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Review: House Of Shadows by Darcy Coates


House Of Shadows

Darcy Coates

Sophie’s world is shattered when disaster bankrupts her family. She’s still reeling from the news when she’s offered an unexpected solution: Mr Argenton, a wealthy stranger, asks for her hand in marriage. Marrying Mr Argenton will restore her family’s fortunes and save them from scandal, but condemns Sophie to a life in Northwood, a vast and unnaturally dark mansion situated hours from civilisation. Sophie struggles to adjust to her new position as mistress over the desolate house. Mr Argenton’s relatives are cold, and Mr Argenton himself is keeping secrets. Even worse, the house is more than it seems.

My Rating:

Gothic horror is epitomized on the pages of House Of Shadows by bestselling author Darcy Coates.

Sophie Hemlock finds her world upended when she meets a stranger at the opera. The following day she learns that her father’s investment of silks has been lost to a shipwreck on violent shores, leaving the Hemlock family to face poverty. Or is that truly the only option? The classic story of a rich man, an impoverished father, and a helpful daughter, such as Beauty and the Beast, kicks off House Of Shadows, but similarities die there. 

Marrying to save her family and younger siblings from the kind of life poverty would afford them, Sophie is now the mistress of Northwood, and wife to Joseph Argenton. Mr. Argenton seems distant and cold, representing a steely character that pulls from another classic. What appears as unwavering rigidity is soon enlightened as something altogether different when Joseph’s softness comes to light through small acts. 

The romance solidifies Sophie and Joseph as charming, delightful, and heartwarming characters. The outcome of these fated lovers is the priority, though the speed at which their lives cross and weave together is lightning fast. House Of Shadows could have done with a slower build in both romance and fright, but given the impending doom that fills the halls in ghostly music, dripping walls of blood, and ghastly shadows, it comes as no surprise. 

Coates has written about a dark place riddled with secrets around every turn. Northwood manor comes alive off the page, as do the characters. The horror is grotesque, haunting and chilling. Short and quickly paced, there is no excess in the words that comprise House Of Shadows. Thankfully, those readers wishing for more will be glad to know there is a second book in the series. 

Darcy Coates has found a niche, combining beloved romance and haunted house tropes. Executing her writing with just enough flourish and just enough uniqueness, House Of Shadows is the kind of book that both warms the heart and chills the bones.  

Many thanks to Darcy Coates, Poisoned Pen Press, and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review House of Shadows by Darcy Coates
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