Julie 's Reviews > The Two Mrs. Carlyles

The Two Mrs. Carlyles by Suzanne Rindell
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bookshelves: 2020, e-book, edelweiss-review, historical-fiction, gothic

The Two Mrs. Carlyles by Suzanne Rindell is a 2020 G.P. Putnam’s Sons publication.

An entertaining ode to classic Gothic literature

After meeting at an orphanage, Violet, Flossie and Cora seize on a mysteriously opportune moment to run away. They find work at a ‘boarding house’, in the red -light district, where the two older girls work in a dance hall, while Violet, who is only fourteen, works in the kitchen. But it looks like Violet could soon be forced out of the kitchen, to become the next ‘dancing girl’ recruit.

But, as bizarre as it sounds, the girls are saved by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, where in the aftermath, they come away with a tidy sum of money that secures their independence. However, the circumstances dictate they go their separate ways.

Violet begins working as a shop girl, where she meets the wealthy and mysterious, Harry Carlyle- a widower with a few secrets of his own. When she is finally reunited with her old friends, they are stunned to learn she is in a relationship with Harry, whom she eventually marries.

On the surface, it would seem Violet leads a charmed life, but behind the mansion walls, Violet finds herself at odds with Miss Weber, the woman in charge of running the household, and locked into a strange competition with Harry’s first wife. When odd occurrences begin taking place, Violet begins to think the house is trying to force her out- a notion, Miss Weber encourages, while Harry refuses to discuss it.

The air is already thick with tension when the unimaginable happens and suddenly Violet finds herself unable to trust a single soul… nor can the reader- not even Violet!!

Anyone who loves the heavily dramatic atmosphere of old historical Gothic novels, but can also tolerate a large amount of genre bending, will appreciate the tone of this novel. This story is best classified in the encompassing category of historical fiction, but there’s a little romance, a lot of mystery and suspense, as well as a hint of the paranormal, while also heavily leaning on classic Gothic tropes.

It is a twisty story, and the author did a great job with the pacing and timing, and with creating a creepy, tense atmosphere. Unfortunately, it was almost overkill at times, especially as the tropes used here are quite familiar, and very recognizable, even to the most casual Gothic reader. One can’t avoid the comparisons to Du Maurier, but the author also borrows from the Bronte’s, among others. It is a little too transparent and overboard on that front, which caused the story to very nearly unravel a time or time in the second half of the book.

That said, as a huge fan of classic Gothics, historical fiction, and mysteries, I couldn’t help but enjoy this book!! I thought it captured the spirit of the time and place, plus it kept me guessing and engaged, all wrapped up in Violet’s saga, wondering how everything would eventually turn out.
Overall, despite an occasional warble, this is a solid Gothic mystery- a great read for this time of year!

3.5 stars
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Reading Progress

May 19, 2020 – Shelved (Hardcover Edition)
May 19, 2020 – Shelved as: to-read (Hardcover Edition)
May 30, 2020 – Started Reading
May 30, 2020 – Shelved
May 30, 2020 – Shelved as: 2020
May 30, 2020 – Shelved as: e-book
May 30, 2020 – Shelved as: edelweiss-review
May 30, 2020 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
October 6, 2020 – Shelved as: gothic
October 6, 2020 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-32 of 32 (32 new)

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Brenda - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews Great review, Julie!


Julie Brenda - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews wrote: "Great review, Julie!"

Thank you very much, Brenda!! 💖


message 3: by Richard (new)

Richard Sounds like a fine, eerie novel ........ nice review Julie :)


Marialyce Just started this one and happy to see it's a good one. Lovely review!


message 5: by Ceecee (new)

Ceecee Terrific review Julie 💕


message 6: by Jen (new)

Jen Terrific review! Glad you are enjoying these goth ones :)


Julie Richard wrote: "Sounds like a fine, eerie novel ........ nice review Julie :)"

Thank you very much, Richard!! 😊


Julie Marialyce wrote: "Just started this one and happy to see it's a good one. Lovely review!"

Thank you very much, Marialyce!! Happy reading!! 💖


Julie Ceecee wrote: "Terrific review Julie 💕"

Thanks so much, Ceecee!! 💖


Julie Jen wrote: "Terrific review! Glad you are enjoying these goth ones :)"

Thank you very much, Jen!! One of favorite genres! 💖


message 11: by Sue (new)

Sue Fab review again Julie x


message 12: by Tina (new)

Tina Glad that you did end up enjoying this one. A great review Julie!! 🤩


Julie Sue wrote: "Fab review again Julie x"

Thanks so much, Sue!! 💖


Julie Tina wrote: "Glad that you did end up enjoying this one. A great review Julie!! 🤩"

Thank you very much, dear Tina!! 💖


Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews Terrific review Julie!


message 16: by Maureen (new) - added it

Maureen Wonderful review Julie, I must read this book


message 17: by JanB (new)

JanB I do love Gothic mysteries and what better time of year? Great review Julie!


Julie Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews wrote: "Terrific review Julie!"

Thanks so much, Lindsay!! 💖


Julie Maureen wrote: "Wonderful review Julie, I must read this book"

Thanks so much, Maureen!! Happy reading!! 💖


Julie JanB wrote: "I do love Gothic mysteries and what better time of year? Great review Julie!"

Thank you very much, dear Jan!! Yes, perfect fall/Halloween read!! 🎃


message 21: by Margaret (new) - added it

Margaret Montalvo Great review! In spite of the 3.5 stars you made it intriguing. Just added to my to-read books.


Julie Margaret wrote: "Great review! In spite of the 3.5 stars you made it intriguing. Just added to my to-read books."

Thank you, Margaret!! The execution is weak, but otherwise, it's a Gothic fiction lovers dream! Enjoy!! 💖


message 23: by Lucy (new)

Lucy Langford Fantastic review Julie !!


Julie Lucy wrote: "Fantastic review Julie !!"

Thanks so much, dear Lucy!!💖


message 25: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Fabulous review, Julie! Glad you enjoyed this overall!


Julie Meredith wrote: "Fabulous review, Julie! Glad you enjoyed this overall!"

Thank you very much, Meredith!! 💖


message 27: by Tamar (new)

Tamar Fantastic review💖 I'm glad you loved this. It sounds like a great read.


Julie tamar wrote: "Fantastic review💖 I'm glad you loved this. It sounds like a great read."

Thanks so much, Tamar!! 💖


message 29: by Oscar (new)

Oscar Sounds good, Julie! I'm new to all this Gothic!!


Julie ☆ oscar ☆ wrote: "Sounds good, Julie! I'm new to all this Gothic!!"

Thank you, Oscar!! This book is a nod to the classics- like 'Rebecca'. Hope you have fun getting to know this genre. I love it! 😊


message 31: by Antoinette (new)

Antoinette Terrific review, Julie!


Julie Antoinette wrote: "Terrific review, Julie!"

Thanks so much, Antoinette!! 💖


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