HAUNTING VIOLET BY ALYXANDRA HARVEY
- Reading level: Young Adult
- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Walker Childrens; First Edition edition (June 21, 2011)
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?
Full of mystery, intrigue and that trademark humor she's known for with The Drake Chronicles, Alyxandra Harvey exceeded my expectations with Haunting Violet. This was more than just a ghost story. It was a well-thought out paranormal piece of fiction told with great attention to historical accuracy. I thought Harvey did an amazing job with the historical aspects of the book. I loved the Victorian backdrop and felt as if I had stepped straight into the 1870's with each turn of the page. It was obvious to me that Harvey did an incredible amount of homework in constructing the scenes with the fake séances as well as other details. When I think back about the book, one scene always stands out in my mind- Violet being forced by her mother to wear a pair of bellows strapped under her dress so that she could create a "supernatural" breeze under the table for her mother's customers! Hilarious! It really was fascinating to me just how much people who want to believe so badly can be easily led astray with just a little ingenuity and a few careful props.
Right from page one, I couldn't help but connect to Violet. This was a girl whose whole life revolved around her fraudulent mother's schemes to trick upper class society into thinking she was a powerful medium. Yet she maintained an incredible sense of compassion and determination. I couldn't help but become vested in her story. There was a good romance in Haunting Violet that complemented the ghost story while never overshadowing it. I adored Colin, the Irish orphan Violet had known and worked with since childhood alongside her mother. If I had one critique of the book it would be that I almost wish it had been more on the adult side- I think I would've enjoyed it even more if the romance had been taken up a notch and the murder mystery a little more intense. Also a couple of times I did notice that the dialogue became a little "modernized", but these things were minor and in no way hindered my overall enjoyment.
Alyxandra Harvey's writing seems to have grown with each of her books, and this was my favorite one. I think it has something for everyone- mystery, supernatural and a touch of romance.
Other Books by Alyxandra Harvey- The Drake Chronicles
Alyxandra Harvey lives in a stone Victorian house in Ontario, Canada with a few resident ghosts who are allowed to stay as long as they keep company manners. She loves medieval dresses, used to be able to recite all of The Lady of Shalott by Tennyson, and has been accused, more than once, of being born in the wrong century. She believes this to be mostly true except for the fact that she really likes running water, women’s rights, and ice cream.
Among her favourite books are ‘The Wood Wife’ by Terri Windling, ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte, and of course, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen. Elizabeth Bennet is her hero because she’s smart and sassy, and Mr. Darcy is, well, yum.
Aside from the ghosts, she also lives with husband and their dogs. She likes cinnamon lattes, tattoos and books. Official Website