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The Widow of Rose House

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  3,917 ratings  ·  1,019 reviews
A young widow restores a dilapidated mansion with the assistance of a charming, eccentric genius, only to find the house is full of dangerous secrets in this effervescent Gilded Age debut novel

It's 1875, and Alva Webster has perfected her stiff upper lip after three years of being pilloried in the presses of two continents over fleeing her abusive husband. Now his sudden d
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 8th 2019 by St. Martin's Griffin
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Susie Eaton It is a reference to the declaration made by the heroine near the end of the book, when she said, at the end of four previous items she was enumeratin…moreIt is a reference to the declaration made by the heroine near the end of the book, when she said, at the end of four previous items she was enumerating, “ Fifth, I love you.”(less)
Leslie There is a scene that is sexual in nature and quite explicit and another scene not as explicit, but still in that category. There are also some things…moreThere is a scene that is sexual in nature and quite explicit and another scene not as explicit, but still in that category. There are also some things in the main character's past with her previous husband that can be considered adult situations (not sexual, but otherwise). I would not completely say no to you reading it, but I would err on that side. (less)

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The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller is a 2019 St. Martin’s Griffin publication.

My kind of ghost story!

Alva Webster has returned to New York amid scandalous rumors swirling around her after the death of her estranged husband.

Ready to put the past behind her, she purchases Liefdehuis, and old mansion she intends to refurbish, then feature in a book about interior design.

The house, unfortunately, has a reputation for being haunted. This scares away the workers Alva needs, so she eventually s
Alva Webster returns to New York from Paris in the midst of false scandalous rumors after fleeing her abusive husband three years before. Now that her husband is dead, Alva wants to move on with her life and purchases Liefdehuis, a neglected mansion in Hyde Park. Her plan is to restore it and write a book about the process. Stories of it being haunted circulate quickly, getting the attention of famed inventor Samuel Moore who wants to research it, scientifically of course. When he sees Alva for ...more
Katie B
3.5 stars

It's not very often I will read something involving ghosts but the synopsis sounded interesting so I rolled the dice and took a chance on this one. Thankfully my gamble paid off and I thought this was a pretty cute historical romance. Always good to step out of your reading comfort zone from time to time.

It's 1875 and you aren't going to find many people who have a kind word to say about Alva Webster. Even though she had been living in Europe, gossip about her and her marriage still fo
"The haunted mansion is the perfect home: spacious, well-furnished, and it entertains your guests for you." (Walt Disney World)

The Widow of Rose House is a colorfully wrapped package that touches on moments of the Gilded Age, the draw of romance, the weight of shifty crime, and the eerie stream of the paranormal. Diana Biller will see to it that you are entertained throughout.

Alva Webster sits rigidly at a table in the famous Delmonico's restaurant in New York City. She knows that there is an ab
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
The Widow of Rose House is a very enjoyable and satisfying read. It is a story of second chances and redemption. This book is a mix of different genres and multiple themes - suspense, mystery, paranormal, romance, abuse, bullying, and mental illness. Above all else, The Widow of a Rose House is an engaging romance novel with a paranormal twist. Most importantly, it has an unusual take on haunting and ghosts, which I found clever and captivating. This is not your usual ghost story by any means!

Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it

Alva Webster is restoring Liefdehuis, a dilapidated Hyde Park mansion. In a way, she is attempting to restore herself as well. Her reputation has been severely tainted by her deceased abusive husband. Her new mansion comes with a dark history, it is rumored to be haunted. Alva is not one to buy into ghosts and haunted homes, she is going to write her book and restore the mansion.

Samuel (Sam) Moore is a charming, well known, and intelligent Pioneer in electrical lighting. He hails from a fami
Natasha Niezgoda


Like seriously - HAWT!

But before I get into that, alllllow me to set the scene. It’s 1875 and you’re in Manhattan. You’ve got this tall-inventor-genius-human-man "Sam" (who is beautiful) and then this striking-defiant-strong-badass-babe "Alva" (who has a past) as your main characters. She owns this brownstone mansion and he’s heard it’s haunted and wants to have some talks with the ghost friends that are hanging out. Oh and also make out with her.

Melanie A. *mostly on hiatus*
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Melanie by: Carol
"I simply cannot fathom why you are so constantly surprised by the height of my esteem for you."
WOW! Pure, unadulterated, beautiful ROMANCE...this one took me completely by surprise!

First, a huge thank you to Carol for bringing this book to my attention. 🥰

Plot in a nutshell : Alva Webster is a social pariah after the scandal surrounding the death of her husband. Leaving Paris to return to her native New York, she takes on a project to restore a dilapidated mansion along
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Another excellent debut! :)

I loved the way the author incorporated a ghost story with HR!!! She did it in a way that avoided the gothic feel of the usual ghost stories! What was really good here is the way the MCs act, think and think!

I loved the unusual hero, Sam - a scientist to the core who gets distracted by scientific pursuits in the most unexcpected moments! LOL

He was such a breath of fresh air! In a romancelandia populated by arrogant alpha dukes, earls etc. he is a bright star! He realiz
Dilushani Jayalath
Feb 17, 2020 rated it liked it
" Real life is people leaning on each other when things are hard. it's loving each other so much there's no question about facing things together. It's fighting for each other and with each other and being damned grateful every morning you wake up together"

Actual Ratings : 3.8 stars

There are two main reasons that I have included this somewhat cliche quote as the beginning of my appraisal of this book. First, to remind anyone who's under the false notion that this is a horror novel, or one of
June Hur
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's almost Halloween and as I've been telling everyone, this spooky historical romance will go well with pumpkin spice latte and maybe some autumn scented candles. It's a book that will make you laugh so hard, cry as hard, and also make you hold your breath in suspense.

THE WIDOW OF ROSE HOUSE is among one of the best book I've read in YEARS, and this is saying a lot coming from me - an incredibly picky reader. I can't tell you how many books I've stopped reading after the first chapter because
Leigh Kramer
10/14/20: Re-read this delight of a story because I needed another dose of Sam. Loved it just as much the second time around!

This was one of those books where I knew I loved it within a few pages. Where I had to text my friends who had already read it so I could tell them how much I loved it and then I texted other friends to tell them they needed to read it. Where my love for the story only continued to grow as I read and I marveled at the story I was experiencing. Where I immediately knew I wa
Sam (AMNReader)
Ultimately choppy for me. Probably because the plot underpinning the romance was terribly lackluster for me. The romance overlaying the plot then had no grit or tension, really. It left me feeling this was unbalanced and didn't have a strong pull for me. It was like stop & go traffic, and I never found my groove despite two lovely characters and sparkling light writing. ...more
4.5 (A-)

I stopped just short of giving this a full five stars, but mainly for some minor issues that niggled at me. Otherwise, this is a pretty fabulous debut in a year when debut novels are getting tons of high marks.

The plot is straightforward: Alva Webster is a widow returned to her hometown after lurid, scandalous reports surfaced that she enjoyed a wild party life in Paris when she abandoned her abusive marriage. After her husband dies in an unseemly robbery late one night at a casino, Alva
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing

“You can have more,” he said softly. “It’s all out there. But you have to reach out and take it.”

Excellent debut. I absolutely loved these characters. A delightful mystery/romance. Fantastic love scenes, even though they were few and far between. Sam, Sam, Sam... loved this guy. Sweet but fierce. I even loved Alva, through her moments of self sacrifice. I will look forward to reading more from this author .
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I was not expecting to love this as much as I did! I was completely immersed in this story. The gothic romance set in the 1800s gave me chills. I loved the dark ghostly gothic atmosphere. The characters were complicated and I was thoroughly engaged wanting to hear more. I didn’t want it to end. I devoured it and I was still hungry for more. I hope the author writes more intoxicating stories like this!❤️💜❤️
Natasha is a Book Junkie
“Love isn’t naïve, Alva. It’s hope, and it’s faith, and it can outlast buildings and wars and empires.”

I’m forever on the lookout for stories that are not only well-written and deeply romantic, but that are also fresh, textured, unique and wonderfully quirky in their own way, so when I stumble upon a book that ‘ticks’ ALL the boxes—a book that is as quietly unsettling as it is tender, as emotionally gripping as it is witty—I get all giddy inside. A ghost-hunting adventure and sweepin
Deanne Patterson
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Deanne by:
This book!!!!!!!!!! Swoonworthy doesn't even begin to describe the emotions I had as I read this book!
Let's start with the cover shall we, gorgeous I say? It says gothic to me.
"Only Love can light up the dark"

From the back cover,

Gilded Age New York
A Gothic mansion
A woman shadowed by a tragic past
The man who loves her

This book is absolutely not to be missed! Though written by a debut author it is one of the best I've ever read, I was memorized by it. Swept away in it's current of madness thi
I won this book through goodreads' first reads.

First off, this is not historical fiction. I only know of its existence because of its placement on a "Historical Fiction 2019" goodreads list, but while it is set in the past all the characters are completely fictional and there's not much historical accuracy to their behavior. You can reference suffragettes in passing but when your characters all act like they'd fit right in at the local coffee shop . . . it doesn't work for me.

So, after moving pa
Lisa Leone-campbell
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Infamous widow Alva Webster decides to buy a run-down house in 1800’s New York. Having had to endure horrible rumors during her marriage and with her husband now dead, she decides it’s time to start over with a brand new life so hopefully her notoriety will wane. She has already gotten herself a book deal, unheard of during the time for a woman, in which she will chronicle the restoration and decoration of the house. But when her contractor and his laborers refuse to continue their work on the h ...more
Chloe Liese
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful, poignant romance—I highly recommend!

With elements of the gothic (a decrepit house that embodies the struggles of our heroine, a ghost haunting it whose painful childhood shares parallels with the heroine, and a local lore of fear and gruesome cruelty that isolates this property from the town), delightful details of Gilded Age New York, a truly villainous brother in law, and a romance between two people whose upbringings couldn’t have been more different The Widow of Rose House
5++++ stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
What a fabulous read!!!!
Such a fascinating Historical Romance with a built in ghost story. I totally loved and adored this book.
It was captivating, well written with a wonderfully thought out and unique storyline .
Sam, what a hero!!! Smart, humble, funny and charming.
Alva, so fierce - a survivor, bent but not broken.
I really admired her "character".

This is a new favorite for me, it was also a very memorable read. One of the best books that I have read this year!!! I will def
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller

I absolutely enjoyed this amazing Historical Fiction read that blew me away. I did not know that I would be a fan of a gothic romance, but it seems that Biller has made me a fan of this genre. The book is set in 1875 New York City, a period piece that is both romance and ghost story that is engaging, intriguing with a complex story and characters that will surely haunt you with the spooky twist that is so eerily addicting and a fantastic read.

I devoured thi
Alyssa Palombo
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Get ready for this delicious, swoony, spooky, completely engrossing historical novel. I couldn't put it down! My blurb is below:

"Get ready to devour Diana Biller's magnificent debut novel in one sitting. THE WIDOW OF ROSE HOUSE boasts memorable and vibrant characters, a delicious romance, great period detail, and a hint of the supernatural. Alva and Sam spring off the page and to life, so that I now feel as though they are friends of mine. This novel is a treat not to be missed!"
nick (the infinite limits of love)
I loved this book so much. Sam is easily one of my favorite male characters to ever be written. I anticipate re-reading this one a million times in the future.
Now, who do I bribe for Benedict and Maggie/Henry's books???
Thank you to Aarya for the recommendation!
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: gothic romance lovers
THE WIDOW OF ROSE HOUSE by Diana Biller is highly recommended to those who seek the full gamut of entertainment, from love to laughter to creepy bumps in the night, with a genius cast of endearing characters.

An eccentric inventor meets a lady of notorious reputation. Of course, they need to investigate her haunted house before she can remodel it. Sam is one of the most unusual heroes I’ve had the pleasure to read about. Alva is a great match because she accentuates his eccentricities, makes ligh
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
Alva’s back in New York after the death of her estranged husband, partly to salvage her reputation from the rumors and gossip written after their separation, and to revamp Liefdehuis, an old Hyde Park house. She plans to publish the process of renovation as well as interior design ideas for the middle classes, a new and emerging market. But the ghost stories surrounding Liefdehuis threaten to derail her plans, so she has no choice but to investigate and hopefully dispel. Here’s where Sam Moore, ...more
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ohhhhh did I love this book! It's so utterly delicious. I preordered just because of the basic concept (Gothic Victorian American ghost story slash rom com) combined with stellar early reviews - but then the moment I started reading, I fell head over heels in love.

The characters are just SO wonderful. I adored Alva, the scandalous widow (who left her abusive husband before his death and has been shunned by society and her own family ever since). She is grouchy and stubborn and smart and secretl
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it

4.5 stars.

I'm not sure if I'm in a really generous mood or if I'm having great luck picking books, but I loved this?

Why you may not love this: I think the biggest complaints I saw boiled down to two things. 1- People wanted or expected more of a ghost story. This is spooky-light and truly the ghosts are the background and the reason that our two main characters, Sam and Alva, are brought together. They aren't the star of the show. 2- Some of the details or speech felt modern and took people out
A widow trying make a new life and write an interior design book escaping an abusive husband finds out the house she has purchased to fulfill her dreams is haunted. The only way forward is to allow the pesky, nerdy, and sexy inventor who's been begging her to investigate the phenomenon into her life, and perhaps into her heart.

Delightfully swoon worthy and full of tender moments, this is a gothic-lite romance perfect for the Fall spooky season. I was absolutely thrilled when I discovered this is
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