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The Witch of Willow Hall    by Hester Fox order for
Witch of Willow Hall
by Hester Fox
Order:  USA  Can
Harlequin, 2018 (2018)
Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Hester Fox's The Witch of Willow Hall begins in 1821 when the Montrose family flee scandal in Boston (relating to their eldest daughter Catherine and son Charlie) to settle in New Oldbury. Middle daughter Lydia, whose fiance, Cyrus, just broke off their engagement because of the scandal, is at odds with Catherine, though very protective of her small sister Emeline.

Lydia, the main character in the story, is unaware that she's a witch, though she did exhibit her power against a vicious neighborhood bully when she was a child. Her mother warned her to keep her talent hidden and never to use it. Now, in New Oldbury, there are rumors that their new home is haunted, and Lydia hears strange moans at night.

In town, they meet their father's new business partner, young John Barrett. There's an immediate attraction between John and Lydia, but Catherine flirts with him. Misunderstandings multiply. Then Cyrus shows up, seeking to renew the engagement (his family is in financial trouble), and tragedy strikes the family.

Lydia draws on her abilities, which turns out badly. Fortunately, a forebear comes to her aid, warning Lydia that she attracts unhappy spirits and that her 'ignorance has consequences'. Can she undo the harm she has inadvertently done? Read The Witch of Willow Hall to find out how Lydia finds the strength to face - and live with - what she really is.

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