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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother's elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose. Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother's scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she's known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?…

Haunting Violet

by Alyxandra Harvey

Overall Book Review:

How would you react if suddenly you could see all the spirits wandering around us…and they could see you?  Violet’s mother is pretending to be someone she’s not, and forces her daughter to go along with her schemes: She’s a widow, she’s a lady, she’s a famous Spiritualist…or maybe not.  That all changes when Violet suddenly has what her mother pretends so spectacularly to possess:  She’s a bonefide Medium!  I spent most of the book wanting to strangle Violet’s mother—and absolutely loving Colin and Elizabeth (Violet’s friends).  I found myself cheering for Violet and Colin often, and I can’t say I was sad when her mother… well, that you’ll have to read for yourself!  The main ghostly visitor drove me crazy sometimes, as I just wanted her to spill it already!  But, then, where’s the fun in that??

Haunting Violet is set in the London area in the late 1800’s.  This has to be my favorite era and place.  I love the balls, dresses, parties, and lengthy stays at country estates…there are the terrible ‘gossipmongers’ and all those snooty people who feel that lineage and titles are more important than people!  We have people sitting around waiting for the next scandal and more than happy to pass along all the lurid details to their friends!  Of course, not everything is true to the period, such as some of the language and behaviors, but it was all so entertaining, it was fairly easy to overlook!

The mystery surrounding the murdered ghost did keep me guessing for the most part, and was sometimes almost ‘Scooby-Do-esque’ as we suspect person after person and wander around in circles as we try to figure out ‘whodunit’!  Ms. Harvey has a very engaging style of writing that didn’t drag and I found this novel to be seriously entertaining!  If you are a fan of Victorian Era romance, mystery and ghostly visitors, this fits the bill!  Full of romance, thrills and humor, Haunting Violet is pure fun!

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Content Analysis:

There is quite a bit of profanity filtered through.  It’s fairly mild, for the most part, and a lot of it is what was said during that time period and area of the world.  About half of the profanity is ‘English’ profanity.  At times it did seem that there was probably more language than would have been used during that era, and there were moments when that made the feeling of the novel more contemporary than historical.  A character finds out she is an illegitimate child, and she begins to use the more vulgar word for it often.

There was one slightly moderate ‘make-out’ scene that was short, but still a touch descriptive.  Mostly, the sexual content was mild.  There were some stolen (and not so stolen) kisses; thinking about being with another person; and mentions of some ‘unsavories’ that a character probably visited because he was ‘old enough’.  A character admits to having an affair (that’s all that’s said).  A character tells another to move because he can see through her nightgown.  A character decides to change professions and becomes someone’s mistress. 

With the violence, there were a few minor scuffles—a bit of fist-fighting here and there over a girls’ honor.  Some characters are drugged at a séance (in order to ‘see’ ghosts).  A character is murdered (drowned) and we slowly, in bits and pieces, learn about what happened to her (drowning, drugging, strangling).  A character is almost possessed by angry ghosts, more than once.  At times, the descriptions of the ghosts that are seen are a little disturbing, as they still have evidence of the way they died on their ‘person’.  A character is almost killed by a falling urn and a chandelier that have been tampered with.  A character seriously beats up (kicking, punching, scratching) another while trying to escape being killed.  A character stabs another, threatens many with a gun, and tries to drug them before killing them (they are not killed).

Some other things: There is a lot of drinking involved, especially one character in particular and all the men; Some characters us a Ouija Board to contact spirits; there are many séances—most of them are fictional, but some become ‘real’.

Mature Subject Matter:

Most of the themes are moderate: Finding out you’re an illegitimate child—and then discovering that your parents, neither of them, want you; Having a mother who cares nothing for you; lying about your identity; pretending to be something you’re not in order to gain prestige, fame, and fortune; Mediums and Spiritualists and the ability to see ghosts and ‘talk’ with them; Stealing and Pickpocketing.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I read anything and everything. I love the smell of books. My kids giggle at me when I open a new box of books from Amazon and I inhale the new pages and rub the shiny new spine against my face! 🙂 My husband just rolls his eyes at me and is grateful he has me on a budget! 🙂