I love reading everything from fantasy to historical romances. On a constant quest for more books to read.
House of Vengeance
The Hag's Head Inn had a reputation for evil that even a modern young woman like pretty Kathleen Bodmun couldn't deny. And while she didn't believe in ghosts, Kate had to admit that the abandoned inn, with its history of gruesome murder, was not the ideal place to establish a school for young ladies, But the asking price was certainly low, and besides, Sir Nicholas Everett, the local magistrate, had so infuriated her at their first meeting the she was becoming resolved to purchase the old place just because he disapproved of the idea.
Yet the mor she becamse entangled wit the handsome Sir Nicholas, the more Kate began to wonder why he really didn't want her to buy the inn. could the rumors be right? Was Sir Nicholas the murderer of the woman who had beeen found slaughtered there twelve years before - the woman who had loved Nicholas but married another man?
Kate was determined to learn the truth, for despite their disagreements, she knew she was falling in love with Nicholas. So she bravely set out to prove the gossips wrong, but instead Kate found herself walking into a deadly trap - marked as the next victim of the vengeful ghost at Hag's Head Inn....
This book was scary!
It all starts with the heroine Kathleen Bodmun running around on the moors looking for a stray kitten and getting caught in a rainstorm. She is forced to seek shelter in a nearby building,wich turns out to be an old abandoned inn.
Looks cozy doesnt it?
At once she feels that there isnt something quite right about the place..a sinister atmosphere,and what is that strange tapping sound?
She is further scared when a man appears and wonders what the hell she is doing there
Feeling quite embarrassed at her state (drenched by the storm) she exclaims that she might think about buying the old inn for her girls school at wich the man seems displeased.
She returns to the place where she is staing with an old friend of her mothers and the womans granddaughter who for no reason dislikes Kathleen.
Turns out the man she encountered was Sir Anthony and that the inn Old Hags Head belonged to the old ladys daughter it was partially burned down after she was found murdered in the cellar.The one suspected of doing it was the daughters husband.
The local people claims that it was the Old Hag who did it though and that you can see her prowling the moors at night.
Things are further complicated when the dead daughters husband Patrick turns up and Kathleen by a various of circumstances finds herself returning to the inn.
You have to suspend disbelief at some things,like how often the heroine finds herself alone (without a chaperone) with some man or how plausible it would be for a 17 year old girl to try to start up a girls school. But I decided to put those thoughts aside and just immerse myself in the story
I also had some inkling about what was behind the strange going ons but that didnt stop me from being genuinely freaked out by what the heroine experienced. Its just something about the way the author described it that made it so creepy.
Especially evocative is when the heroine is stalked by something she thinks is a wild dog and flees for her life in fear. She is found by Sir Anthony and taken to his home where she is put in bed to recover...and then she glances out the window and sees a figure crawling over the moors towards the house....
Now thats what I call the right gothic spirit!
But it did have its flaws apart from those i mentioned.
The romance on the other hand isnt that strong. The hero remains a mystery throughout and the age difference and the speed wich the heroine realizes her feeling did some to keep me from believing in it fully. And his incessant use of "child" in reference to the heroine also does its bit.
A funny thing that I have to mention is that this takes place on the Yorkshire moors and the heroine hails from Cornwall-the other place where so many gothics take place.
I couldnt help but think that the author was making a point there.
If youre looking for a truly scary gothic this is it.
I recommend it..but also that you dont read it late at night. Otherwise your imagination might start playing tricks on you...
Ive discovered that quite a lot of titles by Virginia Coffman is available for Kindle on Amazon. Sadly not "Black Heather" but there are used copies available.