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The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox

Are you looking for a gothic suspense novel set in Maine?  Check out this book review of The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox.

Hester Fox Books The Widow of Pale Harbor

Hester Fox, author of The Witch of Willow Hall, is back at it with another ghostly story filled with witchcraft, romance, and murder.   The Widow of Pale Harbor is one of Fox’s latest books and new book releases of 2019.

What love story wouldn’t be complete without a murder mystery to complicate relationships even more?  Imagine injured crows, dead animals popping up at doorsteps, someone excavating your husband’s grave, and a spinster on a hill.  Gosh, women were so evil in 1846.

If all of this sounds intriguing, keep reading for a full review of The Widow of Pale Harbor to see who can save Pale Harbor from the person responsible for cursing it.

Oh, and did I mention that there is a creepy literary aspect too?  All of the murders are based on Edgar Allan Poe stories and poems.

The Widow of Pale Harbor By Hester Fox Review

The Widow of Pale Harbor By Hester Fox Book Information

Title: The Widow of Pale Harbor
Author: Hester Fox
Genre: Gothic Fiction | Book Set In Maine | Historical Fiction | Suspense
Imprint: Graydon House Books
ISBN: 9781525834264
Pages: 352

I would personally like to thank Graydon House Books for sending me a free copy in exchange for a fair and honest The Widow of Pale Harbor review.

Grab Your Copy Of The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox Here:

Buy The Widow of Pale Harbor From Amazon

The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox Review

A Creepy and Witchy Gothic Fiction Tale Set In Maine in 1846

Sophronia Carver lives at eerie Castle Carver overlooking the cliffs of Pale Harbor.  Widowed and a woman accused of murdering her wealthy husband, she sits trapped in self-imprisonment with her servant, Helen.  Helen is much more than a spinster widow with a knack for spells and undefined feelings for Sophronia.  Something odd simmers between the two outcasts and alleged occultists.

Running her husband’s literary magazine keeps Sophronia sane until terrifying and harassing gifts land at her front door: hurt crows and candles with life-threatening notes.  Are these the cruel acts of bored school children or some sinister and conservative revenge from a townsmen?

Did I mention Sophronia is gorgeous too?

A Gust Of Wind Blows In A Hunky Minister With An Penchant For Scandalous Women

What is a pretty widow with walls literally and figuratively around her to do when a handsome and mysterious Trandescendalist minister rolls into town?

Enter Gabriel Stone, an alleged minister escaping the sudden passing of his not so innocent wife.  Warned that Sophronia is a murderous witch, he cannot stay away.  Wildly popular stories are irresistible when the town can’t seem to shut up about Sophy.

Watch as Sophy and Gabe’s love story transpires (or expires) amidst solving a murder mystery.  Townspeople are dropping like fruit flies into my wine, and Sophronia is next on the list.  The creepiest part?  All of the murders match scenes from Poe stories and poems.  Who is this twisted person inspired by Poe?  You know those tales are gruesome AF.

The Widow Of Pale Harbor Book Review

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Who Will Stay Up All Night Reading This Gothic Murder Mystery

Lovers Of Salem Witch Trial Books Will Devour The Widow of Pale Harbor

If books about the Salem Witch Trials intrigue you, The Widow of Pale Harbor will offer you a new take on mass hysteria and the jealously surrounding mysteriously beautiful and powerful women.

Pale Harbor is a sleepy town gripped by fear and controlled by hatred.  Sophronia is a dynamic feminist who struggles through lies, deceit, anxiety, and downright hostility.  The small town of Pale Harbor is frustratingly blind and condemning.

And yes, there are witches–or a witch–in this historical fiction title.  From the start, readers learn that Helen is a master of charms and killer potions.

Romance Enthusiasts Who Don’t Want Fluff Will Enjoy Hester Fox Books

Hester Fox is happily a repeat author for me.  TUL reviewed her other title, The Witch of Willow Hallin 2018.  I never knew gothic romance paired with historical fiction could be so powerful until Fox.  Similarly to The Witch of Willow Hall, The Widow of Pale Harbor incorporates love that might not survive the story.

However, while the romance is even more steamy in The Widow of Pale Harbor, it’s not eye-roll worthy.  Love ignites with the mystery and deadly literary Poe elements.

Plus, in my opinion at least, there might be some LGBT+ elements at play here, but that is debatable.

The Widow of Pale Harbor Is For Readers Who Enjoy Women’s Fiction

Once again like The Witch of Willow Hall, Fox presents readers with a series of dynamic women.  You have servants, friends, and scorned lovers.  There are affairs, romances, and of course, walls and massive stereotypes.  Fox works hard to paint an accurate picture of mid-1800 society for women.

Sophronia most reminds me of Agnes in Burial Rites by Hannah Kent–a mysterious and attractive leading lady accused as an accomplice to murder.  Similarly to Agnes, witchcraft and beauty breed jealousy-inspired death sentences.

Watch as these women rise and fall while supporting each other and tearing each other to pieces.  Who will come out with their head held up high and not slit across the throat…

History Lovers Will Eat Up The Widow of Pale Harbor: Castle Carver Is Based On IRL Castle Tucker

Lastly, history lovers will enjoy The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox.  Castle Carver is based on Castle Tucker located in Wiscasset, Maine.  Castle Tucker is a Victorian home overlooking the sea and built in the early 1800s. Visitors can seasonally visit the castle in the fall and learn about its three generations of inhabitants.

More About The Author, Hester Fox

When not working as a collections maintenance technician for museums, Hester Fox is an author and artist.  Hester lives outside Boston and has a background in Medieval studies and historical archeology.  The Witch of Willow Hall is Hester Fox’s first novel.  Read more about Hester Fox.

Hester Fox Books

Hester Fox Books Include The Witch of Willow Hall and The Widow of Pale Harbor

If you like The Widow of Pale Harbor, check out Fox’s The Witch of Willow Hall. 

The Witch of Willow Hall is another gothic fiction novel set outside Boston in 1821.  Watch as sisters battle over love as they try to recover their place in high society.  There are multiple trigger warnings, including an animal and child death as well as miscarriages.

Find vengeful ghosts and romance in this more somber Hester Fox book.

Books Like The Witch Of Willow Hall

If you like books like The Witch of Willow Hall and The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox, be sure to check out these book lists on TUL:

If you like The Witch of Willow Hall and The Widow of Pale Harbor, try these witchy books

If you like The Witch of Willow Hall and The Widow of Pale Harbor, try these Books Set In Salem

If you like The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox, you may also enjoy these witchy YA titles:

If you like The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox, try Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd

Which of these novels will you pick up next?  Have you read any Hester Fox books before?  And lastly, what do you love about gothic fiction?

Dee

Thursday 29th of August 2019

I typically don't read this genre. But your colorful description makes me want to read it asap! I just love the way you write and explain and the overall aesthetics of your blog. If I have said something similar before, my apologies!:)

Christine

Friday 30th of August 2019

Gothic fiction is growing on me as a genre. I don't read a ton of murder mysteries, but this one felt more like romance with a bit of suspense and history.

Thank you so much!

CJ | A Well-Read Tart

Wednesday 28th of August 2019

I had wanted to read THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL, but I was warned that I would not like the animal death/suffering in it, so I stayed away. Is there animal suffering in THE WIDOW OF PALE HARBOR??? I can handle death (barely), as long as the poor thing didn't suffer. I'm still traumatized by an animal "experiment" scene I read in THE DARK DESCENT OF ELIZABETH FRANKENSTEIN (amazing novel, but that scene was TOO much. Pls tell me before I go pick this one up, lol. Thanks! xoxo

Christine

Wednesday 28th of August 2019

I feel like I might have been one of those people who warned you about the animal death at the beginning of The Witch of Willow Hall...it definitely put me off as well as all of the other unannounced trigger warnings. I remember seeing a few tweets online about it too. (Granted, I had an ARC from Netgalley for that one so maybe the final version had CW's). Quite frankly, The Witch of Willow Hall was intense but also well done. I didn't love the pacing for the middle part of the story, but other than that--and if you skip the cat dismemberment in the very first chapter, you'd be OK.

The Widow of Pale Harbor has a few implied dead birds and beasts. There is a purposely injured crow at the very beginning (broken wing and maybe a foot) but the crow is fixed and set free by the end. I think you'd be OK for this one because I was OK (and let me tell you, I started reading it with hesitation when crows were showing up hurt and dead). I'd say there is no suffering or nothing that will leave you triggered. You know me--I cannot read any stories where animals are hurt or killed.

The murderer of the town does do some gruesome things, but I didn't feel like I had to stop reading.

Hope that helps. Xxxx

Lauren Elena

Tuesday 27th of August 2019

This book sounds sooo good!! I love that it has a little romance of course. And I love a good murder mystery and the gothic and witchcraft elements sound pretty cool! I can’t believe that castle is in Wiscasset, Maine!! I was just there! I could have gone! Oh well! Next time! Great review! You’re really making me want to read it!!

Christine

Wednesday 28th of August 2019

I really liked The Widow of Pale Harbor for the romance--and I think you'd love that part too!

Were you really just in Wiscasset, Maine? I've been awful about not stalking everyone on IG lately. I knew you were up that way. Dang, we could have a collab literary date lol!

Thank you!

Macey @ Brine & Books

Tuesday 27th of August 2019

Is there a spin-off of Poe's A Tell-Tale Heart in here?!!? If so, count me in! This is so intriguing and I love that you're already doing spooky content. It gives your readers the opportunity to stock up on some reads before Halloween so that as October rolls around, we've got plenty to delve into as the day approaches!

Christine

Wednesday 28th of August 2019

There is definitely a murder related to A Tell-Tale Heart in there. Yuppppp... I think you'd like The Widow of Pale Harbor, for sure!

It's prime season for spooky content. If I wasn't still fighting moving fires, I'd be going ballz to the wallz lol!

I cannot wait for Halloween, especially in Asheville.

Kathy | Tasty Itinerary

Tuesday 27th of August 2019

I have not read any of Hester Fox books before. Honestly, I can't remember when was the last time I read a great murder mystery besides Gone Girl. Wait, does that count as a murder mystery or thriller?

With Halloween coming, I may need to read one of these books to get me in the mood of the season.

Great review. Thank you for opening up my world to new titles.

Christine

Wednesday 28th of August 2019

Gone Girl was definitely one of those creepy murder mysteries along with The Woman in Cabin 10 and Girl on the Train, two other titles that you might enjoy (if you haven't read them). A lot of murder mysteries fall under thrillers unless it's a cozy mystery, usually. At least that's what I think...

I pretty much read The Widow of Pale Harbor in two sittings. The romance sucked me in, and the plot wasn't that predictable--the ending is like, holy cowwwww that's a motive.

The Witch of Willow Hall is good, but I liked The Widow much better. Willow Hall has a ton of trigger warnings and it started with a cat murder (so I was not happy there). However, if you like intense The Witch of Willow Hall checks all of the boxes.