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In the Shadow of Croft Towers

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  626 ratings  ·  240 reviews
From debut author Abigail Wilson comes a mysterious Regency tale of secrets and spies, love and treachery.

Orphaned Sybil Delafield jumps at the opportunity for a position at the mysterious Croft Towers. She believes she was hired to act as companion to a dying woman, but a highway robbery and a hostile welcome from the Chalcroft family cause her to wonder if she was actual
Paperback, 336 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by Thomas Nelson (first published January 2019)
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)
“Everyone at the Towers had a secret. Every. Single. Person.”

My first read of 2019 has gotten the year off to a very good start indeed! What a fabulous debut novel! Intrigue, secrets, romance, deception, murder, did I mention romance? My readerly heart sighed blissfully all the way through this delicious story.

Sybil is a compelling heroine, an orphan swept into a household filled with secrets, a lady’s companion caught in the awkward middle ground between family and servant. Her charge – Mrs. Ch
Paula Shreckhise
This is a stunning debut novel by Abigail Wilson. It has all the elements of a good gothic romance.
Sybil Delafield is an orphan but has been gifted with a good education by an anonymous donor. She is summoned to Croft Towers by Mrs Chalcroft to be a companion. She is eager to find a connection to her past at the old estate, but finds herself embroiled in the politics of the times. Who can she trust?
While written in first person, it is easy to get lost in these pages. The prose flows poetically.
In the Shadow of Croft Towers is a mysterious and satisfying debut. Intrigue abounds in this story. From the mystery of Sybil Delafield’s past to the cast of characters who are not quite as they first appear, Croft Towers is shrouded in secrets. Sybil’s auspicious journey to The Towers, in which her coach is robbed by highwaymen, is only a foreshadowing of the twists to come.

Croft Towers has a personality all its own. Both a danger and a sanctuary for Sybil, it contains an unexplained connection
Rachel McMillan
Read for Endorsement:

A sensory delight. With a keen eye for historical detail, Abigail Wilson spins a beautiful tale of intrigue, espionage and romance set amidst a world that will put readers yearning for Thornfield Hall or Northanger Abbey completely at home. Blending the unputdownable Regency flair of Georgette Heyer with the intricate plotting of Julie Klassen, Wilson not only places herself competently amidst beloved authors but carves out a unique place of her own.
Read for endorsement. 😍

What a deliciously satisfying debut from Abigail Wilson! In the Shadow of Croft Towers is everything I love in a novel: a classic gothic feel from very well written first person storytelling, a regency setting, a mysterious hero... and secrets abounding! In the Shadow of Croft Towers is now counted as one of my very favorite books, and I can’t wait for more from this new author!
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
Delightful debut! I was quickly drawn into the mystery surrounding Sybil's parentage and the activities at Croft Towers. Beginning the novel with a stage coach robbery was attention grabbing.

This novel contains a cast full of complex characters, plenty of intrigue and a dash of romance. I thoroughly enjoyed In the Shadow of Croft Towers. Bravo to Abigail for a stunning debut!

My gratitude to Thomas Nelson for a complimentary copy of the novel. I was not required to post a review and all opinions
I’m reviewing this as a secular book as there was nothing overtly Christian about it until the author's acknowledgements at the end. But was it clean? Yes. Were there storylines that were uncomfortable? Maybe...
- A few kissing scenes that were chaste in my estimation.
- Mild expletives like "blast or blasted" or "drat". I don’t really find them offensive, but some might.
- Two murders you don’t see, but hear about
- A stage coach robbery at gun point
- A main character getting shot
- A main cha
Karen R
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“The more difficult the journey, the sweeter the reward.”
A complex plot, mystery and a bit of romance spice up this Regency era tale set at an old manor in rural England. It is told through the first person viewpoint of the heroine, Sybil, a young woman sent from school to be a companion to an elderly woman. A colorful cast of characters surrounds her and everyone seems to be hiding something. It kept me guessing along with Sybil who could be trusted, and where the twisted path of seeking the t
Amanda Geaney
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am not keen on romance novels unless they are loaded with suspense or historical intrigue—this book has both! Wilson’s debut is remarkably well-crafted and her imagery rapidly transported me into the dark and drafty corridors of Croft Towers. The promise of discovering the contents of Mrs. Chalcroft’s secret missives along with her odd fascination with Sybil would have been enough to compel me to keep reading. Toss in highwaymen, murder, and rumors of espionage, and this was a book I couldn’t ...more
Cara Putman
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sybil Delafield's arrival at Croft Towers is marred by highwaymen stopping the mail carriage she's riding. Then when one of the highwaymen shows up at the estate she's working at, she's not sure who to trust. Thus begins a novel that gently tugged me through its pages with a story and characters that engaged me. Sybil just wants to know who she is and why she's sent on mysterious errands. Add the hints of romance with not one but two men, and it is an intriguing story. This was an enjoyable Rege ...more
Melissa Tagg
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book! The voice, especially, hooked me right from the beginning. I don't always love first-person POV. Sometimes it can feel like you're being told the story—narrated to—rather than feeling like you're actually experiencing everything right along with the characters. But that wasn't the case with this novel. The voice reminded me somewhat of Julianne Donaldson...I was sucked right in! I loved the action in the beginning, the sense of mystery and intrigue...and of course, the roman ...more
Jan 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This was a Gothic regency that was a bit much for me. I enjoyed most of it. The mystery I thought I had figured out and then got thrown completely off track and then figured some of it out. Lots of the end was a surprise to me tho and I liked that a lot. It was a fun story line and the characters were interesting. The part that could have been more developed was the romance. It was just there all the sudden. The mystery and the stupidity of the leading lady got a little old. It drug a little for ...more
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

Loved this debut novel and can't wait to see what this author writes next. Filled with suspense and secrets, and I loved the first person narrative.
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“In the Shadow of Croft Towers,” from debut author Abigail Wilson, has easily become one of my favorite books of 2018! I love a good Gothic romance and this book is certainly just that. Ms. Wilson is very good at setting the Gothic tone.

The story starts off with danger and a highway robbery during a storm. I was hooked! Our hesitant heroine, Sybil, arrives at house shrouded in mystery and secrets. There are all the elements for a perfect Gothic read in this story: mysterious rooms, hidden motiv
Beth Erin
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Full review on

The setting has a cold, damp, and dreary atmosphere and I was completely lost within the pages of this story. The majority of the plot is shrouded in mystery and various characters wear that particular figurative cloak with intelligence and subtlety. Readers who enjoy an underdog hero or heroine to encourage on his or her way will be completely smitten with Sybil as she seeks to unravel the tangled web and discern who is worthy of her trust and perhaps affecti
Chautona Havig
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Shadow Knows the Best Thing about This Book
There are a lot of excellent things about In the Shadow of Croft Towers, but I’ll get to them in a minute. I want to throw out the things that bothered me and get them out of the way before I get to the good stuff—the really good stuff.

First, there were a few words that jumped out as out of place. I don’t know if it was a thing back then, but I suspect it was. Americans wear pants. The English wear trousers or breeches. While this was an ARC, I can’
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Eeeeppp...Regency...Gothic...Mystery....Danger....Romance....I....I....I...can't find the words. In the Shadow of Croft Towers is speechless redefined! Truly indescribably good.

I was riveted from the very first sentence -- "I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had never learned the truth." Wilson creates the moody ambiance of a classic Gothic novel to sweet perfection. From highwaymen to an ancestral home shrouded in mystery and everyone who lives there harbors secrets. And I me
Deborah O'Carroll
(Review originally posted here, with Bookstagram photos!)

Set in Regency England, IN THE SHADOW OF CROFT TOWERS is a delightful mix of Regency romance and murder mystery.

Sybil Delafield travels to Croft Towers to become a companion to the old woman who owns the estate, and finds that nearly everyone at the mansion and nearby town has secrets, including Mr. Sinclair. As the mysteries and shadows deepen, Sybil doesn’t know who to trust, even as she begins unraveling the secrets of her own past.

Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Right and wrong are not always easy to define in the world we live in, my dear.”

Sybil Delafield only wants answers to her past. As remarkable as it sounds, she knows they are somehow tied to Lord Stanton and the Croft Towers, therefore she gladly accepts the position as companion to the Lady Croft.

As naive as Sybil May seem, she astute enough to know there’s much going on in the towers then meets the eyes, and her list of questions only grow upon arrival. The answers, however, seem with each pa
Miranda Atchley
Austen and Brontë meet in this sparkling debut, culminating in a thrilling Gothic mystery that Regency fans won’t want to miss.

With an atmosphere as mysterious as its plot, In the Shadow of Croft Towers transports readers to Regency England with a story of mistaken identity, espionage, and murder. The mystery slowly unfolds, taking many twists and turns over the course of the book. Just when you think you’ve figured everything out, another truth is revealed, another layer to the mystery is uncov
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

"Everyone at the Towers had a secret. Every. Single. Person. And I could do nothing but claw my through their web of lies."

Arriving at Croft Towers had been a harrowing experience for Sybil Delafield; her coach having been ransacked by masked highwaymen along the way. Her new position as a companion to the elderly matron of the estate was a bit curious to begin with, for her own heritage was somehow tied into the history of the Towers. But how can she possibly find the answers to her ow
Dana Michael
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It had all the essentials I want to read in a story. It had mystery, intrigue and romance to keep me up late in the night turning the pages. I was biting my nails several times and not able to breathe in certain scenes. The ending was amazing. By the way, the hero, Sinclair is my new book boyfriend.
This author is new to me and I will certainly be following her for more books in the future.
* I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Op
Nora St Laurent
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This author seized my imagination at her opening lines, “I often wondered what my life would have been like if I had never learned the truth. I wouldn’t have set off as I did for Croft Towers. I never would have met him.”

Immediately the author brilliantly sets a haunting- mysterious tone to her debut novel as Sybil Delafield leaves the only home and security she’s ever known and heads off to be a companion to a sick Mrs. Chalecroft. Sybil wasn’t a servant or part of the family so things were a b
What a wonderful debut! I need to clear some room on my bookshelves for a new author. It did not take long to draw me into the story filled with enough intrigue and romance to please this reader's heart. With an unexpected twist at the end, this story filled with highwaymen, spies, and family secrets will appeal to fans of Gothic romance. Wilson's original voice, attention to historical detail and vivid setting draw her reader's into a story that deserves to be placed on a keeper shelf. I look f ...more
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review, 2019
In the Shadow of Croft Towers by Abigail Wilson | Book Review

STORY | When a young lady has  no social prospects or hope of a dowry, she must find a position that offers her some sense of safety. Following the end of her school days, this is precisely what Sybil Delafield does. With the help of the school, she secures a position as companion to a lady whose health isn’t what it once was. But on her way there, danger awaits Sybil. While travelling, her coach and their party of three travelers is r
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic debut novel! Abigail Wilson is a gifted writer who is able to transport the reader back into Regency England, full of pomp and circumstance but also filled with mystery, intrigue, and dark shadows in the midst of an intelligence war against France. Though the writing is in the first person narrative from Sybil, the story flows smoothly and the writing is easy to understand. The plot is detailed and well-crafted and has delicious twists and turns as everyone has a secret and an u ...more
Suzie Waltner
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
There’s a new voice in Regency fiction you don’t want to miss. With her debut, Abigail Wilson brings readers a story of treason, intrigue, secrets, and more.

Sybil Delacourt wants nothing more than to discover who her parents were. When an offer of employment brings her to the country estate of Croft Towers, she finds secrets abound.
From the first chapter, Wilson engaged me and kept me reading with her curious cast of characters and gorgeous setting that sometimes leans towards Gothic.

While Sybi
Erin Laramore
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars for this regency romantic suspense. Getting a regency era novel in the first person seemed a bit odd to me, but I got accustomed to it quickly and the story read well. The story was very well crafted, there was a great deal of mystery surrounding the story-line (and I didn't know the answers to anything until they were revealed), and the romance was well-paced. I really enjoyed this one! I deducted half a star because I would have loved to have had a glossary at the beginning of words ...more
Aug 22, 2019 rated it liked it
3-plus-a-smidge stars.

The author definitely kept me guessing!

However, I just didn’t care for the FMC/narrator of the story, nor did I ever understand what the MMC saw in her to deem her so trustworthy and exceptional. Maybe it was just me? The supporting cast was also very vaguely drawn, and I never fully understood why Mr. Roth was even a part of the story?

I really enjoyed the intrigue and the mystery, and though it took forever to build, it was all wrapped up rather quickly—though that seem
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Abigail Wilson's debut novel, In the Shadow of Croft Towers, is an absolute treat.  Rarely does a first person narrator so immediately allow the reader to understand who they are on a basic level. Their character and the situation just clicks in your mind and references begin to accumulate, informing your reading in the very best way.

An atmospheric novel set in and around the eponymous Croft Towers, in the English countryside of the early 1800's, where peril and intrigue abound.  Sybil Delafield
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Abigail Wilson combines her passion for Regency England with intrigue and adventure to pen historical mysteries with a heart. A Registered Nurse, chai tea addict, and mother of two crazy kids, Abigail fills her spare time hiking the National Parks, attending her daughter’s gymnastic meets, and curling up with a great book. In 2017, Abigail won WisRWA’s Fab Five contest and in 2016, ACFW’s First Im ...more

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