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 romantic comedy debut.
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.
Since I’m always interested in debut romances, I was delighted to get the Widow of Rose House offered for a review. And the blurb was already very promising: a strong woman, Alva, who decides to take fate into her own hands and buy a house and restore it. She uses her ‘fame’ to convince a publisher to publish her book, she is going to write about the restauration of her home.
Although she is warned that the house is haunted, she doesn’t believe this. So, when the funny, clumsy professor Samuel Moore tries to convince her to let her investigate her haunted house, she refuses. But when the workcrew she has hired, leave the house in a hurry and when she thinks she sees her dead ex-husband, she gets a little scared.
So, maybe she should ask for the help of the persistant professor. Of course, it has nothing to do with the attraction she feels for the cute professor, but all with his experience with ghosts and haunted objects. Together they embark on a journey to discover the truth about her home.
A wonderful, funny read, full of suspense and plot twists. Absolute a great debut and I’m looking forward to reading more from Diana Biller. Hopefully she’ll extend the stories about the Moore family, because they are hilarious. Four out of five stars from me and a special thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for providing the arc.
About the author
DIANA BILLER lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their very good dog. THE WIDOW OF ROSE HOUSE is her debut novel.
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Published: October 2019
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥