Sophie’s world is shattered when disaster bankrupts her family. She’s still reeling from the news when she’s offered an unexpected solution: Mr Argenton, a wealthy stranger, asks for her hand in marriage.
Marrying Mr Argenton will restore her family’s fortunes and save them from scandal, but condemns Sophie to a life in Northwood, a vast and unnaturally dark mansion situated hours from civilisation.
Sophie struggles to adjust to her new position as mistress over the desolate house. Mr Argenton’s relatives are cold, and Mr Argenton himself is keeping secrets. Even worse, the house is more than it seems.
Mr Argenton’s young cousin, Elise, draws terrifying images. Doors slam. Inhuman figures slink through the forest surrounding the house. A piano plays in the middle of the night. Blood drips from the ceilings.
Sophie is inevitably pulled towards the terrifying truth: Northwood’s ancient halls are haunted by the family’s long-dead ancestors. The malevolent spirits–produced by grisly deaths–resent her intrusion into their home.
Trapped in Northwood and desperate for an escape, Sophie’s fate is further complicated as she finds herself irrevocably drawn to the tall, dark-eyed man she married. She suspects her feelings are returned, but Mr Argenton is hiding the truth about the house–and his secrets are so dangerous that they might just be unforgivable.
This is my second Darcy Coates book and I’ve come to learn there are two things I can count on – my enjoyment of her writing style and eerie covers perfect for what’s inside.
Reading The Amityville Horror many years ago made me a fan of haunted house novels. I seem to gravitate toward them. House of Shadows has a distinct gothic feel, an aspect which adds to the creep factor in my opinion. When candles are your only souce of lighting, you never know what that light will fall on when you round a corner. Or what it might miss in the shadows.
After marrying someone she barely knows and moving far away from her family, Sophie is immediately thrust into an unwelcoming sitation with Joseph’s relatives. It’s also clear the staff are terrified of something and barely speak. Sophie initially gives off the damsel-in-distress vibe, but when her back is against the wall, she comes through when it counts.
This is a quick read, but I wouldn’t have minded it being longer. Once the climax is reached, pacing moves at break-neck speed, but the ending nicely sets up the second book.
If you’re looking for aggressive horror, this may not be the book for you, but if you enjoy some creepy-crawly moments that send chills down your spine with a touch of romance, you’ll settle in quite well with House of Shadows.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.