In what year is the novel set? I had it in my mind that it was like the 1950s--since it was a posh, East coast school with characters named Mabel and Genevra (they also had dresses made for an event)--and then there was mention of a cell phone and no internet or cell service and it threw me for a loop.
Miranda Beverly-Whittemore It's set now! But I wanted the reader to have the disorienting feeling you describe. Keep in mind that Mabel is narrating the whole story, and she has cast herself as a kind of romantic character in the midst of the gothic web- it fits in with her vision of herself and the place that she has some nostalgia for bygone days. It also gave me the opportunity to show the reader how deliberately cut off from the world Winloch is. It's not that the Winslows couldn't be in constant contact with the rest of the world; it's that they don't want to be (or at least the people in charge don't want them to be). Thanks for taking the time to ask!