Three generations of Irish nobles face their family secrets in this spellbinding novel from the award-winning author of the Boleyn King trilogy.
The Gallagher family has called Deeprath Castle home for seven hundred years. Nestled in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland, the estate is now slated to become a public trust, and book lover and scholar Carragh Ryan is hired to take inventory of its historic library. But after meeting Aidan, the current Viscount Gallagher, and his enigmatic family, Carragh knows that her task will be more challenging than she’d thought.
Two decades before, Aidan’s parents died violently at Deeprath. The case, which was never closed, has recently been taken up by a new detective determined to find the truth. The couple’s unusual deaths harken back a century, when twenty-three-year-old Lady Jenny Gallagher also died at Deeprath under mysterious circumstances, leaving behind an infant son and her husband, a renowned writer who never published again. These incidents only fueled fantastical theories about the Darkling Bride, a local legend of a sultry and dangerous woman from long ago whose wrath continues to haunt the castle.
The past catches up to the present, and odd clues in the house soon have Carragh wondering if there are unseen forces stalking the Gallagher family. As secrets emerge from the shadows and Carragh gets closer to answers—and to Aidan—could she be the Darkling Bride’s next victim?
Laura Andersen has one husband, four children, and a college degree in English that she puts to non-profitable use by reading everything she can lay her hands on. Books, shoes, and travel are her fiscal downfalls, which she justifies because all three ‘take you places.’ She loves the ocean (but not sand), forests (but not camping), good food (but not cooking), and shopping (there is no downside.) She lives in Massachusetts with her family.
The Darkling Bride by Laura Andersen is 2018 Ballantine publication.
I had a feeling I’d would like this one!
A seven- hundred- year old Irish castle, multiple family tragedies, mysteries, unsolved crimes, a legendary author, an unpublished manuscript, a dash of romance, and a library to die for- Be still my heart!
This story is, in many ways, an ode to Gothic mystery and romances, especially those written back in the sixties and seventies by such acclaimed writers as Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt.
The story has three separate timelines, but while that does sound daunting, it is very easy to follow and not at all confusing. The Darkling Bride, a dangerous woman, said to haunt Deeprath Castle, is an old Irish legend. Some believe she was behind the sad and mysterious death of Jenny Gallagher back in 1880. After her death, Jenny’s husband, famed author, Ethan Chase, left his young son in the care of his wife’s family, then left Ireland a bereft and broken man. Evan never published another book.
In 1992, yet another tragedy occurred in the form of a murder/suicide, leaving young Aidan Gallagher and his sister to be raised by their staid great aunt. The circumstance surrounding the deaths was extremely murky at best and the case was never closed.
Fast forward to 2015 where Aidan has decided to put the old castle in a public trust and in the process discovers his parent’s case is still open and has been assigned to an eager cold case detective, who has requested an interview with him and the other members of his family.
Not only that, his aunt has hired Carragh Ryan to inventory the library, where there are still private family papers he doesn’t want to public to have access to. But, Carragh is also on a secret mission to find Evan Chase’s unpublished manuscript.
It’s hard for me to write a review of a book like this one without giving in to the irresistible urge to lecture on how this type of story would have been right at home forty years ago when Gothic mysteries were all the rage.
I’m worried the modern reader, who may not be familiar with that style, will misunderstand the effect the author was trying to achieve here. The writing style was different back then, and while there was a romantic element, it was not the focal point of the story. In fact, there was barely any touching or kissing, and not until the very last chapter. The pace usually started out slow, steadily increasing, building the suspense in the process. This tactic worked to create a thick atmospheric tension, as the heroine always managed to find herself in danger and unable to trust those around her, including her possible love interest. It was good stuff, I assure you.
I think the author was trying to capture some of that old magic, but unfortunately, the story is just too ambitious and falls short of the goal she was striving for.
There's just too much happening, an enormous cast, running across three timelines, even blending older Gothic elements into the mix, as well as a mystery, and historical fiction, which left the characters underdeveloped, leading to a probable disconnect with readers.
The pacing is slow, which may have been deliberate, mimicking the books the novel is obviously paying homage to, but in this case, it falls flat. Once again, it might have been more effective if the book hadn’t been so busy, but it might also be that most of us have become spoiled to a much brisker pace.
Having said that, as a HUGE fan of Victoria Holt, a name the author mentioned a couple of times in this book, I ‘got’ what the author was trying to accomplish. I understood every single nuance, every single twist, the folklore, the haunting, the suspicions, the slow burn, the chaste romance, and the untrustworthy characters. In fact, this book has me craving an old Gothic story so much, I’m planning to put everything else on hold, so I can read at least one of my VH novels, immediately, and maybe even a Mary Stewart novel, too.
While I recognize this book was not as cohesive as it needed to be, in order to really pull of that trademark sinister atmosphere, I do appreciate the effort, and loved the tribute to the Gothic genre. I’m celebrating the fact that someone out there is still reading Phyliss Whitney, Dorothy Daniels, Dorothy Eden, Joan Aiken, Mary Stewart, and Barbara Michaels, and many others, as well as the Bronte’s and other classic Gothic tales. I am also keeping my fingers crossed that interest in the genre will continue. It’s a tiny ‘mini-trend’ right now, but to my mind it’s a long overdue resurrection.
The Darkling Bride was a pleasant surprise. I really enjoyed it.
When I first picked it up, I was prepared for a straight-laced Historical Fiction novel. However, I quickly realized this is more than that.
Andersen seamlessly weaved a bit of Historical Fiction into a modern-day Murder Mystery, with just a hint of Romance.
The setting is Deeprath Castle, a stately and possibly haunted, castle in County Wicklow, Ireland.
Our protagonist, Carragh, is an archivist hired on to inventory the extensive historical library prior to the castle's potential sale.
Once there, she finds not just books, but mystery, suspense, pleasantly gothic surroundings, a potential love match, long-guarded family secrets and an unsolved murder that sees its investigation rekindled.
Throughout the book the chapters shift between present time, the late 1880s and the 1990s. We meet a full cast of Gallagher family members and friends. I loved this aspect of the book and enjoyed watching the multiple storylines converge.
Many of the characters were extremely likable and I wouldn't mind reading more about them in the future; particularly Aidan and Carragh. I know their story can't end here!
There is so much to love about this book and I am hoping that many, many readers get to enjoy it as much as I did.
A big thank you to the publisher, Ballantine Books, for giving me the opportunity to read this and provide my opinions.
A mystery based around a 700 year old Irish castle where the secrets lie within the antiquated books of its library. A bibliophile/history buff/reader’s dream scenario.
This book has a lot going on in it, and I mean A LOT. Several different mysteries and timelines with elements of police procedural, gothic, historical fiction, murder mystery, supernatural, romance, and Irish geography, history, and folklore. Phew! But somehow the author managed to make a cohesive, flowing story while incorporating all these ideas together.
I had some minor issues with the flow of the book. While it was cohesive, the constant jumping from timeline to timeline and character to character was a bit jarring for me as a reader.
Still a very entertaining read, if gothic mysteries are your thing, I encourage you to try this one out!
Thank you to Netgalley, Laura Andersen, and Ballantine Books for a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.
Atmospheric and suspenseful, this modern day gothic mystery has it all: a centuries old castle, a ghostly presence, family secrets, mysterious deaths, local legends, and yes, even a little romance. The Gallagher family has owned Deeprath Castle in Ireland for centuries, but the current owner, Aiden, has decided to sign it over to the National Trust. A young woman, Carragh Ryan, has been hired to take inventory of the castle's massive library.
Aiden’s parents died under suspicious circumstances at the castle 20 years ago, leaving him and his sister in the care of his stern Aunt Nessa. The deaths have never been solved but the case has been reopened and is is currently being investigated by local police. Adding to the mystery of the castle, in the 1800’s the wife of a famous author died under mysterious circumstances at Deeprath. Local legend has it that the Darkling Bride who haunts the castle is behind the deaths. While cataloguing the libraries contents, Carragh finds clues that may be the key to solving the mysterious deaths. She and Aiden team up to uncover long buried secrets.
There was a lot going on with three story lines set in three different time periods, as well as a current police investigation. Unfortunately, it was just a bit too much. As a result, character development suffered, and the requisite romance was lukewarm and unconvincing. Everything started to merge together and I sometimes found it difficult to keep all the stories straight. I would have preferred if the book had focused on only one or two of the plot lines. I would recommend this one for ardent fans of gothic fiction!
*thanks to Netgalley, Ballantine Publishing, and Laura Anderson for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review
Carragh Ryan loves books and she is hired to catalog the library at the castle. She claims she is there for the books, but she becomes entangled in legends, a murder mystery, and more. ~ This one has an intriguing story line, but a confusing timeline (three) and quite a few characters turned out to be too distracting. I think a faster pace and less detailed accounts of the backstory would have made this more enjoyable. I struggled with the writing style, but loved the story elements and atmosphere created. ~ If you’re in the mood for a gothic mystery with tons of surprises, then check this one out! Netgalley provided Arc for review.
Once upon a time, many of us would have loved to live in an Irish castle with its ghosts, secret rooms, hidden passages, and a very long history. For the Gallagher family tracing back hundreds of years that was their life. They had lived in a castle, they had experienced its tragedies, they had and were becoming a part of its history. Many things had transpired over those years and if the walls of the castle Deeprath, oh, the stories they would tell.
Now, the castle is being turned over to the public trust and so an accounting must be made of it many holdings especially those contained within its enormous library. Carragh Ryan is hired to do the job. She meets the family, the handsome dashing current Viscount Aidan, his severe Aunt Nessa, his sister and brother in law. All of them are always at odds with one another and Carragh seems to be headed for some unforeseeable trouble.
For Aidan and his sister, Deeprath castle was a place of tragedy, a place where their parents brutally died, perhaps even killed by the ghost of the Darkling Bride who seems to be both a legend and possibly a reality. Tragically another woman, Jenny Gallagher also lost her life at Deeprath many years prior to the Aidan's parents and she too seemed to fall under the influence of the Darkling Bride. So the mystery of why and how these people died is the basis of this novel.
This story is atmospherically told, having many moments of mystery intertwined into the history of the castle. However, at times, the story seemed to meander a bit and be a bit too murky and long winded. In spite of that, it was a fun read for those who enjoy a mysterious castle, a family with secrets, and an historical look into the past.
Thanks you to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for providing an advanced copy of this novel.
If you have the years on you or simply enjoy pulling some older dusty books off the library shelves, you might remember older gothic-flavored romantic suspenses by Mary Stewart or Victoria Holt or Daphne DuMaurier. I loved their writing that gave one a little chill, a harrowing adventure for a heroine, and a nice bit of legend or history altogether. I say all that to share the fact that The Darklling Bride set in the mountains of County Wicklow, Ireland belongs in that illustrious group.
The Darkling Bride starts the reader in the present day when beginner scholar, Carragh Ryan, is invited to take a three-week temp job that is the job of her dreams- a chance to go to a real Irish castle and seat of the Gallagher family, catalogue the library, and maybe, just maybe find a lost manuscript by an intriguing Victorian novelist who was one of the great.
From there, Carragh discovers there is an unsolved murder from twenty years before and hints of a dark cursed history associated with Deeprath Castle and the Gallaghers. The decision by Aidan Gallagher to put the castle and its contents into the hands of the National Trusts stirs up the past and now Carragh and Aidan must discover the secrets of the past to keep darkness from stirring once again.
There are flashbacks to two earlier time lines that help fill in what came before as answers are discovered one by one. The author instilled a foreboding atmosphere and an eerie sense that the supernatural is close even though I was never sure about that. Just like, when the family gathers, I was never sure who was innocent or guilty- or should I say, whose secrets were pertinent to the murders and castle secrets. Even Carragh, a stranger in the midst has her secrets and ties to the family.
I enjoyed that several genre elements were present- gothic, suspense, romance, and historical fiction. There are personal journeys that Carragh and Aidan and even the police officer are on to make peace with their own pasts, but also their budding interest in each other and, of course, the murders in the past.
There was a nice bit of local flavor, legend, and history, but it was organic to the story so that it never felt too much or distracting. There is also a sense of connection and fun wink to several great romantic suspense writers from before so that the writing felt familiar even though this was my first time reading Laura Andersen's work.
So, this was a wonderful, riveting read that I can definitely recommend who love the old style mildly chilling romantic suspenses.
My thanks to Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
The past catches up to the present, and odd clues in the house soon have Carragh wondering if there are unseen forces stalking the Gallagher family. As secrets emerge from the shadows and Carragh gets closer to answers—and to Aidan—could she be the Darkling Bride’s next victim?
A seven hundred year old family castle is home to intrigue, mystery, deceit and death. Three generations of one family will be forever lashed together in history when dark secrets are revealed and wicked machinations in the name of “family” expose what the human mind is capable of. Carragh has been hired to catalog an ancient family library, but what she unwittingly discovers will forever change both the past and the future of the Gallagher family.
THE DARKLING BRIDE by Laura Andersen marries mystery and murder together with an atmosphere that brings the smell of old books and the grit of untold secrets to life. Gothic in its feel, dark and tense, Ms. Andersen delivers a fabulous mystery set in the haunting backdrop of an ancient castle in the Ireland. Perfect reading for a dark and stormy night! Proof that if the walls could talk, secrets will be told.
I received a complimentary ARC edition from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine!
That my friends is the poorly rendered sound of a very happy and very satisfied reader. There's something truly, deeply enjoyable about a good, old fashioned gothic mystery. When its also brilliantly written and full of well crafted characters and delicious historical tidbits all the better!
We're introduced to Carragh Ryan, a twenty something recent college grad who's looking for a purpose in life and a little cash flow to fix up the Scottish brownstone she's just been willed by her beloved grandma. Almost on a whim she applies for a position as an archivist for the library of Deeprath Castle, an ancient and noble estate that is about to become the property of the National Trust. Carragh is to catalog the books and ascertain whether anything of value to the family is within the huge library. But what she is also doing (on her own) is searching for an elusive manuscript written by favorite author of her and her grandmother who once stayed at the castle and who's wife died under very mysterious circumstances a hundred years before. It is rumored that book is the story of the darkling bride, a figure of local legend from centuries past who supposedly haunts the castle seeking recompense for her own murder.
Upon her arrival she is immediately caught up in the modern day mystery of the present occupants of the estate, Nessa the venerable and cold matriarch of the family and her niece and nephew Kyra and Aidan who she has raised ever since their parents horrendous and unsolved deaths. It isn't long before Carragh and Aidan catch each others attention and a mysterious and violent enemy begins to make it clear they do not want any of these mysteries solved.
Its no mean feat that Anderson ably handles three completely separate and wildly different time periods. She also effortlessly connects each individual story to the others as she establishes the dangers of placing too much value on a family name rather than the family itself. Its honestly amazing to read about each incarnation of Deeprath castle, which is just as much of a character as the people who live there.
Where this differs slightly from more traditional gothic mystery writing is in its characters, all of whom are very believable. Even the worst of them turn out to have some redeeming qualities and in some cases are clearly haunted and wretched over the things they've done. This is a book where the "why" is just as important as the "who." In fact the entire point of the story hinges on it.
This was a deeply engrossing read that I simply couldn't put down till I'd finished it. Its full of wonderful historical descriptions of the wilds of Scotland and populated with richly drawn people. There are enough shocking family secrets and mysterious spectral apparitions and ghostly goings on to satisfy any fan of classic mysteries but its tinged with just enough real human emotion and reaction to make the reader fully invest in the more emotional components of the story. Anderson tackles issues of grief and loyalty with just as much style as she does ghost brides and secret passages. I cared about these characters, every single one of them.
A delightful, dark, and just a tad romantic read that I was very sorry to finish!
This book took me by surprise! I was thinking it would be a comfortable historical fiction novel I would enjoy and it was so much more. The atmosphere is very Victorian Gothic. The story was non-stop in a good way. I couldn't get enough of this book! I need this physically on my bookshelf!
First of all everything is centered on a gorgeous 700 year old Irish castle. Then there's the legend of The Darkling Bride, a ghost who stirs up all kinds of trouble if the legends are true. Then there's the murder mysteries. They seem to line up every hundred years for the past three hundred years. Carragh gets caught up in it all by agreeing to catalog the extensive book collection at the castle and meets the son of one of the murder victims. Now she's trying to figure out everything and trying not to fall in love with Aiden. Will justice be served or will murder and mayhem strike again?
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Such a fun book to read! If you like Kate Morton's books, you will definitely like this one. This one is perfect to read on a rainy day and it is suspenseful as you try to figure out the mystery of who did it. I hope Andersen writes more books like this one!
The Gallagher family has called Deeprath Castle home for seven hundred years. Nestled in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland, the estate is now slated to become a public trust, and book lover and scholar Carragh Ryan is hired to take inventory of its historic library.
I finished this book a couple of days ago and have been stewing over how to review. How do you review a book that you just didn’t connect to, but yet I couldn’t put it down?
While, very much lacking in character development, except Carragh, it was a nice read full of mystery, a complex family, a little romance and a castle with a ghost or two. There are three times lines 1879, 1972 and current day, a little much but not confusing. I think what didn’t work for me, is that I was hoping for more romance than what I got. The mystery, or should I say mysteries, took front and center. Which normally is my preference but in this instance I wanted that romance.
So, while a very enjoyable read it was just not for me.
Thank you NetGalley, Ballentine Books and author for a free advanced e-book copy for an honest review.
We have a winner! Anderson wrote the PERFECT Gothic - Mystery novel. I was so absorbed that I did not skim or skip a single word. If you loved Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, or Daphne du Maurier, you will love this one too. The whole gothic atmosphere with suspense, and feelings of impending doom, and multiple mysteries interwoven was superb and so enjoyable. Excellent writing and story telling skills. I only wish more authors would go back to writing novels like this.
I've wanted to read this book for ages and I finally bit the bullet, paid the 'too high' price and enjoyed an absolutely brilliant read. It's set in Ireland, which drew me in I have to say, as it's nice reading about places you know. It's set in a castle, another plus as we have some beautiful ones over here. It's set in three time lines which I adore. I read these books for the historical parts as I don't read contemporary novels but the historical parts were less in evidence than I would have liked. However, the modern day story was very good and I found myself really invested in it. From start to finish the mystery takes centre stage without ever losing it's interest for the reader. It's dark, gothic and disturbing at times. I didn't guess until the very end who it was that caused all the mayhem but I thought how fitting and satisfying. You do have to concentrate on this book as there are a lot of characters to follow and dates and happenings and so on. One thing grated on me a bit throughout the read, the author kept referring to our Gardai as the Siochana Garda and it's actually the other way around. Just a small annoyance but I'd highly recommend this book.
This was a highly enjoyable dark murder mystery. When I first requested this egalley, I was drawn in by the gothic style elements that were present and what bibliophile doesn't like a book that involves books? Especially one set in an irish, gothic, and historical library setting. We also got to enjoy a gothic style romance with a lot of dark mysterious paranormal elements including the descriptions of an Irish Castle library and the rest of the 200 year old castle's secret rooms. This was quite the magnificent tale and the all the characters(including the dead ones ( were enjoyable.The only issue I had with this book was the romance felt a bit off and little forced. Overall, I enjoyed this novel with fantastic characters, a great plot and a gorgeous setting! Highly recommended! I want to thank NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. I appreciate this opportunity and all views and opinions expressed are my own.
I was under the impression that to be a published writer of some success, you had to have at least an eight grader’s knowledge of English grammar. Thank you (I guess) Laura Andersen, for proving me wrong. Now, please go to the board and write this 1 trillion times:
I will learn about Subject–verb agreement. I will learn about Subject-verb agreement. I will learn about Subject–verb agreement.
Any enjoyment I could have gotten out of your quite atmospheric Gothic story, Laura, died an early death after realizing that this book was proofread by a professional editor who earns three times my salary and therefore, has “visited London, and Paris, and other chic European cities” and has “ a fireplace so large it could have roasted a whole cow.”
I can’t remember who recommended this book to me, but fuck you very much.
PS: A person’s cause of death cannot be “a blunt instrument to the head”. Jesus H. Christ, Laura and Overpaid Editor. Jesus H. Christ.
PPS: The aforementioned victim’s “cause of death of blunt instrument to the head” (🤡🥴) was apparently originally supposed to be a gunshot wound, since there’s a scene where they find “the gun” and then that gun is never mentioned again. Jesus H. Christ, Laura and Overpaid Editor. Jesus H. Christ.
3.5 Stars for me. A Gothicky read about the Gallagher family who have owned Deeprath Castle and the sinister secrets the castle seems to hold. After much contemplation Aidan Gallagher has come back home to sell his birth right (Deeprath Castle), his parents having been murdered in the castle when he was a child and the case never solved brings forth a new young detective wanting to solve the murders. In a connected storyline there was another mystery surrounding young bride, Jenny Gallagher who died in the late 1800's at the castle as well. As Aidan begins tying up loose ends with the castle his elderly and tyrannical aunt hires Carragh Ryan to archive the family's extensive library when she begins to experience odd happenings as she looks into the case of Jenny Gallagher's death as well as the deaths of Aidan's parents. I liked the gothic feel of this read but about 3/4 of the way I felt it lagged a bit and was losing it's momentum for me but all in all this a good read for those who like gothic, mysterious reads.
Thanks to NetGalley and author Laura Anderson for providing me a copy for my review.
Knyga staigmena. Kodėl? Nes viršelis labai apgaulingas. Žvilgtelėjus atrodo, jog tai bus saldi meilės istorija (kurios nėra mano mėgstamiausiųjų sąraše ), bet atsivertus supranti, jog tai gerokai daugiau nei tik “meilės seilės”! Pirmieji puslapiai įtraukia į senos giminės istoriją, paslapčių užkaborius ir pilies saugančios pačias slapčiausias ir tamsiausias kerteles. Airijos slėnyje įsikūrusi Diprajaus pilis, kilminga Galagerių šeima, kuri jau 700 metų neapleidžia pilies, kurią išdidžiai vadina savo namais, ir jauna literatūros žinovė Kara Rajan, atvykusi suregistruoti bibliotekos knygų. Ją pakvietė su tikslu, ji atvyko, taip pat su tikslu… kuo viskas baigsis kai iš praeities pradeda lysti praeities “vaiduokliai” ir įsikiša Meilė? Be galo patiko su herojais klaidžioti senovinės pilies koridoriais, bandant atskleisti paslapčių uždangą. Tai ir istorinis romanas, ir detektyvas, tad intrigos netrūksta, veiksmas veja veiksmą ir tikrai nėra kada nuobodžiauti. Kas pakišo koją – tai visko per DAUG! Visi veikėjai tarpusavyje susiję, visi turi kažkokių užmačių kitų atžvilgiu ir istorija gaunasi perkrauta. Skaitant susidaro toks jausmas, kad Airijoje gyvena vos kelios šeimos ir jos visos būtinai turi būti susijusios. Jei autorė būtų atsisakiusi kelių “dramų” tikrai nebūtų pagadinę vaizdo Apibendrinant – man knyga tikrai patiko. O dar tai, kad skaičiau ją per savo atostogas, o poilsiui ši knyga tobula! Lengvai skaitoma, įtraukianti ir įdomi. O ko atostogoms dar reikia?
Deeprath Castle in the Wicklow Mountains near Glendalough has been in the Gallagher family since the 12th century. The current Viscount, Aidan, has decided to sign it over to the National Trust over everyone's protests. It holds bad memories for him as his parents were murdered there 23 years ago when he was 10 and this visit was the first time he has returned since then.
Young Carragh Ryan is hired to archive the extensive private library. An enigma herself, she is of Chinese descent adopted by Irish parents when she was 4. She is completely fascinated by the history as famed Gothic novelist, Evan Chase, came to the castle, married the daughter of that viscount, and never wrote again. His wife committed suicide in 1882 about three years after their marriage. He left his young son there and returned to England dying several years later.
The story revolves those three stories- Jenny and Evan in 1882, the time of the murder of Aidan's parents in 1992 and current times where they are trying to uncover the parents murderers. The castle is full of treasures, history and ghosts.
It was slow starting but once the story went along and the action picked up, it became much more interesting. I also liked all the history of the area and the story of St. Kevin. For those who like atmospheric novels, this is a good one.
Thanks to Net Galley for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
"And then... disaster. In the shape - as so often in men's recounting of history - a woman." The Darkling Bride is a glorious romp through Irish myth and legend, and I really couldn't put it down. It's not my usual cup o' tea, so to speak, but I am so glad that I requested a review copy and had that request granted! I have no doubt it will be the best Adult fiction title I read this year. Who wouldn't be sucked in by a generations-old myth come to life in an ancient castle in the middle of nowhere Ireland? Especially when you throw in a heavy dose of family secrets and covered-up scandals, and then sprinkle in a dash (or two) of slow burning Victorian romance?
Like I said, it'll hook you. "And that's what crimes were: stories. Of lust and love and anger and hate, of boredom and alcohol and principle."
I am a sucker for a bookworm, and Carragh was no exception to that rule. I found her to be an engaging protagonist and I couldn't blame her at all for taking a job at a supposedly haunted castle in order to try to hunt down a long lost manuscript by her favorite author (formerly a resident and victim of a terrible scandal that prevented him from ever finishing the book he was writing while there). I would have done the same. And, of course, she gets quite a bit more than she bargained for because Deeprath Castle has secrets woven into its' very bones, secrets that are begging to be uncovered. But there is someone out there who will do anything to stop those secrets from seeing the light of day.
There is quite a bit of mystery here, but it's not as scary as I was afraid it would be, something I'm grateful for as I like to be able to sleep at not. Instead, the mystery is more unnerving than terrifying, I appreciated that.
I also really liked the use of magical realism (I won't go into it because I don't want to spoil anything) and I was absolutely shocked by some of the discoveries made along the way to this book's conclusion. And not just the ones pertaining to The Infamous Gallagher Family, either. Carragh's got some interesting nuggets hidden away as well.
Overall, excellently executed mystery, in a lush setting, and abounding in gorgeous prose.
This audiobook was lots of fun and kicked off my month of reading spooky stories. It's got everything you could want in a gothic story -- a crumbling Irish castle, ghosts, murders (or maybe suicides?), curses, a bit of romance. Yes, it can be hard to follow the time shifts, and yes, there are an awful lot of characters to keep up with. I didn't care. This book has a marvelous sense of place that kept me hooked.
I hope that Laura Anderson writes more books like this one, but for now I'm off to Transylvania with Deanna Raybourn in The Dead Travel Fast.
This was such an enjoyable read! Telling the story of one family's history over several hundred years it included a wonderful castle that became a character of the book, amazing landscapes, interesting history, great characters, a bit of romance and a mystery that kept me guessing. It had all the components of a great book that I love and it definitely delivered a really great read. Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
I wanted to read this book as soon as I saw the description. A haunted castle? Irish folklore? A giant library? A dark and brooding viscount? Yes, please!
When Carragh Ryan interviews for a job inventorying an ancient family library, she has no idea what lies before her. From the snooty matriarch, Nessa, to the frosty heir, Aiden, and his bitter sister, Kyla, the Gallagher family seems anything but welcoming. Carragh determines to enjoy her time in the magnificent stained-glass window-lined library, get the job done, and get out. But the re-opening of the investigation into the murder of Aiden's parents two decades earlier stirs up family secrets and appears to provoke the Darkling Bride. Through a series of flashbacks, we learn of the legend of the Darkling Bride, the tragic tale of Jenny Gallagher and Evan Chase, and the details of the fateful summer leading up to Lily and Cillian Gallagher's deaths. When unexplained happenings begin occurring in the castle, and Carragh finds herself at the mercy of two spirits--one that seems to want to help her solve the mystery of what happened to Aiden's parents and one that seems to want her gone--Carragh determines to find the clues she is sure are hidden in the library. But as she gets closer to the truth, someone--or something--will stop at nothing to keep the truth from coming to light.
This book and I got off to a rocky start. After seeing so many good reviews for the author's Tudor series, the contemporary romance style of writing was not what I was expecting, nor were the characters. But the mystery of the Darkling Bride and the castle's murders soon had me hooked. Then I was thrown again by the numerous points of view that kept popping up and the fact that we had three timelines to keep track of. But I soon saw how these could all work together. But then I was thrown again by a plot twist. I got to the point where I wondered how much more the author was going to throw into this story and how it could possibly be satisfying beneath the weight of so many elements. But it worked . . . mostly.
I can't quite put my finger on why, but this book ended up being just ho-hum for me. This is the type of book that sounds amazing in theory but gets a little lost in its execution. I enjoyed the Irish setting and the folklore tales, and it's got a great Gothic vibe going on, but it was fairly predictable. I can't say that I felt like I really got to know any of the characters, and I also felt like Carragh getting chosen for the job in the first place was a coincidence, so it never really felt like she was fated to be there. A couple of questions related to the mystery weren't answered when everything wrapped up, and there really is no romance to speak of. Just a couple of stolen kisses that could likely be due to being in such close proximity for an extended time. I would have appreciated something more concrete.
Still, it is a very evocative tale with a nice combination of history, mystery, and spookiness, and I was flying through the final pages to see how everything would shake out. If you're a fan of Irish folklore and are looking for something a little different in historical mystery, The Darkling Bride should fit the bill.
The Darkling Brife is a gothic ghost story that spans several hundred years, all in a mysterious castle hidden in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland. Deeprath Castle has been in the Gallagher family for over seven hundred years, and is now being given up to a public trust. The family has brought in a young woman to catalogue their extravagant family library.
From the beginning this pulled me into the mystery of the castle and into the secretive families world. The rumors have always circulated about the castle and its happenings over the course of history, but when Carragh Ryan start her cataloguing, she learns she is in for more than she bargained for. The letters found hold secrets from long ago, but those secrets also play into the current things going on and make for one suspenseful and creepy tale of love and tragedy.
Aiden, who is one the last of the Gallagher family, has wanted nothing to do with the place, and has relunctly agreed to help Carragh. There is a connection between them, which I enjoyed, but the mystery of this castle alone was enthralling. I think it in itself was a character, the things it witnessed, the mysterious Darkling Bride herself, the secrets and truths it held was so fascinating. Anderson definitely wove a ghostly mystery set in a beautifully gothic and perfect setting. This is one author I will certainly be on the lookout for more from.