The Haunted Heiress of Wyndcliffe

(No Series)

Orphaned in a train wreck as a little girl and raised by a family of poor coal miners, "Jane" spent her girlhood toiling in the mines near Newcastle, plagued by flashes of forgotten memories. Who was she and where did she belong? Only after fleeing the mines and traveling across England with a band of gypsies did she meet the man who haunted her dreams...and who took her home at least to Wyndcliffe Manor.

But the arrival of Jane - now Jennifer Hardwicke and the heiress of Wyndcliffe - fanned the flames of intrigue and desperate blackmail that had been smoldering for years among the jealous heirs. Finally understanding her past, unafraid of the future, and determined to avenge her grandfather's murder and claim her rightful dominion, Jennifer manages to avoid the first futive attempts on her life. Yet when she took her seat at the head of huge baronial table and lifted her wine goblet, she realized that only doom awaited her in the shadowy, mist-filled courtyard of Wyndcliffe Manor.

You know, it's a shame Beverly C. Warren didn't garner more popularity, as I've been enjoying the hell of her books. I picked up three used and so far am in the beginning of the third one. This one was the first I read (I really need to catch up on these reviews). I couldn't find a cover of this anywhere online, and it's a shame, as I love the gothic covers on these. I may be able to scan it from work.

First, the heroine Jennifer. Very likable girl, strong, independent, curious, intelligent. The story's a twisted one, with the violence she endured pitiful to read about. It shows her from the time she was a girl working in the mines, to being a carnie, to finally living in the life of luxury amidst a family that would put a group of pit vipers to shame. The story never dulls, even if I grew anxious to learn more of Michael Savage, the man she would occasionally run into. I admit to skimming through some parts to try to rush toward the heart of the novel, which doesn't begin until it's halfway through. It's easy to get attached the her as a character, and certainly Michael who sounds like he'd have my heart soaring as much as he did hers, and of course the grandfather - who was so sweet and amusing he's addictive.

The book is classic gothic one she's in Wyndcliffe, but the tone is never dramatic or overdone as it the case with a lot of gothic book. No overly used Victorian style phrases; instead it's easy to read and follow. I did have the guilty culprit accurately pegged before reading the end, even if I didn't have evidence as to why - just a gut feeling. Still that didn't ruin it for me. I appreciated the small attempts at mystery. The last few pages made my heart sing, as romance was there strong. I do wish a bit that more was showed in Warren's books in a sexual sense, if you know what I mean, as she always seems to shy away from that, but oh well. I guess some things get left to the readers imagination. Go, Michael, go!

It was a good twist to have Jennifer warned off of Michael, and to have reasons for him not be with him because of her inheritance. In fact, the main mystery of the story that I couldn't figure out was when he stormed off at the will reading and acted distant after that. I was wrong with my reasonings there, so I guess a mystery I couldn't figure out WAS written.

Besides the characters mentioned, the rest was just as interesting. I wish I would have learned more of what happened with Henry and Charlie though. I suppose the author wanted to show they were part of the heroine's past life and done with, but I liked them and was curious. I also wanted to know Michael's response when Jennifer would have told him where they first met, but alas this never happened, at least not for me to see. Pity.

The ending was fun but the villain's reasoning seems a little forced, but oh well. Nothing can be perfect. The book turned out to be addictive fun, I couldn't put it down, and found myself sinking more and more into the story. If you happen to pass this by somewhere, for the love of God, pick it up! I hate seeing talented authors not make it in life. The book was written in 92 - I'm happy to see more books were published after that and plan to eventually collect most of them.

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