It’s 1875, and Alva Webster has perfected her stiff upper lip after three years of being pilloried in the presses of two continents over fleeing her abusive husband. Now his sudden death allows her to return to New York to make a fresh start, restoring Liefdehuis, a dilapidated Hyde Park mansion, and hopefully her reputation at the same time. However, fresh starts aren’t as easy as they seem, as Alva discovers when stories of a haunting at Liefdehuis begin to reach her. But Alva doesn’t believe in ghosts. So when the eccentric and brilliant professor, Samuel Moore, appears and informs her that he can get to the bottom of the mystery that surrounds Liefdehuis, she turns him down flat. She doesn’t need any more complications in her life―especially not a handsome, convention-flouting, scandal-raising one like Sam.
Unfortunately, though Alva is loath to admit it, Sam, a pioneer in electric lighting and a member of the nationally-adored Moore family of scientists, is the only one who can help. Together, the two delve into the tragic secrets wreathing Alva’s new home while Sam attempts to unlock Alva’s history―and her heart.
This was very much a romance rather than gothic ghost story with a romance, which is what I expected from the cover. I enjoyed it despite some quibbles about a rushed ending (everything resolved too cleanly and quickly, hero not given enough to do, insufficient denouement) and expectations from the first half not quite aligning with the story in the second half. I think there were too many plotlines and cutting out the brother would have allowed more time on the ghost story, which would be a better match for expectations.
Sam and his family are very entertaining. I also enjoyed the relationship between Sam and his BFF / semi adopted brother, who I suspect was being set up for his own book.