An enchanting blend of Victorian gothic romance, romantic comedy, and ghost story from the author of the Daphne du Maurier Award-winning With This Curse!
The year is 1873, and Sybil Ingram has come to a crossroads. Once she was the toast of the London stage, but now that she's 28 years old - very well, nearly 30 - her draw isn't what it used to be, and her theater troupe is foundering. When her trusted mentor asks her to take the blame for his financial misdeeds, Sybil sees no choice but to retire from the life she loves and move to America to marry New York City hotel magnate Alcott Lammle. But her path to happiness is cut short when Lammle dies suddenly - and in financial ruin.
Widowed, nearly penniless, and unable to return to England, the determined diva sets out to stake a claim on Brooke House, an eccentric neo-Gothic manor in the wilds of the Hudson River Valley. She soon finds, however, that a ghostly presence wants her gone. Even worse, her claim is challenged by the most insolent, temperamental, maddeningly gorgeous man she's ever met: Roderick Brooke, a once-famous former violinist whose career ended in a dark scandal.
Soon it's a battle of wills as Sybil matches wits - and trades barbs - with Roderick, finding herself increasingly drawn to him despite her growing suspicion that there is a connection between him and the entity that haunts Brooke House. But an even greater threat arises in the form of the mysterious, powerful queen of local society, Mrs. Lavinia Dove. For reasons that Sybil can't imagine, Mrs. Dove is determined to oust Sybil from her sphere...and the lengths to which she will go are chilling indeed.
By turns mysterious and moving, sparkling and spooky, Nocturne for a Widow follows a spirited heroine through adventures in life, love, and death. From the colorful theatrical world of late-Victorian London to the American wilderness, Sybil's travels will test her mettle - and her heart.
I am enjoying Amanda DeWees books immensely.
Nocturne for a Widow is the beginning of a new series based on the character of Sybil Ingram, an actress, whom we first meet briefly in With This Curse.
Although the story is a bit predictable, in a way that was one of the things that I liked about it. I could sit back and watch the fireworks.
Sybil and Roderick are at loggerheads right from the moment they lay eyes on each other. They declare outright war as they wait for the judge's decision on who will inherit the house. Sybil is very quick witted and their little squabbles and snide comments provide much humour and entertainment as they progress from enemies to truce, friendship and love.
I enjoyed the ghostly activities in the house. The haunting of the house was well written and it added an extra layer of mystery and atmosphere.
The side characters were intriguing. Mrs Dove was a nasty piece of work and I couldn't wait to see how Sybil would deal with her. The night of the musicale stands out as one of my favourite scenes.
I also listened to the audio version of the book, narrated by Elizabeth Klett. Once again she performs the story with elegance and ease. It is very easy to listen to and she adds something a little bit special to the story. Sybil's character in particular really comes to life. The narrator inflecting her tone of voice allows us to hear more clearly the sarcasm and barbs pointed at Roderick and Mrs Dove, that a reader might otherwise miss.
I purchased the Kindle copy of Nocturne for a Widow but I received the audiobook in exchange for an honest review.