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The Widow of Rose House

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  3,034 ratings  ·  822 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)

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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
"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
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
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!

Melanie A.
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
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 .
Natasha Niezgoda

PLEASE READ THIS ASAP... 19th century. romance - the steamiest 25-page love scene. hauntings and repressed ghosts.

Full review to come tuesday!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!"
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 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
Jul 31, 2019 rated it liked it
3 stars--I liked the book.

"Historical romance with ghosts" seems to be a thriving subgenre! This one is very heavy on the romance. The writing is assured for a debut author, and the banter is fun. I enjoyed the characters, and the ghost (though not featured in the book as much as I'd like--I'm more of a gothic reader than a romance reader) had a unique method of haunting.

However, if you're reading for historical accuracy, this isn't the book for you. Characters spoke and acted very modern. It to
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
Alva left Europe for New York hoping for a fresh start, but the rumors that her abusive husband spread about her supposedly salacious conduct only intensified after his death and have followed her across the pond. To prove to the world and, more importantly, to herself that she has something worthwhile to contribute to the world, she decides to write a book about interior design, which she loves and is good at. To this end, she purchases Rose House, a long-abandoned manor that she hopes to use a ...more
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was invited to read this story and after hearing good things from a trusted friend, I was excited to get to it.

I loved Alva and Sam. She’s trying to find herself again and keep a low profile. He’s a genius and basically famous. Together they have fantastic chemistry and conversation. I loved his persistence and her reluctance. I especially loved how he always listened and prodded her for ideas and opinions. His family was absolutely one of the best ever written and I’m ready to hang out with
Shelleen Toland
It's 1875 and Alva has a tarnished reputation and her abusive husband is dead and she is staring over and has bought a mansion that needs a lot of work and is reported to have ghosts. She doesn't believe in ghosts. Sam is a professor and wants to see if there are really ghosts in the mansion but she keeps telling him no. When the crew, who was working on her house, just up and left one day, and were going to make her still pay them, says there are ghosts as well.
Alva is also dealing with her swa
Ashlee » Library In The Country
This is a funny, scandalous and sweet historical romance! I thoroughly enjoyed the humor in this book, particularly from Sam and his family.

In addition to the humor and romance, The Widow of Rose House has a tantalizing ghost story and mystery begging to be solved.

Definitely recommend!
Joanna Loves Reading
I rarely gravitate towards books with a paranormal twist but decided to give this one a try, and it turned out be an entertaining read with a heart-warming romance.

Central to this story is the renovation of a dilapidated mansion, which is what drew me to the book, going through a renovation myself. I think Alva, the heroine, has it worse with a terrifying haunting. Alva is an enduring heroine, who has overcome personal challenges and scandals, without familiar support, to achieve a dream and fut
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
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