Cover Crush: The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

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I am not a cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of stories and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover.

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester FoxThe Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

Paperback, 368 pages

Expected publication: October 2nd 2018 by Graydon House

An astonishing debut from an exciting new voice in historical fiction, The Witch of Willow Hall delivers memorable and atmospheric witchcraft themes, resulting in an addictive story about strange powers, fierce love, family secrets, and how the past haunts us in ways that demand to be seen.

Perfect for fans of Alice Hoffman (The Rules of Magic), Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell) and Deborah Harkness (A Discovery of Witches), readers will devour this immersive historical novel and root for a heroine who must struggle to come to terms with her place in the world, and the surprising doors a newfound power can open.

Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it.

Take this as a warning: if you are not able or willing to control yourself, it will not only be you who suffers the consequences, but those around you, as well.

New Oldbury, 1821

In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall.

The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.

All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end…

My thoughts:

I love the design and tones of this cover and how the woman’s dress flares out a bit to give a dramatic feel. The house behind her looks haunting and atmospheric that you want to explore or can tell holds many secrets and hiding places. Great book cover.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary.

Other great cover crushes from my fellow book bloggers: 

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Heather at The Maiden’s Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired

 

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Review: Cascade by Maryanne O’Hara

Back in May 2013 I shared my short put to the point review of Cascade by Maryanne O’Hara. It’s such a great read I thought I would share it again! Enjoy!

Cascade

My thoughts:

Love, loss and conflicting loyalties and promises- this story sweeps you into the 1930’s, a town in Cascade, Massachusetts. Who is fighting for their very own survival of a flood that is to create a reservoir for Boston. A woman-Desdemona, who has made promises to her dying father and bound to the man she married. Yet she yearns to for a life of an artist and falls for a young Jewish man. Author Maryanne O’Hara brings you raw emotions in her characters, their lives and gives you a sense of timeless love and beauty. I have to admit when I opened the first page and started reading, I had a hard time getting into it. So I stepped away for a few days and went back to it. Because I literally had just finished a book that was set in the 19 Century and I picked this one up immediately afterwards. Not the best idea in the world. Once I picked it up again, the story drawled me in and I was memorized. I truly admire the authors writing style and her way with characterization. The story all around is just beautiful and atmospheric. I highly recommend this novel.

Book Cover Rating:

I am rating this book cover five stars! I absolutely love it! It’s stunning and true to the story.

Book description on goodreads:

What would you give up to become the person you knew you were meant to be?

It’s 1935, and Dez Spaulding has sacrificed her plans to work as an artist in New York to care for her bankrupt, ailing father in Cascade, Massachusetts. When he dies, Dez finds herself caught in a marriage of convenience, bound to the promise she made to save her father’s Shakespeare Theater, an especially difficult feat since the town faces almost certain flooding to create a reservoir. When she falls for fellow artist and kindred spirit Jacob Solomon, she sees a chance to escape with him and realize her New York ambitions, but her decisions will have bitter and unexpected consequences.

Fans of Richard Russo, Amor Towles, Sebastian Barry, and Paula McLain will savor this transporting novel about the eternal tug between our duties and our desires, set in New York City and New England during the uncertain, tumultuous 1930s.

*All reviews, interviews, guest posts and promotions are original works of the people involved. In order to use any part of the material from this site, please ask for permission from Stephanie M. Hopkins-Layered Pages. *

 

Review: The Reputed Wife by Jo Ann Butler

The Reputed Wife

Set in 17th century Northeast, primarily in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, The Reputed Wife is the story of Goodwife Herodias “Herod” Gardner a/k/a Hicks and her struggle to free herself from the bonds of a rash marriage to John Hicks. After Hicks beats her to within an inch of her life, Herod finds solace, love, and security in George Gardner, but in the process loses the children that she had with Hicks. It is the story of redemption and her efforts to vindicate herself in a patriarchal puritanical world.

The Reputed Wife is also the story of Rhode Island’s developing, and at times rocky, relationship with neighboring areas. A turf war between the governors over their fiefdoms is in progress at the start of the novel and continues throughout. Complicating this is that Rhode Island is viewed as an unruly step child that no one wants because it befriends Quakers and any others who have the audacity to call attention and protest against abuses, whether leveled by Puritans, government, or individuals seeking vengeance.

 

Butler’s writing is easy to get into, though at times, it is hard to tell who is speaking, particularly early on when the reader does not have the necessary background. In spite of this, the story resonated with me; I could identify with Herod in her quest to determine what she wanted out of life. In her time, women’s options were limited and as a result she finds her voice, in some rather painful ways. This pain is not borne in vain, however. Herod finds that the simple good life of home and hearth can be compelling, testimony, maybe more so than the vocal martyrdom engaged in by her friend, Mary Dyer and other Quakers. Butler also brings out through Herod’s struggle with recognizing when God has spoken that sometimes a quiet faith can be as powerful as fire and brimstone oratory.

 

In terms of the structure, I have no complaints, though I would have liked to have had the ending a bit more fleshed out. Herod’s story ended too quickly. I envisioned more detail of the understated tug of war for Herod’s attention and heart that was occurring between George Gardner and John Porter by bringing this conflict out in the open between Herod and Porter and then by giving the reader what my husband calls a snail’s eye view of Herod’s decision to resolve to make amends with Gardner and reclaim her life with him and their children.

 

All in all, The Reputed Wife was excellent and I learned a lot. If Goodreads allowed partial stars, I would have given the novel a 4.75.

 

A Layered Pages Review.

By Susan Berry