your reading comfort zone from time to time. It's 1875 and you aren't going to find many people who have a kind word to say about Alva Webster. Even though she had been living in Europe, gossip about her and her marriage still 3.5 stars It's not very often I will read something involving ghosts but the synopsis sounded interesting so I rolled the dice and took a chance on this one. Thankfully my gamble paid off and I thought this was a pretty cute historical romance. Always good to step out of your reading comfort zone from time to time. It's 1875 and you aren't going to find many people who have a kind word to say about Alva Webster. Even though she had been living in Europe, gossip about her and her marriage still found its way across the Atlantic Ocean. After the death of her abusive husband, she has returned to New York with the hopes of restoring, Liefdehuis, a mansion in desperate need of repairs. However, rumor has it ghosts haunt the home and not many people will even go near it. Professor Samuel Moore is highly interested in checking the place out for research purposes but Alva is wary of the idea and him. Perhaps he can charm his way into her heart. So while ghosts are an aspect of the story, it wasn't the only thing going on, In my opinion the romance was the strength of the story as Alva and Samuel had good chemistry together and I loved their banter back and forth. I don't normally read many historical fiction books taking place in the 1800s, and I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed reading about this time period. My only slight criticism about the book is I felt the dialogue at times was too modern. A few times during romantic scenes, I would find myself questioning if certain words or phrases were realistic sounding for that time period. I could be wrong though and it's not like it truly affected my overall enjoyment of the story. I think there's a little something for every type of reader with this book. If you like romances, the 1800s time period, and/or ghosts, consider checking this one out as it's a cute and enjoyable read! Thank you to St. Martin's for sending me an advance reader's copy! I was not obligated to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    The Widow of Rose House is a very enjoyable and satisfying read. It is a story of second chances and redemption. This book is a mix of different genres and multiple themes - suspense, mystery, paranormal, romance, abuse, bullying, and mental illness. Above all else, The Widow of a Rose House is an engaging romance novel with a paranormal twist. Most importantly, it has an unusual take on haunting and ghosts, which I found clever and captivating. This is not your usual ghost story by any means! The Widow of Rose House is a very enjoyable and satisfying read. It is a story of second chances and redemption. This book is a mix of different genres and multiple themes - suspense, mystery, paranormal, romance, abuse, bullying, and mental illness. Above all else, The Widow of a Rose House is an engaging romance novel with a paranormal twist. Most importantly, it has an unusual take on haunting and ghosts, which I found clever and captivating. This is not your usual ghost story by any means! Our heroine Alva is a strong woman with a traumatic past who is determined to rely only on herself. While Alva is a complex character, she is richly developed and very likable. She has just bought an old house that is rumored to be haunted. At the same time, she is trying to overcome her past and her distrust of other people. Alva is on a journey of self-discovery to reclaim her life and her happiness. A perfect foil and a delightful character himself is Sam Moore, a member of a family of scientists and inventors. His family is highly appealing and I would love to see more stories about them, especially Maggie, who loves French fashion and explosions as well as Henry who is an honorary family member since the age of 10 and Sam’s BFF. Sam is the epitome of the absent-minded professor, interested in inventing anything that will make life easier, such as a boot lacer-upper. He is quirky, endearing and downright lovable, determined to win over Alva. It also helps that Sam is very interested in studying ghosts. There is a lot of witty banter between Alva and Sam that will put a smile on your face. You cannot help but root for this adorable couple. They make for an engaging and clever team that works well together in discovering and identifying the ghost. In fact, I could totally see a series of books featuring them as ghost hunters, solving the mysteries and freeing the ghost(s). As a debut novel, Ms. Biller has quickly made a name for herself with The Widow of Rose House and I look forward to reading her next story. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press - St. Martin’s Griffin and NetGalley for an advance reader. Opt in exchange for my honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mei

    Another excellent debut! :) I loved the way the author incorporated a ghost story with HR!!! She did it in a way that avoided the gothic feel of the usual ghost stories! What was really good here is the way the MCs act, think and think! I loved the unusual hero, Sam - a scientist to the core who gets distracted by scientific pursuits in the most unexcpected moments! LOL He was such a breath of fresh air! In a romancelandia populated by arrogant alpha dukes, earls etc. he is a bright star! He Another excellent debut! :) I loved the way the author incorporated a ghost story with HR!!! She did it in a way that avoided the gothic feel of the usual ghost stories! What was really good here is the way the MCs act, think and think! I loved the unusual hero, Sam - a scientist to the core who gets distracted by scientific pursuits in the most unexcpected moments! LOL He was such a breath of fresh air! In a romancelandia populated by arrogant alpha dukes, earls etc. he is a bright star! He realized that he's fallen in love with Alva rather early in the story and he didn't question the feeling; he accepted it and rejoiced! Ahhh, I want more heroes like Sam!!! Alva was another thing entirely! She's terrified and rightly so! After the disastrous marriage, the cruel husband and his deplorable family, the filth she was heaped upon without being guilty of anything, she has every reason to be cautious and even terrified! I loved Sam even more because he as intelligent enough to understand Alva and support her in a very subtle way! He kept her unbalanced with his outrageous statements, the way he jumped from one argument to another completly different! It way wonderful!!! The ghost story only adds to the enjoyment! It was heartbreaking how the poor Rose was treated! If I was treated like that my ghost would have been much more cruel and vindictive!!! But even without the ghost the story is wonderful! The secondary characters are fantastic as well! Sam's family and his friend/adopted brother Henry were wonderful too! Sam's family is hilarious: like a mad-scientist dream! They act and speak in such a wonderfully innocently intelligent way that I wanted to hug them all! I loved it very, very much and I'll be looking forward to more books by this author!

  6. 5 out of 5

    June Hur

    It's almost Halloween and as I've been telling everyone, this spooky historical romance will go well with pumpkin spice latte and maybe some autumn scented candles. It's a book that will make you laugh so hard, cry as hard, and also make you hold your breath in suspense. THE WIDOW OF ROSE HOUSE is among one of the best book I've read in YEARS, and this is saying a lot coming from me - an incredibly picky reader. I can't tell you how many books I've stopped reading after the first chapter because It's almost Halloween and as I've been telling everyone, this spooky historical romance will go well with pumpkin spice latte and maybe some autumn scented candles. It's a book that will make you laugh so hard, cry as hard, and also make you hold your breath in suspense. THE WIDOW OF ROSE HOUSE is among one of the best book I've read in YEARS, and this is saying a lot coming from me - an incredibly picky reader. I can't tell you how many books I've stopped reading after the first chapter because the prose wasn't my style, or because the tone and atmosphere of the book wasn't my cup of tea. But THIS book - it has everything I love. It's a book I'd even pick up to reread every autumn. Maybe I'll make it a tradition...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Blackjack

    4.5 (A-) I stopped just short of giving this a full five stars, but mainly for some minor issues that niggled at me. Otherwise, this is a pretty fabulous debut in a year when debut novels are getting tons of high marks. The plot is straightforward: Alva Webster is a widow returned to her hometown after lurid, scandalous reports surfaced that she enjoyed a wild party life in Paris when she abandoned her abusive marriage. After her husband dies in an unseemly robbery late one night at a casino, Alva 4.5 (A-) I stopped just short of giving this a full five stars, but mainly for some minor issues that niggled at me. Otherwise, this is a pretty fabulous debut in a year when debut novels are getting tons of high marks. The plot is straightforward: Alva Webster is a widow returned to her hometown after lurid, scandalous reports surfaced that she enjoyed a wild party life in Paris when she abandoned her abusive marriage. After her husband dies in an unseemly robbery late one night at a casino, Alva avoids being fingered for his murder but does not escape the taint of her husband's false accusations. Professor Samuel Moore and his eccentric and famous family just happen to be living temporarily in the same town as Alva, and despite warnings of caution from well-meaning friends, nothing is going to stop Sam from trying to cozy up to the beautiful widow who captures his attention the moment he lays eyes on her. In the middle of their relationship is a ghost story and a haunted house, and while the hauntings were entertaining, I found that the yin and yang romance between a reserved and grumpy woman and a gregarious and relentlessly cheerful man the big draw of this book. Grumpy heroes are a thing in romances, but so few authors are able to pull off the grumpy heroine for all sorts of culturally sexist views that women must be nurturing and "likeable." Alva is neither of those things, but I found her profoundly appealing and a heart-wrenching mixture of vulnerable and determined. Sam is a bit more complicated; on the surface he is absurdly optimistic and absent-minded to a fault. However, he sees through Alva's defenses and surmises the abuse she has suffered long before she's willing to share her experiences with him. For some reason I also had difficulty picturing him as a sexual man early in the novel, but when things heat up between them, he's as sexy as any hero I've encountered. He is the epitome of kindness and gentleness - until he's not and is willing to fight enemies for Alva's protection. He's an erudite engineering professor completely absorbed in his world of experimentation, but his ability to banter and joke around is parallel to none. In fact, Alva's and Sam's banter is maybe the best feature of the book. I might pick Sam as my favorite hero of the year. The haunting of Rose House is intriguing, but for readers of horror or even paranormal stories, it's light on the chills. The ghost story has a satisfying and deeply feminist center to it though that intersects nicely with Alva's own life story. Minor deductions for some slow pacing in the second half and a feeling that at times the romance and the haunting are not integrated in the second half as well as they could be. I was a little surprised too by how tidily Alva and Sam resolve some thorny issues between them in the conclusion. Truly wonderful epilogue though! This is a book filled with terrific secondary characters, including the charismatic Henry (fingers crossed Biller decides to create a romance for him). I found this book a deeply romantic page turner and highly recommend it!

  8. 4 out of 5

    ♥Rachel♥

    Alva’s back in New York after the death of her estranged husband, partly to salvage her reputation from the rumors and gossip written after their separation, and to revamp Liefdehuis, an old Hyde Park house. She plans to publish the process of renovation as well as interior design ideas for the middle classes, a new and emerging market. But the ghost stories surrounding Liefdehuis threaten to derail her plans, so she has no choice but to investigate and hopefully dispel. Here’s where Sam Moore, Alva’s back in New York after the death of her estranged husband, partly to salvage her reputation from the rumors and gossip written after their separation, and to revamp Liefdehuis, an old Hyde Park house. She plans to publish the process of renovation as well as interior design ideas for the middle classes, a new and emerging market. But the ghost stories surrounding Liefdehuis threaten to derail her plans, so she has no choice but to investigate and hopefully dispel. Here’s where Sam Moore, the famous inventor comes in, much to Alva’s dismay. I loved The Widow of Rose House! Parts were a bit scary, (hello, ghost story!) and tragic, but a large part of the story was so much fun, thanks to Samuel Moore and his wonderfully quirky family! Sam’s eccentric, sexy, and handsome, and Alva’s reactions to him were a complete delight! Alva tried to resist Sam’s charm, but he was impossible to put off and completely irresistible. Loved the banter and chemistry between them! I adored Alva! Enduring everything she did, from her unloving family to her abusive husband (now dead, thank goodness) while still retaining her spirit showed a strength I admired. If anyone deserved a happy ending it was Alva. Dealing with the possibility of the ghost on top of salvaging her reputation proves to be a daunting challenge, but one Alva’s determined to take on. The Widow of Rose House was a captivating story, a wonderful debut! While the story wraps up nicely, I’d love to have more stories centering on the Moore siblings, Henry included! A copy was kindly provided by St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Leone-campbell

    Infamous widow Alva Webster decides to buy a run-down house in 1800’s New York. Having had to endure horrible rumors during her marriage and with her husband now dead, she decides it’s time to start over with a brand new life so hopefully her notoriety will wane. She has already gotten herself a book deal, unheard of during the time for a woman, in which she will chronicle the restoration and decoration of the house. But when her contractor and his laborers refuse to continue their work on the Infamous widow Alva Webster decides to buy a run-down house in 1800’s New York. Having had to endure horrible rumors during her marriage and with her husband now dead, she decides it’s time to start over with a brand new life so hopefully her notoriety will wane. She has already gotten herself a book deal, unheard of during the time for a woman, in which she will chronicle the restoration and decoration of the house. But when her contractor and his laborers refuse to continue their work on the house because of ghosts she sees her new life begin to crumble. Enter Dr. Samuel Moore, a well-known scientist who takes a liking to not only finding the ghosts but to our lovely widow Alva. Moore, who is a bit eccentric, comes from a family of scientists and doctors and must convince Alva that he can scientifically figure out how to talk to the ghosts, hence send them on their merry way. Alva, for her part is done with love, and doesn’t particularly believe in ghosts. Having just come out of a horrible marriage she does not want anything to do with the doctor romantically, although she must admit he is adorable. Sam has other ideas. Although unconventional himself, he realizes Alva is his soul-mate. Now he just has to persuade her of this realization! But, while falling in love, they must also try and solve the mystery as to who is haunting the house and why. The Widow of Rose House is an adorably romantic funny ghost story which although takes place during the 1800’s has themes that ring true even in today’s world. I would love to see more adventures of Alva and Sam! Thank you so much to #NetGalley #St.Martin’sGriffin #DianaBiller #TheWidowofRoseHouse for the advanced copy. The book will be out October 8.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    5++++ stars What a fabulous read!!!! Such a fascinating Historical Romance with a built in ghost story. I totally loved and adored this book. It was captivating, well written with a wonderfully thought out and unique storyline . Sam, what a hero!!! Smart, humble, funny and charming. Alva, so fierce - a survivor, bent but not broken. I really admired her "character". This is a new favorite for me, it was also a very memorable read. One of the best books that I have read this year!!! I will 5++++ stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ What a fabulous read!!!! Such a fascinating Historical Romance with a built in ghost story. I totally loved and adored this book. It was captivating, well written with a wonderfully thought out and unique storyline . Sam, what a hero!!! Smart, humble, funny and charming. Alva, so fierce - a survivor, bent but not broken. I really admired her "character". This is a new favorite for me, it was also a very memorable read. One of the best books that I have read this year!!! I will definitely be adding it to my future rereads pile. ARC received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. And hugs and kisses to "Natasha is a Book Junkie" for turning me onto this sublime read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Natasha is a Book Junkie

    “Love isn’t naïve, Alva. It’s hope, and it’s faith, and it can outlast buildings and wars and empires.” I’m forever on the lookout for stories that are not only well-written and deeply romantic, but that are also fresh, textured, unique and wonderfully quirky in their own way, so when I stumble upon a book that ‘ticks’ ALL the boxes—a book that is as quietly unsettling as it is tender, as emotionally gripping as it is witty—I get all giddy inside. A ghost-hunting adventure and sweeping “Love isn’t naïve, Alva. It’s hope, and it’s faith, and it can outlast buildings and wars and empires.” I’m forever on the lookout for stories that are not only well-written and deeply romantic, but that are also fresh, textured, unique and wonderfully quirky in their own way, so when I stumble upon a book that ‘ticks’ ALL the boxes—a book that is as quietly unsettling as it is tender, as emotionally gripping as it is witty—I get all giddy inside. A ghost-hunting adventure and sweeping romance in equal parts, and peppered with moments of breath-holding tension, it amazes me that this Gilded Age gem of a story is a debut effort. It’s a moving, evocative, beautifully told and, at times, chilling read, and even when I desperately wanted to speed ahead to find out what happens in the end, I made myself savour every exquisite last word of it. Continue reading this review... Follow me on Facebook! | Follow me on Twitter!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa Palombo

    Get ready for this delicious, swoony, spooky, completely engrossing historical novel. I couldn't put it down! My blurb is below: "Get ready to devour Diana Biller's magnificent debut novel in one sitting. THE WIDOW OF ROSE HOUSE boasts memorable and vibrant characters, a delicious romance, great period detail, and a hint of the supernatural. Alva and Sam spring off the page and to life, so that I now feel as though they are friends of mine. This novel is a treat not to be missed!"

  13. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    5 STARS “You can have more,” he said softly. “It’s all out there. But you have to reach out and take it.” Excellent debut. I absolutely loved these characters. A delightful mystery/romance. Fantastic love scenes, even though they were few and far between. Sam, Sam, Sam... loved this guy. Sweet but fierce. I even loved Alva, through her moments of self sacrifice. I will look forward to reading more from this author .

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sheila

    3 stars--I liked the book. "Historical romance with ghosts" seems to be a thriving subgenre! This one is very heavy on the romance. The writing is assured for a debut author, and the banter is fun. I enjoyed the characters, and the ghost (though not featured in the book as much as I'd like--I'm more of a gothic reader than a romance reader) had a unique method of haunting. However, if you're reading for historical accuracy, this isn't the book for you. Characters spoke and acted very modern. It 3 stars--I liked the book. "Historical romance with ghosts" seems to be a thriving subgenre! This one is very heavy on the romance. The writing is assured for a debut author, and the banter is fun. I enjoyed the characters, and the ghost (though not featured in the book as much as I'd like--I'm more of a gothic reader than a romance reader) had a unique method of haunting. However, if you're reading for historical accuracy, this isn't the book for you. Characters spoke and acted very modern. It took me out of the story several times. Still, I think romance readers will find a lot to enjoy here. I received this review copy from the publisher on NetGalley. Thanks for the opportunity to read and review; I appreciate it!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Elena

    Alva left Europe for New York hoping for a fresh start, but the rumors that her abusive husband spread about her supposedly salacious conduct only intensified after his death and have followed her across the pond. To prove to the world and, more importantly, to herself that she has something worthwhile to contribute to the world, she decides to write a book about interior design, which she loves and is good at. To this end, she purchases Rose House, a long-abandoned manor that she hopes to use Alva left Europe for New York hoping for a fresh start, but the rumors that her abusive husband spread about her supposedly salacious conduct only intensified after his death and have followed her across the pond. To prove to the world and, more importantly, to herself that she has something worthwhile to contribute to the world, she decides to write a book about interior design, which she loves and is good at. To this end, she purchases Rose House, a long-abandoned manor that she hopes to use as a case study. The only problem? The exasperating, pervasive rumors that the house is haunted that keep scaring off Alva's contractors. Enter famous inventor and mad scientist Samuel Moore! Sam believes any question can be answered using SCIENCE, and he has been searching out ghost stories for years in the hopes of learning whether ghosts exist and, if so, studying the ghosts and learning as much as possible about their nature. He has hypotheses to test, and he wants into the infamously haunted Rose House badly. The fact that its new owner is an extremely attractive widow? That might also have something to do with his interest...but if he can't have the widow (and she doesn't seem inclined), he'll take the ghosts. Alva doesn't believe in ghosts, but she finally allows Sam to conduct some experiments to soothe her workers' concerns despite (not because of, definitely not) the annoying attraction she feels sparking between them. But Rose House may be more dangerous than either of them expect. This absolutely delicious gothic romance is the best debut romance I've read in years. And I read a lot of romance. I fell in love with Alva and Sam, so different but so well suited to one another. I ached for Alva and her determination to recover from the trauma of her marriage, and I couldn't help but smile at Sam, a definite beta hero (we need more of those!) who is a little naive but mostly just absolutely determined to live his best life and ignore anything and anyone that doesn't further that goal. And the absent-minded scientist is one of my favorite historical romance tropes. You know what else I love in historical romance? Excellent consent practices. And this book had one of the best love scenes I've ever read when it comes to consent and also trauma. (view spoiler)[Alva's abusive husband left her with some pretty hefty emotional damage and PTSD. Sam doesn't know the full story the first time the two of them have sex, and something he does very innocently in the heat of the moment shoves her straight into a flashback. She decides to just push through it, but Sam notices and stops. Mid-coitus. They go from as hot and heavy as it gets to zero instantly. He checks in. She spends some time recovering. Then they start again. They go slow, and Sam avoids the trigger now that he knows what it is. They end up having a fully satisfactory sexual experience despite taking a little detour. It was so perfect. I don't think I've ever cheered so hard at a sex scene. It was just absolutely perfect character development integrated into a pretty steamy scene. Masterful writing. I big heart it. (hide spoiler)] Add in some suspense and a strong dose of spookiness, and this book was amazing. St. Martin's Griffin better get on the phone with Diana Biller and ask for some more books pronto, because I need to read her next book ASAP and it doesn't look like any others are scheduled yet. GET ON IT. Triggers: (view spoiler)[Domestic abuse (physical and emotional), strangulation, mental institution & related abuse (hide spoiler)] Note: Thanks to St. Martin's Griffin and Edelweiss for providing a digital ARC.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Joanna Loves Reading

    I rarely gravitate towards books with a paranormal twist but decided to give this one a try, and it turned out be an entertaining read with a heart-warming romance. Central to this story is the renovation of a dilapidated mansion, which is what drew me to the book, going through a renovation myself. I think Alva, the heroine, has it worse with a terrifying haunting. Alva is an enduring heroine, who has overcome personal challenges and scandals, without familiar support, to achieve a dream and I rarely gravitate towards books with a paranormal twist but decided to give this one a try, and it turned out be an entertaining read with a heart-warming romance. Central to this story is the renovation of a dilapidated mansion, which is what drew me to the book, going through a renovation myself. I think Alva, the heroine, has it worse with a terrifying haunting. Alva is an enduring heroine, who has overcome personal challenges and scandals, without familiar support, to achieve a dream and future for herself. There was much to admire about Alva’s character. The hero was probably my favorite character. Professor Sam Moore is a thinker, tinkerer and engineer and fits the “absent-minded professor” label. I liked how he was depicted — easily distracted temporarily but doggedly determined in solving a problem. In this case the problem or problems were Alva’s ghost and the mystery behind Alva. He was a supportive and patient hero, who brightened the scene whenever he entered. This was a debut but did not feel like a debut. The writing flowed and felt like it was from a seasoned author. The story was complete and characters well drawn. The paranormal aspect blended well into the story without being overwhelming. I look to reading more by Biller and hopefully it will be a continuation of the charming Moore family. *I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mari

    4.5 stars. I'm not sure if I'm in a really generous mood or if I'm having great luck picking books, but I loved this? Why you may not love this: I think the biggest complaints I saw boiled down to two things. 1- People wanted or expected more of a ghost story. This is spooky-light and truly the ghosts are the background and the reason that our two main characters, Sam and Alva, are brought together. They aren't the star of the show. 2- Some of the details or speech felt modern and took people out 4.5 stars. I'm not sure if I'm in a really generous mood or if I'm having great luck picking books, but I loved this? Why you may not love this: I think the biggest complaints I saw boiled down to two things. 1- People wanted or expected more of a ghost story. This is spooky-light and truly the ghosts are the background and the reason that our two main characters, Sam and Alva, are brought together. They aren't the star of the show. 2- Some of the details or speech felt modern and took people out of the story. < b>Why I loved this: 1- I'm a scaredy cat and love supernatural elements in the background and romance at the foreground and 2- I don't care about/didn't notice the modernity. Typically, when I'm reading historical romance, it's Regency romance. It was great to be set a bit away from that and in the States. I also loved the premise of this book and the weird twist it gave to a widow trying to make it on her own story. It gave her an interior decorating job and a ghost! Honestly, we love to see it. Sam and Alva's dynamic was fantastic. Sam is right up my alley as a love interest: a big mountain man who is squishy inside, kind, considerate, respectful of Alva and her boundaries, but with a will of his own. His happiness and warmth and the extra background of his high energy family are the perfect opposite for Alva. I appreciated that this was a story of learning how to trust post a failed (and abusive) relationship. My heart went out to Alva and her unnamed but very present PTSD. She's the character who holds herself a little more aloof, but you still invest feelings in her because you understand from her story why she behaves the way she does. These two were great and their story left me with a little fiction hangover. This was a strong, entertaining debut and a new author to follow!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dorine

    THE WIDOW OF ROSE HOUSE by Diana Biller is highly recommended to those who seek the full gamut of entertainment, from love to laughter to creepy bumps in the night, with a genius cast of endearing characters. An eccentric inventor meets a lady of notorious reputation. Of course, they need to investigate her haunted house before she can remodel it. Sam is one of the most unusual heroes I’ve had the pleasure to read about. Alva is a great match because she accentuates his eccentricities, makes THE WIDOW OF ROSE HOUSE by Diana Biller is highly recommended to those who seek the full gamut of entertainment, from love to laughter to creepy bumps in the night, with a genius cast of endearing characters. An eccentric inventor meets a lady of notorious reputation. Of course, they need to investigate her haunted house before she can remodel it. Sam is one of the most unusual heroes I’ve had the pleasure to read about. Alva is a great match because she accentuates his eccentricities, makes light of them, and even adores him for them. Alva and Sam are a joy to witness on their journey to forever love. Alva never experienced any kind of love, from childhood until when this story begins. Sam is like a beacon of light to Alva – brilliantly alight with love. But as with most things in her life, Alva is convinced darkness will follow. This light and darkness parlays throughout the novel, giving this couple a different kind of cat and mouse game to play. A ghost, and other alive characters, push along the conflict between them, keeping this couple apart no matter how much they love one another. Their fight to be together is exciting and beautiful. I laughed out loud so many times while reading, especially in the beginning as Sam and Alva become acquainted. Sam’s family and friends are outrageous, love him, and add to the hilarity and insanity. I wanted Alva to end up with Sam, but I wasn’t sure it could be possible because of her past. Her trauma, plus all the rumors started by others, have made her determined to seek a solitary existence. Becoming an author is her only dream, as a means to prove and support herself. It was hard to pinpoint one specific reason this book stands out from everything else I’ve read this year. I love the volume of eccentric characters, especially Sam. I could picture his mannerisms, vividly, as I’ve known geniuses like him. His chaotic mind matches how I feel some days, flitting from one idea to another. I was thoroughly entertained, even when the funny moments were absent. Every characterization in this book is exquisite. The haunted house was meticulously depicted. The hauntings were unexpected and suspenseful. It’s such an unusual combination to have hilarious characters mixed with unsavory villains, melded with paranormal activity in a vivid historical setting, that I felt like I was dreaming. This reader’s dream-come-true for sure! The novel touches on all the Gothic romance aspects I love, but the humor and peculiar characters make it stand out in the sub-genre. So beautifully rendered that it’s impossible to believe this is a debut novel. That leaves me expecting great things from author Diana Biller in the future, anxiously awaiting her next endeavor. THE WIDOW OF ROSE HOUSE by Diana Biller is the most unusual, romantic, funny, and overall entertaining romance novel I’ve read this year. I’m ready for a sequel, or a series, devoted to Sam’s idiosyncratic family and friends. Fantastically addictive debut! Review by Dorine, courtesy of TheZestQuest.com. A digital advanced copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review. Thanks in advance for following links and sharing this review on social media.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Ohhhhh did I love this book! It's so utterly delicious. I preordered just because of the basic concept (Gothic Victorian American ghost story slash rom com) combined with stellar early reviews - but then the moment I started reading, I fell head over heels in love. The characters are just SO wonderful. I adored Alva, the scandalous widow (who left her abusive husband before his death and has been shunned by society and her own family ever since). She is grouchy and stubborn and smart and Ohhhhh did I love this book! It's so utterly delicious. I preordered just because of the basic concept (Gothic Victorian American ghost story slash rom com) combined with stellar early reviews - but then the moment I started reading, I fell head over heels in love. The characters are just SO wonderful. I adored Alva, the scandalous widow (who left her abusive husband before his death and has been shunned by society and her own family ever since). She is grouchy and stubborn and smart and secretly kind and an utterly fabulous heroine in every way. I loved Professor Samuel Moore, the wonderfully absent-minded scientist who's also incredibly sweet and gentle and knows exactly how amazing Alva really is. And I laughed out loud with pure delight in every scene with his full family, because they're AMAZING. I am such a sucker for great families in fiction! And the Moores are my favorite fictional family in ages. I loved every single member of that family and I'd love to read sequels starring any of them. The ghost story itself started out interesting, became genuinely spooky, and then had a fabulous twist that I won't reveal - but which moved me really deeply. The themes in this whole book are just beautiful - and the ending made me tear up in the best possible way. I can't wait for whatever Diana Biller writes next!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stacee

    I was invited to read this story and after hearing good things from a trusted friend, I was excited to get to it. I loved Alva and Sam. She’s trying to find herself again and keep a low profile. He’s a genius and basically famous. Together they have fantastic chemistry and conversation. I loved his persistence and her reluctance. I especially loved how he always listened and prodded her for ideas and opinions. His family was absolutely one of the best ever written and I’m ready to hang out with I was invited to read this story and after hearing good things from a trusted friend, I was excited to get to it. I loved Alva and Sam. She’s trying to find herself again and keep a low profile. He’s a genius and basically famous. Together they have fantastic chemistry and conversation. I loved his persistence and her reluctance. I especially loved how he always listened and prodded her for ideas and opinions. His family was absolutely one of the best ever written and I’m ready to hang out with them. Plot wise, there are a few moving parts here, but the core of this story is a romance. I was expecting a bit more of a thriller, but I’m in no way disappointed. The tension was between Alva and Sam and it was delicious. The ghost part sort of felt like an afterthought at times and the resolution was wrapped up much more than I would have expected. Overall, it was a captivating story with characters I was instantly rooting for. I could happily read these two forever and cannot wait to read this again. **Huge thanks to St. Martin’s for providing the arc free of charge**

  21. 5 out of 5

    Shelleen Toland

    It's 1875 and Alva has a tarnished reputation and her abusive husband is dead and she is staring over and has bought a mansion that needs a lot of work and is reported to have ghosts. She doesn't believe in ghosts. Sam is a professor and wants to see if there are really ghosts in the mansion but she keeps telling him no. When the crew, who was working on her house, just up and left one day, and were going to make her still pay them, says there are ghosts as well. Alva is also dealing with her It's 1875 and Alva has a tarnished reputation and her abusive husband is dead and she is staring over and has bought a mansion that needs a lot of work and is reported to have ghosts. She doesn't believe in ghosts. Sam is a professor and wants to see if there are really ghosts in the mansion but she keeps telling him no. When the crew, who was working on her house, just up and left one day, and were going to make her still pay them, says there are ghosts as well. Alva is also dealing with her swarmy brother in law who is no good at all and treating her like crap. She needs to put a stop to his harrassment. But the ghost may have a hand on things going on in that mansion that Alva can't deny. I received this from St. Martin's and NetGalley for an honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Paxton

    I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of this book, and spoiler alert: it's amazing. Like pure and simple. I love it. I've always loved historical romance, but I'd never read a book set in the Gilded Age before. It turns out I love the Gilded Age. Unfortunately, I fear Diana Biller may have ruined the Gilded Age for me because I don't know how anything else from the time period can compare. Alva is super smart and reliable and witty, which is everything I want from my heroines. And Sam is I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of this book, and spoiler alert: it's amazing. Like pure and simple. I love it. I've always loved historical romance, but I'd never read a book set in the Gilded Age before. It turns out I love the Gilded Age. Unfortunately, I fear Diana Biller may have ruined the Gilded Age for me because I don't know how anything else from the time period can compare. Alva is super smart and reliable and witty, which is everything I want from my heroines. And Sam is her perfect hero--he's not flawless, but his flaws are the real flaws an actual, good man would have. Like he's a little oblivious and maybe he doesn't always focus on the thing Alva needs him to focus on. But he's supportive and respectful and just so good. In the best way.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lacey

    I won this book through goodreads' first reads. First off, this is not historical fiction. I only know of its existence because of its placement on a "Historical Fiction 2019" goodreads list, but while it is set in the past all the characters are completely fictional and there's not much historical accuracy to their behavior. You can reference suffragettes in passing but when your characters all act like they'd fit right in at the local coffee shop . . . it doesn't work for me. So, after moving I won this book through goodreads' first reads. First off, this is not historical fiction. I only know of its existence because of its placement on a "Historical Fiction 2019" goodreads list, but while it is set in the past all the characters are completely fictional and there's not much historical accuracy to their behavior. You can reference suffragettes in passing but when your characters all act like they'd fit right in at the local coffee shop . . . it doesn't work for me. So, after moving past the minor bait and switch, the story itself is relatively charming. The characters are fun and while I don't know that I'd call the dialogue "as crisp as a new apple" like the quote on the front cover does, I was entertained. I have to admit, I was more interested in the haunted house than I was in the romance and sadly the plot is more about the romance, but it's well written if you're in to that. Two sex scenes, and the first one kind of comes out of nowhere (there's no indication that this is "that kind of book" before it suddenly is) and is rather . . . detailed. Graphic doesn't seem like quite the right word in this case, although I can't quite put my finger on why. It does ultimately serve to move the plot along, so I can't call it gratuitous (less so the much shorter second scene) but I do have to question whether it really needed to fill (*grabbing book to check* . . . ) roughly thirty pages spread out in to three chapters. It's like the book doesn't know whether it wants to be a harlequin bodice ripper or a more serious historical romance and the reader gets to watch its identity crisis. Plot-wise, the climax (pun sort of intended) and denouement happen too late and too fast . . . wow, second half of that pun not intended lol. It's sort of a lot of build up for not much payoff and then it just . . . stops. Plot A fixed. Plot B Fixed. Plot C fixed. Unsatisfying epilogue set a year later that's just annoying. Fifteen pages out of 330. Hope you didn't want more. Like I said, for what it is, it's charming. I was just expecting more, so I was left disappointed.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    At first I thought this was a mystery like Lady Darby but it’s a straight up romance novel. I had no problems with that. I really enjoyed this book. The mystery was intriguing and spooky with ghostly encounters. The heroine was Alva Webster, who was pilloried in the press after leaving her abusive husband. It’s said she is very scandalous and engaging in affairs and orgies. The hero was absolutely wonderful. Sam is a genius inventor who comes from a genius inventor family and he is GOOD. He is At first I thought this was a mystery like Lady Darby but it’s a straight up romance novel. I had no problems with that. I really enjoyed this book. The mystery was intriguing and spooky with ghostly encounters. The heroine was Alva Webster, who was pilloried in the press after leaving her abusive husband. It’s said she is very scandalous and engaging in affairs and orgies. The hero was absolutely wonderful. Sam is a genius inventor who comes from a genius inventor family and he is GOOD. He is sweet and scatter brained and so kind and wonderful. He is very much the light to Alva’s dark. This was a really good book. I look forward to more by this author.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Maria Dong

    I knew from its opening lines that this book would be amazing, but it wasn't until I closed its covers a day later with a little sigh that I knew how perfectly right I was. THE WIDOW OF ROSE HOUSE is an engaging, heart-warming, tear-jerking, thrilling, suspenseful, eerie, fantastically plotted and paced romance. Set against a richly textured Gilded Age backdrop, but with thoroughly modern sensibilities and morals, and with an incredibly engaging cast of characters with real, believable flaws and I knew from its opening lines that this book would be amazing, but it wasn't until I closed its covers a day later with a little sigh that I knew how perfectly right I was. THE WIDOW OF ROSE HOUSE is an engaging, heart-warming, tear-jerking, thrilling, suspenseful, eerie, fantastically plotted and paced romance. Set against a richly textured Gilded Age backdrop, but with thoroughly modern sensibilities and morals, and with an incredibly engaging cast of characters with real, believable flaws and triumphs, it will leaving you reading long into the night. I found this book so hard to classify in some ways, because it did such a deft job of blending multiple elements that you don't always see together--(and here, I am being very vague, because I *so* do not want to ruin the experience of discovery for readers; you really have to experience it yourself)--elements of interpersonal, high-society thriller and intrigue; a lush historical with carriages and parlors against gaslit streets; a moving and exquisite romance, complete with some of best-written, lushest, and absolutely *hottest* key, ahem, physical scenes I have read in a long time; spooky, brushes with the gothic and the supernatural; a key mystery; strong, powerhouse women--in more ways than one!--and a scientist's eye toward invention, grandeur, and novelty. And, oh, yes, as if all of that was not enough--its *incredibly*, addictingly fun, with clever dialogue and absolutely, heartbreakingly beautiful prose. I read the first few chapters aloud in my car to my husband, and even he loved it and is patiently waiting for me to finish my review so that he can have my copy! I can say with no reservation that this book has placed Diana Biller on my list of instant-buy, all books, until the end of time.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    Thank you Goodreads and St. Martin's Press for my giveaway win! The Widow of Rose House was not what I was expecting. But, I really enjoyed it. Alva returns to the US from France in 1875 after the death of her husband. She brings with her scandal, and her infamy follows her everywhere she goes. In order to make a life for herself, Alva contacts a publisher and decides to write a book on renovation and interior design. She chooses an old abandoned house with a history of Ghosts as the backdrop for Thank you Goodreads and St. Martin's Press for my giveaway win! The Widow of Rose House was not what I was expecting. But, I really enjoyed it. Alva returns to the US from France in 1875 after the death of her husband. She brings with her scandal, and her infamy follows her everywhere she goes. In order to make a life for herself, Alva contacts a publisher and decides to write a book on renovation and interior design. She chooses an old abandoned house with a history of Ghosts as the backdrop for her project. She soon comes across a famous scientist who is itching to investigate the ghosts on the property and the two soon become a duo of investigators. I really enjoyed following Alva and Sam the scientist in their adventure to find out about the ghost in the house, and how to help it make its way home. This book is about redemption and finding yourself and overcoming hardships. It also has a bit of steam that I was not expecting! This is a great choice for spooky season reading if you like something that's tame on the ghosts and has a bit of romance and steam. .

  27. 4 out of 5

    Taryn Pierson

    I absolutely loved this one—a haunted house, a heroine with trunks and trunks of emotional baggage, and an adorable scientist hero who wants to help her unpack it all (and communicate with her ghosts, of course). Alva is finally freed of her abusive husband by his death (and good riddance, he was a total crap bag) and she’s moved into a decrepit old mansion that everyone says is haunted, determined to fix it up and write a home design book about it and thus totally reinvent her life on her own I absolutely loved this one—a haunted house, a heroine with trunks and trunks of emotional baggage, and an adorable scientist hero who wants to help her unpack it all (and communicate with her ghosts, of course). Alva is finally freed of her abusive husband by his death (and good riddance, he was a total crap bag) and she’s moved into a decrepit old mansion that everyone says is haunted, determined to fix it up and write a home design book about it and thus totally reinvent her life on her own terms. Samuel is a brilliant scientist who has an interest in the supernatural and wants Alva to let him run experiments in the house. But she’s skittish and afraid and super closed off because of her aforementioned crap bag husband, and Samuel will have to do a lot of work to convince her to let him in (if you know what I mean), work he is obviously more than willing to do because he is as cheerful as a St. Bernard puppy. I can’t resist a nerdy hero, and how dare Samuel be so sweet and kind and smart and wonderful, honestly, HOW DARE YOU SIR.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Burke

    I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher. This was such a good story. It sucked me in and I was enjoying it so much I stopped reading one night so I would have some left for the next day. Well crafted characters, Sam is one of the best hero’s I have read in a while. I will be keeping an eye on this author.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Q

    Giveaway @ Let Them Read Books! 4.5 Stars! The Widow of Rose House was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and it did not disappoint! I'm not going to go much into plot so as not to spoil anything. I'm just going to tell you how I feel about it. First, it's hard to believe this is a debut novel. The characters are fantastically drawn. While I may not have made the same decisions Alva did, I found her to be admirable. The poor thing tried so hard not to show vulnerability and not to rely Giveaway @ Let Them Read Books! 4.5 Stars! The Widow of Rose House was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and it did not disappoint! I'm not going to go much into plot so as not to spoil anything. I'm just going to tell you how I feel about it. First, it's hard to believe this is a debut novel. The characters are fantastically drawn. While I may not have made the same decisions Alva did, I found her to be admirable. The poor thing tried so hard not to show vulnerability and not to rely on anyone else. To watch her seize control of her life and learn to trust again was very rewarding. You can't help but root for her happily ever after. And if you don't fall in love with Professor Sam Moore, well, there's no help for you! I certainly hope his siblings (including Henry) will be getting books of their own? Please? Pretty please? The banter among the boisterous Moore family is delightful, and I love their dynamic. They need their own books. Just sayin'. But seriously, Sam's a genius from a family of geniuses, and he's also a big old sweet potato. I love the way he thinks and the way he observes everything, including Alva, and how he can't help but want to find solutions to problems, often to humorous effect. But the story does have several very serious and tragic aspects, and it's all balanced together really well, hitting all the right notes in all the right places. I'm very tempted to give this five stars just for the feels alone. My only real complaints are that it's a little wordy (and I found myself skimming a page here and there), and I do feel the ghost story could have been a bit more developed and played a larger role in the story. While it is the mechanism that brings Alva and Sam together, it's far into the book before they really start making any progress. The spook factor is rather tame, though surprisingly unpredictable. But when the meaning of the house's name and its purpose were revealed at the end, I shed a tear. I'm bumping it up a notch just because of the pleasure of my reading experience, alternating from having a goofy grin on my face to crying to needing a cold shower. Disclaimer: This is a straight-up romance. I say that for those readers who don't like romance. I'm not one of them. I love romance and gobble it up whenever I can. It's not quite fair to the book to market it as suspense or even romantic historical fiction, as I've seen in some places, because then people who don't normally read romance end up marking the book down in their reviews. But if you love romance, this is a breath of fresh, crisp winter air. The perfect combination of humor and heavy themes and madcap genius and serious widow and ghost story and true love. So much fun!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elodie

    Will the open to life scientist be able to break down the defenses of the lonesome widow. Twice in a short span of time I have read the first published book of a new historical author. Twice I was left stunned by both story, With one only outcome, to read more about these awesome talented writers. Mrs Diana Biller is one hell of a gifted with words person. She has crafted a moving and transcendental story of healing and redeeming the wrong done to others. She brought all her characters to life, Will the open to life scientist be able to break down the defenses of the lonesome widow. Twice in a short span of time I have read the first published book of a new historical author. Twice I was left stunned by both story, With one only outcome, to read more about these awesome talented writers. Mrs Diana Biller is one hell of a gifted with words person. She has crafted a moving and transcendental story of healing and redeeming the wrong done to others. She brought all her characters to life, they are more blood and flesh than paper with their shortcomings and successes. Sam and Alva are two sides of the same coin, they need to trust on each other and themselves to make things work between them. Sam is one man to love so easily, the perfect portrayed scientific, losing himself in his work, very singleminded when focused to get what he is looking for and rebuffs do not deter him. With his sole smile as his weapon, he disarms anyone by his simple and quite naive view of life, not influenced by rules, gossips and expectations. Alva never experienced love even in her young years, every aspect of her life controlled by her overbearing family, so when a handsome man seduced her, she mistook it easily but too late, she was already in an other gilded cage. To break free, she confronted scandal and nearly lost everything, but a wounded animal must do what need be to stay alive. But now she is ready to wipe the slate clean of her past if only it hadn’t the wrong habit to jump at her face. It was a tale about darkness and light, Sam is the light source in this story while Alva lives in the shadows, only surrounded by gloom and when her past is slowly revealed, will Sam’s life force be enough to pull her out of her nightmares. When she drowns in her fears and doubts, he brightens and alleviates the whole scene. With his truthfulness close to candor and his humor, he slowly brings back Alva on the side of the livings, opening her to a colorful avenir instead of the dreary one she was designing for herself. This was a big five stars read to slowly devour to appreciate all its various depths and layers, the painful past of Alva, Sam’s appreciation of life, the Moore family’s humor, eccentricities and their shared love and the mystery behind the ghosts tale. Everything combined a wondrous journey beyond love and time. I was granted this advance copy through Netgalley and Edelweiss via the publisher St Martin’s Griffin. I so loved it I purchased my own copy. Here is my true and unbiased opinion. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?stor...

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