Thursday, 9 May 2013

Book Review: Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

Haunting Violet
Alyxandra Harvey

Haunting Violet has been authored by Alyxandra Harvey and was published by Bloomsbury. This book is also my first horror novel. However, I wouldn't call it horror per se. I did get goosebumps while reading the book but it did not scare the wits out of me, but, yes, I had to keep looking over my shoulder for spirits!

Mrs. Celeste Willoughby is a widowed medium. As in, she makes money by speaking to the dead loved ones of those alive. Yes, she makes money by being a phoney. The book is written in the Victorian spiritualist era wherein it was a rage to be able to contact your loved ones from the beyond. Using this "talent" of hers, she stages several meets, stages them, she does not conduct any of them since all such activities are a setup. She is helped by her daughter Violet, her help Colin and Marjorie all of whom just can't wait to leave the shackles of her fraudulence.

All this, makes Mrs.Willoughby very famous, affords them a luxury they could only dream of and eventually gets them invited to Rosefield, to Lord Jasper's palatial home. Since this happens over the summer, as is the tradition, Lord Jasper has also invited his family and friends to stay over at his place (the reason for this is revealed at the end of the book). Mrs. Willoughby stages her first performanc by sprinkling some perfume here and there, making people believe their ancestors were in the room with them, by making it snow (while it is actually Marjorie showering feathers outside the window) and other special effects are created and the audience awed.

This stay is when Violet realizes that unlike her mother, she genuinely does have the rare gift of seeing spirits, to b able to converse with them. Being bombarded with endless spirits, she is determined not to tell her mother of the same since she would not think twice of parading her little girl's talents and making money out of it. One such ghost bothering Violet is Rowena. Rowena Wentworth, the niece of the current Sir Wentworth, Lord Jasper's neighbour. Turns out, Rowena had "accidentally" drowned in the lake. All this did not add up to Violet since Rowena was an ace swimmer and whenever Rowena's spirit occupied her body, she could taste a medicinal syrup in her mouth.

Thus beings Violet's investigation with the help of her best friend Elizabeth, Colin and a highly non-co operative Tabitha Wentworth, Rowena's twin sister who is wary of Elizabeth and is certain that her mother is a fraud (which is eventually exposed). How will they be able to place a finger on who murdered Rowena when she is unwilling to leave her sister's side, trying hard to protect her. As an added obstacle, it is clear to Violet that Rowena was strangled, and hence, her spirit voice cannot be heard and her gestures are not clear enough. This is Violet's adventure. She will have to crack the mystery. She will have to bring peace to Rowena's soul.

All in all, this book does not have a shocking ending. It is kind of obvious. But, it is good read nevertheless. Give it a go just once.

Rating: 3/5

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