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A gripping and atmospheric debut that is at once a chilling gothic mystery and a love letter to Victorian fiction.
Nobody ever goes to Hartwood Hall. Folks say it’s cursed…
It’s 1852 and Margaret Lennox, a young widow, attempts to escape the shadows of her past by taking a position as governess to an only child, Louis, at an isolated country house in the west of England.
But Margaret soon starts to feel that something isn’t quite right. There are strange figures in the dark, tensions between servants, and an abandoned east wing. Even stranger is the local gossip surrounding Mrs. Eversham, Louis’s widowed mother, who is deeply distrusted in the village.
Lonely and unsure whom to trust, Margaret finds distraction in a forbidden relationship with the gardener, Paul. But as Margaret’s history threatens to catch up with her, it isn’t long before she learns the truth behind the secrets of Hartwood Hall.
About the Author
Katie Lumsden read Jane Eyre at the age of thirteen and never looked back. She spent her teenage years devouring nineteenth-century literature, reading every Dickens, Brontë, Gaskell, Austen, and Hardy novel she could find. She has a degree in English literature and history from Durham University and an MA in creative writing from Bath Spa University. Her short stories have been shortlisted for the London Short Story Prize and the Bridport Prize, and have been published in various literary magazines. Katie’s YouTube channel, "Books and Things," has more than twenty-five thousand subscribers. She lives in London and works as an editor.
A SheReads Favorite Historical Gothic Mystery
"Who doesn’t love a cursed manor house in the remote English countryside, especially one with an entire abandoned wing? I’m looking forward to diving into this modern gothic that also promises some Lady Chatterly’s Lover action (there is a handsome gardener!)." —CrimeReads
"[A] captivating debut. . . . Assured prose propels this well-crafted tale of family, friendship, and the cost of personal freedom. Fans of the great Victorian novels, in particular Jane Eyre, will have fun." —Publishers Weekly
“Debut author Lumsden masterfully creates a believable atmosphere of the age, where science and logic are served side by side with the supernatural in everyday life.” —Booklist
“In her atmospheric debut, The Secrets of Hartwood Hall, Katie Lumsden enthralls us with a quintessential manor-home mystery. Fans of gothic literature will savor the peculiar characters, the abandoned corridors, the deceptions and twists behind every door... Ultimately a story about women and the haunting secrets they keep, Lumsden's debut reminds us never to trust first appearances. A mesmerizing debut!” —Sarah Penner, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Apothecary
“The Secrets of Hartwood Hall is exactly the book you want on a cold, stormy night when the wind is sneaking in the cracks. A thoroughly impressive debut with fantastically timed surprises throughout.” —Lyndsay Faye, author of The King of Inifinite Space and Jane Steele
“I loved this fresh take on the gothic genre. Vivid, haunting, surprising.” —Stacey Halls, author ofThe Familiars
"A full-blooded Gothic mystery with bite, great characterization and heaps of atmosphere. What a debut." —Emma Stonex, author of The Lamplighters
“This book delivers HUGE Jane Eyre vibes, gothic and mysterious Victoriana. I LOVED it.” —Sophie Irwin, author of A Lady's Guide to Fortune-Hunting
"Incredibly rich prose in this absorbing, deeply atmospheric story of governess, Margaret Lennox. A brilliant love letter to classic Victorian fiction and a standout debut." —Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author
"The Secrets of Hartwood Hall is an easy book to read. It is fun to dive into the details of life in 1852." —Mystery and Suspense Magazine
"We have all the classic ingredients for a gothic and romantic mystery.... Full marks for the narrative drive and absorbing plot...a very capable and entertaining debut." —Historical Novel Society