Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Showcase - The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

Its that time of year again, time for scary reads, listens and movies. When I saw this fantastic debut novel by Hester Fox from Graydon House an imprint of Harlequin I knew I needed to feature it, I mean even the author's name sounds like a character from the Salem witch trials. And as soon as I can find some time I'm digging into my copy. In the mean time my friend and fellow blogger Kindlemom from My Guilty Obsession has a great review Here.

ISBN-13: 9781525833014
Publisher: Graydon House/Harlequin
Release Date: 10-2-2018
Length: 368pp
Buy It: Amazon/ B&N/Kobo/IndieBound/Audible


Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it.
Take this as a warning: if you are not able or willing to control yourself, it will not only be you who suffers the consequences, but those around you, as well.

New Oldbury, 1821

In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall.

The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.

All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end…

Read an excerpt:

But I don’t want the game to end, not yet. I rack my mind, and then before I can talk myself out of it, I blurt out, “I don’t know the first thing about birds.”
He’s quiet for a beat, and then gives me a long, sly look. “I know.”
“You do?”
“That day when we were walking through the woods. You said you saw a golden thrush.” He flashes a mischievous grin. “Golden thrushes are only found in Australia.”
I should be mortified, but I can’t help smiling. All those hours spent studying my natural history books and I’ve been found out anyway. “Why didn’t you say anything then?”
“You looked so pleased with yourself. I hadn’t the heart to correct you.”
On the way to Mr. Barrett’s the walk had seemed to take so long, but now it’s going by quickly, far too quickly. We’re almost at the bend that will take me back to Willow Hall and him to the mill. I would do anything to make the road stretch out for miles yet before we had to part.
Maybe it’s the laughter we shared, or that he finally opened up to me. Or maybe it’s the cool autumn breeze that winds through the small space between us, making him move a little closer so that I’m not too cold, but I finally have found some courage. “Can…can I ask you something?”
He looks down, a little surprised. “Of course, anything.”
“Are you… That is, I heard you were engaged.” My words hang in the air, and even I can hear the desperate tinge in them.
Mr. Barrett stops abruptly, the horse shaking the bridle in protest.
“Engaged? Well,” he says with a frown, “that would cer­tainly be news to me.” His look softens. “Where did you hear that?”
“Mrs. Tidewell.” I feel like a tattling child, though my shame is tempered with a deep sense of relief.
“Ah,” he says, picking up the pace again. “I’m not sure I would put so much stock in what Mrs. Tidewell says when it comes to other people’s business.”
We walk a little farther in silence. There’s a tension in Mr. Barrett’s face like he wants to say something else but is bat­tling himself. Finally he asks, “What else did Mrs. Tidewell tell you?”
“Nothing,” I say a little too quickly. “Nothing at all. Just that.”
We’ve reached the fork in the road. The horse swipes its tail at an invisible irritant and paws at the dirt, wondering why we’ve stopped. The air hangs heavy with expectancy, and I’m not ready to say goodbye yet. Still embarrassed and unable to meet Mr. Barrett’s eyes, I stroke the horse’s warm, downy nose, and direct my goodbyes to it instead.
“Such a sweet horse,” I murmur. Our horses are carriage horses, not much interested in human company unless you have something sweet for them, and even then they merely offer a sideways glance while they munch away. Mr. Barrett’s horse is as gentle and sweet as a puppy.
“Lydia,” he says after a moment. “Before you go, there’s something I’d like to ask you.”
The horse bobs its head in blissful appreciation as I scratch behind its big, feathery ears. “Mmm?”
“Perhaps now isn’t the right time.”
Something in his tone snaps me back to attention, and for the first time since we stopped I realize that he hasn’t taken his eyes off me.
“You can ask me now. You can ask me anything. What is it?” I say breathlessly.
He looks around the country road as if to make sure we are truly alone, his gaze flitting from the golden treetops to the darkening clouds above. Then, so quickly and so gently that I hardly have time to register what’s happening, he takes my chin in his hand and tilts my face up, pressing his lips to mine. His body moves close to me and everything in me comes alive. I want to press myself against his chest, wrap my arms around him and feel the steady beat of his heart like I felt that night at the pond.
My body explodes with warmth, an exhilarating sensation starting where his lips meet mine, running like a fuse down my spine. My knees are weak, but he’s there, holding me upright to him like his life depended on it. It’s a long, slow kiss, expertly administered. When we pull away, I can barely breathe. Drowsily, I open my eyes. He’s flushed and sparkling. With one hand still cupped under my chin, he takes his other and gently as a breeze tucks a stray lock of hair behind my ear.
“No,” he says more to himself than to me. “Not now, not like this.”
Before I can even regain my balance, he’s swinging up into the saddle, and asks, “Are you sure you can get home all right from here?”
Too breathless to speak, I nod.
“Good,” he says, wheeling his horse around. “And if I call on Friday, will you be at home?”
I nod again.
He doesn’t start riding away though, instead he brings the horse right up next to me. I crane my neck up to see him, feeling every inch like a young maiden in a fairy tale, looking upon her golden prince, desperate and grateful for any little favor he might bestow.
“I didn’t come the last time I promised you I would,” he says. He sits so well on the horse, so straight and composed, but his knuckles are white around the reins and when he swal­lows, it’s hard and fast.
“Oh,” I say, surprised. “I know you were busy.” I think he could say anything in this moment and I would forgive him.
When he speaks again it’s low and even. Determined. “It does matter. I’ll be back for you, Lydia. I swear it.”
And with that, he touches his heels to his horse, taking off at a canter down the road. I hardly dare to breathe as I stand there, watching his straight back and broad shoulders grow smaller and smaller until the trees swallow him up.

Listen to a Sample

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Meet Hester:
Hester Fox has a background in the museum field as a collections maintenance technician. This job has taken her from historic houses to fine art museums, where she has cleaned and cared for collections that range from paintings by old masters to ancient artifacts to early American furniture. She is a keen painter and has a Master's in historical archaeology, as well as a background in medieval studies and art history. Hester lives outside of Boston with her husband and their two cats.



  1. I do hope you try this one Debbie, I really think you would like it.

    1. I do too Kindlemom, hope you don't mind me sharing your review :)

  2. I'm waayyyy behind my reading schedule where I keep forgetting what I have but now that my reading mojo is back, I will definitely read this. Plus it's Fall, October, the season to hunker down, stock up on warm drinks, and just read books. Amen!

    1. true true and true
      welcome back to the blogoverse Braine :) so

  3. You're right the author's name is perfect for the genre! I am not an October scary reader, but I enjoy that other readers love doing that!

    1. I like a good scare but not too much blood and guts more psychological