Secrets of Montroth House by Muriel Newsome

(No Series)

After a terrible family tragedy, Lorene sought out her last living relatives, two elderly - and eccentric - aunts who lived in the tainted shadows of Montroth House.

Her aunts were, indeed, a strange pair. But stranger was still the aura of evil that whispered in the night...the fearful warnings of the housekeeper...and the threatening letter slipped into Lorene's hands. And when someone tried to push her down the stairs, Lorene knew the danger was real - and fled into the arms of a handsome stranger.

But could Lorene truly trust this man? Could she trust anyone? The answer lay buried...deep in the Montroth woods.

A surprisingly fun, dark little Gothic that holds a bit of hilarity when it reveals the secrets. One of the best I've read.

Newsome is talented with writing and dishes out a delicious Gothic without overdosing on Victorian, melodramatic diatribe. She dares to be bold with a morbid ending which rivals most Gothic endings I've experienced. There is no silly shying away from the worst imaginings, and there isn't an unrealistic bonding of family just because family blood is shared.

The heroine is likable and independent - sometimes she bends too easily but that fits with the times, I suppose. She stands up for herself strongly enough to be impressive. The love interest was a nice touch - the first meeting was interesting and I felt the chemistry sizzle, although instalove is rarely realistic really.

It's not paranormal but the mystery is a good one. There aren't many culprits to expect but the twists of opposing house staff views and misleads lent plot layers. The heroine has silly attempts on her life though (or are they?) that get old - poor thing ends up in bed half the book - but this can be overlooked.

The ending sort of reminds me of some of the classic movies with actresses like Bette Davis. I can totally picture her playing in a story like this on the silver screen.

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