I received an electronic copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
I was first intrigued by this book because it seemed to promise witchiness. Having finished (and being consequently obsessed with) the Discovery of Witches tv show, and craving more witchy books since reading that series like 3 years ago, I thought “Willow Hall” would scratch that itch. Unfortunately there wasn’t much witchiness or magic in this book at all. I think if you chose to read this, you should go into it expecting a semi-Gothic style romance drama. All magical elements took a serious backseat to other elements of the story. Don’t be fooled by the fact that the word “witch” is in the title.
Speaking of those other elements, let’s talk about them a bit more now. This story revolves around Lydia Montrose, the middle child in her family, as she and her family move to a country town following a family scandal to avoid ruining their reputation. What follows is a lot of family drama, a kind of forced instalove story, and a lot of Colonial historical descriptions of those times.
It’s all very surface. It seems like just enough was described and written to keep the story going on, but not enough to give any depth or reason to the characters. I did not believe in Lydia & John’s relationship, I thought all of the characters were caricatures and not actually fleshed out, and some ghosts were sprinkled through to make it seem more gothic and witchy.
I think I need to point out the fact that this book took me 8 months to finish. I seriously could not get into the first third of the book. And even as the plot itself finally picked, I found it very predictable, ultimately. It felt like I had read these other elements of this story in other books, so unfortunately it didn’t feel original.