Sunday, May 12, 2024

The House of Lost Wives by Rebecca Hardy


THE HOUSE OF LOST WIVES was an impulse buy. I thought the cover was beautiful and the blurb sounded very Bluebeard-y. Then I checked out the sample and thought it looked awesome. Better yet, my friend lacy agreed to buddy-read this with me, because the only thing better than a gothic read is a gothic read with friends.

Lizzie is the daughter of a gambler/alcoholic and an enabler in Victorian England. She's gently-raised but her father's shittiness with money has steered her a little too close to the crime- and poverty-stricken parts of Victorian England, as we see right at the beginning when she and her sister cower in the face of shady repo men who take some of their family heirlooms after roughing up their dad.

Now an adult woman, Lizzie is about to be married off to the same man that her sister married... before she died mysteriously and suspiciously. Her parents don't care, though, because Lord Blountford has agreed to forgive her dad's gambling debts if he can marry her and that's too good of a deal to resist.

We follow Lizzie in her new soon-to-be-married life as she navigates the mansion and realizes that her husband had FOUR other wives. Also, she can talk to them... because she can see and hear ghosts. Which sounds like it should be twee, but it actually makes this feel like a fun grown-up version of Meg Cabot's Mediator series that really adds to the gothic vibe of the story.

As far as gothics go, this is a pretty gentle one. But it's really fun. The mystery kept me turning pages, there's a bit of a romance (several, actually), and the heroine's SA is handled BEAUTIFULLY. I really appreciated that it was off page and how realistic her PTSD was. It was handled very delicately and I thought that was great and wanted to make a point of calling that out.

I can't wait to read her other book.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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