Thank you NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the opportunity to read this book. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
Synopsis: Sophie and Joseph’s escape from Northwood is short-lived. The beast survived, and attached itself to Joseph’s young cousin, Elise.
Garrett writes to beg for their help. Joseph and Sophie travel to meet him at Kensington, a long-abandoned mansion that overlooks a dead town.
The house offers a small hope: its original owner had dedicated her life to researching the monster that possesses Elise. Garrett hopes to find a way to kill the creature without harming his daughter.
But Kensington is a dangerous building. Once the carriage leaves, they’re trapped inside the collapsing walls and forced to confront the horrors within.
Shrouded figures stalk them. Whispers echo through the night. Unmarked graves dot the property.
And the dead are not as restful as they seem… (Amazon)
Publication Date: May 12, 2016
Genre: Romance / Gothic / Horror
Rating: 2 stars
***BEWARE POSSIBLE SPOILERS***
While House of Shadows saved itself with its second half of story, House of Secrets was not as lucky.
One of the things that sorted itself out in this duology was Sophie's character. Someone who began as a meek, weak and mousy being turned into a stronger and more confident version of herself. That seems to have completely crumbled in the second book. Sophie spends so much of the story obsessing about how much, or how little, her husband might care for her, that this all that occupies her mind.
She finds out that the Grimlock is not dead.
She finds out that Elise's life is in danger.
She confronts and sees the danger they all face at the new setting of Kensington house, with its secrets, and its hauntings, and its dead bodies... And still, her constant internal monologue about Joseph's feelings, or lack thereof, occupy most of her attention.
Coupled with this, I did not feel the sense of urgency that House of Shadows eventually built up to. Yes, there were a few tense moments here and there—the chase from the town alongside Elise to escape the dead, the fight with the Grimlock, Sophie's discovery of Elise's fall—but overall, it was a steady stream of “not much happening”.
I was glad to see the author's inclusion of Bishop's ghost in the story, especially since she and the legacy of her studies are main reason the characters converge in her house, but more often than not I felt like she derailed from the main plot. And whatever spooks and scares were given to us in the first novel barely showed their faces in this one.
The end of the Grimlock was not only inevitable but foreseen, and though it happened in a very rushed fashion, I was at least gratified by the fact that it was Elise who brought it about. She was due her own pound of flesh.