Published by Random House
Released on March 6, 2018
If you have the years on you or simply enjoy pulling some older dusty books off the library shelves, you might remember older gothic-flavored romantic suspenses by Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, or Daphne DuMaurier. I loved their writing that gave one a little chill, a harrowing adventure for a heroine, and a nice bit of legend or history altogether. I say all that to share the fact that The Darklling Bride set in the mountains of County Wicklow, Ireland belongs in that illustrious group.
The Darkling Bride starts the reader in the present day when beginner scholar, Carragh Ryan, is invited to take a three-week temp job that is the job of her dreams- a chance to go to a real Irish castle and seat of the Gallagher family, catalogue the library, and maybe, just maybe find a lost manuscript by an intriguing Victorian novelist who was one of the great.
From there, Carragh discovers there is an unsolved murder from twenty years before and hints of a dark cursed history associated with Deeprath Castle and the Gallaghers. The decision by Aidan Gallagher to put the castle and its contents into the hands of the National Trusts stirs up the past and now Carragh and Aidan must discover the secrets of the past to keep darkness from stirring once again.
There are flashbacks to two earlier time lines that help fill in what came before as answers are discovered one by one. The author instilled a foreboding atmosphere and an eerie sense that the supernatural is close even though I was never sure about that. Just like, when the family gathers, I was never sure who was innocent or guilty- or should I say, whose secrets were pertinent to the murders and castle secrets. Even Carragh, a stranger in the midst has her secrets and ties to the family.
I enjoyed that several genre elements were present- gothic, suspense, romance, and historical fiction. There are personal journeys that Carragh and Aidan and even the police officer are on to make peace with their own pasts, but also their budding interest in each other and, of course, the murders in the past.
There was a nice bit of local flavor, legend, and history, but it was organic to the story so that it never felt too much or distracting. There is also a sense of connection and fun wink to several great romantic suspense writers from before so that the writing felt familiar even though this was my first time reading Laura Andersen’s work.
So, this was a wonderful, riveting read I picked up for a St. Patrick’s Day read that I can definitely recommend who love the old style mildly chilling romantic suspenses.
My thanks to Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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