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  • Mysterious And Ghostly! Fun!

    I was lucky to receive an advance copy of this book to read and review. The story begins in the fall of 1873 in the mountains of Colorado, and focuses on Abigail, the daughter of Eva, introduced in the first book of the Owl Manor Trilogy. Abigail, a troubled young woman abandoned at the altar, decides to return to Colorado and to Owl Manor, which she recently inherited. She lived at Owl Manor as a child, with her mother and her mother’s lover, the rich and violent madman Rafe Bradstone, until the mysterious, horrific deaths of the two lovers at the manor. Though she is still filled with fear from past happenings at the manor, she feels she has nowhere else to go is afraid of facing the unknown elsewhere. Enter Victor, a distant relative to Bradstone, who believes that he should have inherited the Manor, not someone completely unrelated to the family. He moves into the manor on false pretenses and the horrors, and possible romance, begin anew. Although not of a genre I would normally read, I thoroughly enjoyed this story as it drew me in and enveloped me into the dark, mysterious, foreboding world inhabited by Abigail. The author does a great job of building suspense while entwining a mysterious who (or what) is behind the murders and mysterious happenings going on. Angry owls, mysterious murders, malevolent apparitions, frigid snowstorms, evil intentions, with a bit of dark romance… what could be better? I really enjoyed the descriptive, evocative pace of the book. There is just enough information on each of the characters to get a sense of who they are, and to start questioning their motives and intentions for being at Owl Manor. I enjoy a book where I cannot figure out exactly what, or why, (kind of a ‘who done it?’ book) but I still can follow along and want to learn more. This book did a great job of hooking me in! I highly recommend this book and will definitely seek out other works from this author, and other books in this genre, in the future.

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  • Outstanding writing. 5 stars!

    When Abigail returns to Owl Manor, the only home she’s ever really known, she is expecting to live her life in relative isolation in the newly transformed, long-term lodging. The manor and the spirits within and around, the owls, have different plans altogether. As this macabre tale unfolds Abigail and Victor experience transformation- some resulting in triumph and some in loss. The darkness in the manor is ever present. The story is, nonetheless, riveting! Zita writes with such clarity and conviction that I felt as though I was present in the manor witnessing the events unfold! I’m not generally a fan of this genre but Abigail is a real page turner and as captivating as part one, The Dawning. I hope I don’t have to wait two more years for the final story in this trilogy.

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  • A satisfying sequel

    Those who read Owl Manor: The Dawning will be keen to know how the story progresses in this sequel, given the explosive ending to that book. And returning readers will not be disappointed - the sequel does not feel shoe-horned or rushed, as many sequels do, and familiar characters from that first book are joined by new characters in a way that feels like an organic continuation of that story. The sequel to Owl Manor: The Dawning, Owl Manor - Abigail strikes a very different note when it first starts, however - roughly the first half of the book has the feel of what can only be described as a dark Regency romance. Owl Manor itself, which felt like a key character in the first book, almost fades into the background and is simply a backdrop to a study in manners and mores of the time in which this book is set. Several new characters arrive at Owl Manor and their interactions form the bulk of the first part of the book. And perhaps this is the only aspect of the book I was disappointed with: where each of the characters in the first book was keenly drawn with a clear voice and their own motivations, these new characters feel roughly sketched and two-dimensional. I sometimes found myself flipping back to a previous section to remind myself who a specific character was or what they had revealed about themselves upon their arrival at the Manor. I put this down to the sheer number of characters involved, and how much scene-setting the author wanted to accomplish before getting to the meat of the story. This is a shame, because when the bodies start to pile up I didn't feel anything apart from surprise at how quickly these characters were being despatched. It is then, however, that the author returns to the gothic roots in which her first entry into this series was steeped - suddenly the dark Regency romance becomes a gothic horror as snow blankets the house, the police refuse to take a hand, a murderer stalks the halls, and the owls and the ghosts return. I have to admit to being relieved at the turn in tone midway through the book, as the author so successfully draws the claustrophobic atmosphere and the cloying darkness around the reader like a heavy blanket by a dwindling fire in a dark room. This is what I enjoyed so much about the first book, and this is what I came into the second book hungrily seeking, greedily turning page after page in the hopes of finding... Our heroine is trapped, alone and seemingly unloved, blinded by her own childhood scars and the weight she carries in heart from twin rejections by her mother and her lover. The change in her circumstances is sudden, insidiously and cleverly planned, and she is such a product of her time that escape seems hopeless and a doomed ending inevitable. Those around her struggle to extricate her from her plight, and the reader is reminded that during this time something as simple as a locked door and an aggressive manner could prevent the bravest of souls from acting. Themes of female powerlessness and subservience, and the literal and figurative ghosts of the past, tie this book to the first but these themes are less prominent in this sophomore entry. Also featuring less in this book are the historical insights the author included in the first, such as the plight of miners, and the abject poverty of those unlucky in the gold rush. Where the first book did so much world building, in this book the world is, like Owl Manor itself, simply a backdrop to the tragic story that unfolds for these characters. Summary A satisfying second foray into this world, this return to Owl Manor will surprise returning readers who think they know what to expect. Fans of Wuthering Heights will feel right at home, as will anyone who enjoys a good ghost story.

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