Thursday, May 16, 2024

The Jeweled Heart of Rosemont Castle by Clara Wimberly


I buddy-read this book with my IG buddy, usedbookin. This is the second vintage gothic we've read together and the first one that I really adored. The Zebra gothic line could be hit or miss but this one has everything: lost birthrights, family secrets, hot stepbrothers, mysterious heirloom jewelry, and a fucking albino witch with a pet white wolf. DAMN.

When Annie's father is on his deathbed, he reveals to Annie that he's not actually her father: she was given to him to care for and she's actually the long-lost daughter of a rich winemaker family who lives in a castle. But when she writes to the family, the lawyer basically writes back and is like, "OUR CONDOLENCES BUT NO. XOXO."

Annie isn't about to take that shit, so she goes to the family to deal with them in person, and is almost turned away by the hot stepbrother, Christian, but the man who might be her father intervenes. He's half-mad and has never gotten over his first wife (Annie's supposed mother), despite his new wife literally BEING RIGHT THERE, but he is the one who decides that Annie simply must stay.

Weird shit starts happening pretty quickly. Christian makes a point of letting her know he thinks she's a fraud and calls her the G-slur literally dozens of times. His cousin isn't a fan of her either. Henri, a friend of the family, is a little *too* friendly, and the servants intimate that maybe her mother's disappearance was more sinister than mere flightiness. But honestly, who knows?

I thought this was a lot of fun. There were some great chilling scenes, it was extra without being too extra, and the novelty of a historical stepbrother romance was too good to miss. This reminded me a lot of BLACKMADDIE but more consistent in pacing. A must for anyone who loves vintage gothics.

3.5 to 4 out of 5 stars

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