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The Widow of Pale Harbor

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  194 ratings  ·  126 reviews
A town gripped by fear. A woman accused of witchcraft. Who can save Pale Harbor from itself?

Maine, 1846. Gabriel Stone is desperate to escape the ghosts that haunt him in Massachusetts after his wife’s death, so he moves to Maine, taking a position as a minister in the remote village of Pale Harbor.

But not all is as it seems in the sleepy town. Strange, unsettling things h
ebook, 384 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Graydon House
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3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  194 ratings  ·  126 reviews

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Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs-read

A town gripped by fear.
A woman accused of witchcraft.
Who can save Pale Harbor from itself?

Welcome to Pale Harbor, Maine, 1846, where a young widow, Sophronia Carver, haunts the halls of her mansion by the sea. Her home, Castle Carver, goes unvisited by the locals as they believe Sophronia to be a witch. They also suspect she killed her husband, magazine magnate, Nathaniel Carver.

Shunned and mistreated by those in town, Sophronia shuts herself off from the rest of society. Having i
Nenia ✨ Literary Garbage Can ✨ Campbell

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Gothic novels are my catnip. I think they're probably the genre of book I probably enjoy most because of the creepiness and the meticulous plotting that goes in to creating not just the mystery element but also the atmosphere. But, like all books, the Gothic genre has its hits and its misses, and this was more miss than hit.

THE WIDOW OF PALE HARBOR starts out promisingly enough in the way that it introduces our two main characters. Sophro
Hester Fox
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
My second book will be available September 17, 2019 (October for the UK), and I'm so excited for you to meet Sophronia and Gabriel! Everything they say about the second book being the hardest to write is true, so while it was sometimes a struggle, I'm so pleased with how it came out and really hope that you enjoy it. A great big Thank You to everyone who read The Witch Of Willow Hall and have come back for The Widow Of Pale Harbor- your support means everything <3

For content warnings, please
Book of Secrets
Feb 19, 2019 marked it as wish-list  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autumn
I need this book right now! I'm swooning over the blurb and cover. I. Can't. Wait. Until. September. ♥
Even the title sounds dark and a little ominous. THE WIDOW OF PALE HARBOR by Hester Fox is a well-crafted historical tale with a touch of the paranormal, characters haunted by the ghosts of their pasts and small town gossip that have doomed one young widow to be a pariah.

When Gabriel Stone came to town, under a cloak of deceit, he discovers Sophronia Carver to be as bewitching as the tales the townsfolk tell about her as they blame her for everything bad that has happened.

What dark and menacing
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hester Fox wowed me last year with her debut so it was easy to pick up her next book The Widow of Pale Harbor. And while I did love her sophomore book with all it's mystery and intrigue it didn't quite have the paranormal aspect that I was hoping it would. Having said that though, it was still such a fun and atmospheric read and I couldn't help but eagerly turn the pages to know more about Sophy and the town and all that was transpiring.

With references to Poe and darkness and death abound, I tru
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this one! Just like in the Witch of Willow Hall, this book has just the right amount of creepy mystery to keep me guessing and turning pages. Set in 1840’s Maine, I loved the dark feel of the story, and yet for a historical fiction the book reads so quickly and effortlessly, I could hardly put it down.
I can not wait to read Fox’s next book!
Thank you to NetGalley and Grayden House for this advanced copy.
The Nerd Daily
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Originally posted on The Nerd Daily | Review by Beth Mowbray

If you are anything like me, as fall draws near you begin to feel an urge to curl up in your favorite chair with a soft blanket and an eerie new read. The Widow of Pale Harbor may be just that book for you! Think: historic Maine, witches, and events echoing the tales of Edgar Allen Poe. What’s not to like about that for a new fall release?

In the mid-1800s, a handsome gentleman by the name of Gabriel Stone leaves his hometown after losin
An ARC was provided to me for free by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Maine, 1846. Gabriel Stone arrives in the sleepy town of Pale Harbor for a fresh start, working as a minister after his wife's death. But strange things are happening in the town, and only one person can be responsible: Sophronia Carter, a reclusive widow whom everyone believes killed her husband. The odd incidents escalate, and it becomes clear that they're emulating the wildly popular stories by
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, ebook-owned
This is another excellent romantic, Gothic suspense novel from Hester Fox, who made her debut in 2018 with THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL. Fans of that novel will not be disappointed in this sophomore offering, as PALE HARBOR continues to show off the author's skills in setting what I would call a "spooky lite" mood and creating an evocative atmosphere in a rural community in 19th century Maine. I personally preferred the romantic elements and character dynamics slightly in WILLOW HALL, but that is mo ...more
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed The Witch of Willow Hall and was eagerly awaiting the release of The Widow of Pale Harbor. I am happy to say that this book did not disappoint. The Widow of Pale Harbor is an intriguing mix of an atmospheric Gothic mystery and a swoony romance. It's also a perfect book to curl up with on a chilly fall night. I recommend it to all Gothic and historical fiction fans.

*ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was sold a fake bill of goods and I think this book suffers from a personality disorder. I think this book really, really wants to be a dark, creepy tale of witchcraft and strangeness (which is how the book blurb sold it to me), but somehow a silly romance - that honestly felt a bit YA - got thrown into the mix and completely ruined any suspense the story was trying to build. Oh, and let's throw in a bit of transcendentalism into the mix. Don't get me wrong - there is nothing wrong with two ch ...more
Karen Kay
I received this from for a review.

Maine, 1846. Gideon Stone is desperate to escape the ghosts that haunt him after his wife's death. Sophronia Carver, a widow is a recluse, rumored to be a witch who killed her husband.

This book is more of the romance gothic genre (compared to the authors first book), than Historical gothic.

I won this via goodreads giveaways in exchange for an honest review. All my opinions are my own.

Didn't care for the romance between the two main characters but that's just a me thing. Loved the atmosphere of the novel and the reveal of the villain and why they did what they did was creative.

Wish I would have liked it more but I did enjoy reading it.
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read an early draft of this book and really enjoyed it. The author combined several interesting cultural phenomena (Transcendentalism and Poe-mania) to develop the setting and historical context for this story. I also read her first novel and noticed how she was able to skillfully expand the world she created to incorporate a larger cast of characters and multiple points of view. I found the characters to be interesting and nuanced with unique motivations driving their actions. Definitely remi ...more
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hall-of-fame
Basically, I will credit this book with restoring my faith in books. Granted my string of mediocre reads was short-lived (like 4 books), but still. Wowza. I read Hester Fox’s first novel, The Witch of Willow Hall last year and adored it. There was no way I could refuse the chance to read more from her.

Things I loved:

⚓ Gothic, New England setting
🌊 Dark seaside vibe
⚓ Strong female lead
🌊 Very likeable male lead who understands consent
⚓ Writing that strangely still reminds me of Jane Austen
🌊 A twist
Lori Shafer
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The tiny town of Pale Harbor should be a quiet place. A place of solitude and innocence. Instead the village has been experiencing strange events. Their new minister, Gabriel Stone, is not what he seems. Fleeing his past, Gabriel finds himself fascinated by the Widow Carver. Everyone in town thinks she is a witch and believe she is the only one who could be wrecking such havoc in the town. Stone is forced to face his past while unraveling a mystery.

This novel is my first Hester Fox book. The ent
Joanna Bennett
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a whirlwind of a book!

Review to come.
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Stars!

What’s better than a slow Gothic burn in the middle of summer? Absolutely nothing.
I envisioned this seaside village perfectly, always shrouded in fog, the mansion looming in the background Tim Burton style.This is the perfect book to read if you’re craving a mix of the macabre and romance. I am always down for the removal of petticoats before ahem sexy times.

The Widow Of Pale Harbor is about our widow Sophronia who is an outcast in the village and has been accused of being a witch aft
Savannah Porter
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hester Fox is a master of authentic and engaging historical fiction. I absolutely loved The Witch of Willow Hall that came out last year, so much that it became my favorite historical fiction book. I'm pleased to say that The Widow of Pale Harbor is not far behind it! I devoured this book in two sittings, the sittings consisting of fighting off goosebumps, swooning and shipping the romance, and nail biting. The perfectly-paced plot continued to thicken with plot twists and a beautiful romance, a ...more
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing

I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.

When it is hot as heck outside and there is nothing cool to do but reading as everything else makes you end up a sweaty mess, it is the perfect day for a speed reader.

From the author of the buzzed-about THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL comes an atmospheric f
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed The Witch Of Willow Hall by this author so I was excited to get an advance copy of her latest work. This was a historical fiction/mystery with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure.
Sophronia Carver was never made to feel particularly welcome by the people of Pale Harbor Maine after settling there with her cold and cruel husband. Upon his death, the locals began to speculate and gossip that she may have murdered him, either by her own hand or some sort of witchery. Some even clai
I loved Hester Fox's debut The Witch of Willow Hall - so much so that I've read it twice - but I think this one fell a little short for me. The premise pulled me in, no question, and I love the setting of historical Maine (with a lighthouse!) and how Pale Harbor, ME, was drenched in legend and lore. Hester Fox's writing is gorgeous, and I fell in love with the two main characters, Sophronia (now there's a pretty name for you!) and Gabriel, even as they fell in love with each other. What I do wis ...more
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was provided with an ARC of this title from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sophronia is trapped in a finely wrought, golden cage by her fears and the burden of shared secrets. She wanders the empty rooms of her immaculately furnished, cavernous home in an established routine, one day blending into the next in an eternal interlude.

Gabriel is determined to become indispensable to his new congregation. He has accepted a post as the new Transcendentalist minister in the isolated, supe
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved everything about this book! The nuanced characters, lush setting, slow burning romance, and deftly plotted mystery kept me up late turning the pages. I already can’t wait for this author’s next book.
Becky Wright
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC edition.
The Widow of Pale Harbour was a much-anticipated read after having read Hester Fox's debut novel, The Witch of Willow Hall, last year. It can be a little tricky to follow-up with an equally thrilling new release, but the author has pulled it off, again. Hester Fox is fast becoming a favourite author of modern Gothic fiction

Giving the reader the perfect mix of impending drama and dark mystery all wrapped up in delicious Gothic prose; with captivating ch
Such an intriguing concept but, unfortunately, this one didn’t work for me. I made it 35% in and I haven’t enjoyed any of it. 🙁 The romance felt very cheesy, which was the biggest turn off of all for me. And, to be fair, I hadn’t expected romance.

It’s definitely a nice nod to Poe and if you don’t mind the romance aspect, you might enjoy it more than I did.

Thank you Grayson House for this digital review copy through NetGalley.
Beth M.
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
In the mid-1800s, a handsome gentleman by the name of Gabriel leaves his hometown after losing his wife in childbirth and starts over as a minister in Pale Harbor. There he meets Sophronia - a young widow who, despite her charisma and beauty, holds the reputation of being a witch and a murderer. In fact, the great majority of the town believes that she is to blame for the death of her husband and her tendency to isolate in her castle-like home does little to help improve the public perception. A ...more
Jul 02, 2019 marked it as tbr-arc
ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Sheila Schoenauer
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book by this author that I have read and there is a good possibility that it won't be my last. It's been a long time since I've read a book based in the past. It was a nice change. This book was full of mystery and suspense with a little bit of romance. It kept me on the edge wanting more. I just kept turning the page finding it difficult to put the book down. There were so many unanswered questions that I just wanted to figure out. Who was terrorizing Sophronia, how did her hu ...more
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Hester comes to writing from a background in museum work and historical archaeology. She loves the Gothic, the lurid, the long as the ending is a happy one. She has never seen a ghost, though she remains hopeful.

Hester lives outside of Boston with her husband and their son.