Book Review: The Darkling Bride by Laura Anderson

The Darkling Bride
Title: The Darkling Bride
Author: Laura Anderson
Release Date: March 6th, 2018
Publisher: Ballatine Books - Random House
Pages: 350
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Mystery - Gothic Mystery

Three generations of Irish nobles face their family secrets in this spellbinding novel from the award-winning author of the Boleyn King trilogy.

The Gallagher family has called Deeprath Castle home for seven hundred years. Nestled in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland, the estate is now slated to become a public trust, and book lover and scholar Carragh Ryan is hired to take inventory of its historic library. But after meeting Aidan, the current Viscount Gallagher, and his enigmatic family, Carragh knows that her task will be more challenging than she’d thought.

Two decades before, Aidan’s parents died violently at Deeprath. The case, which was never closed, has recently been taken up by a new detective determined to find the truth. The couple’s unusual deaths harken back a century, when twenty-three-year-old Lady Jenny Gallagher also died at Deeprath under mysterious circumstances, leaving behind an infant son and her husband, a renowned writer who never published again. These incidents only fueled fantastical theories about the Darkling Bride, a local legend of a sultry and dangerous woman from long ago whose wrath continues to haunt the castle.

The past catches up to the present, and odd clues in the house soon have Carragh wondering if there are unseen forces stalking the Gallagher family. As secrets emerge from the shadows and Carragh gets closer to answers—and to Aidan—could she be the Darkling Bride’s next victim?

This book! It completely took my by surprise. I didn't realize how much I would love a gothic mystery until I read this book. I picked this one up for the mystery but I got sooo much more. 

The setting was enthralling. This story takes place in an old Irish castle that may or may not be haunted. I loved learning about the castle and the family that inhabited it. The way that the story was told breathed life into the castle. It was almost as if I was seeing the family through the eyes of the castle in a way. I love that a lot of the story took place in the castle's library. I couldn't have asked for more with this setting. 

The characters were so interesting and intriguing. I loved that not only did I get to meet the current characters, but I also got to see a lot of snippets from the past as well. It felt like I got to know the whole family and their history without it being info dumping or being overwhelming. Seeing all the stories intermingling brought such a deep life to the story. I love that the main character was a lover of books and was hired to archive the library. The romance was a huge plus and done so perfectly for this kind of story. It was present but it didn't take over the whole story. 

The plot was a perfect slow then fast burn. The book set up in the first half getting to know characters, getting to know the castle and setting. After that first half, things really got going and I couldn't stop reading. I was guessing all over the place regarding the mystery. Nothing in this book felt predictable to me. I really enjoyed this story, way more than I thought since I wasn't sure what to expect.

With an Irish setting, this is perfect for this time of year. But it's also fantastic for any time of year. This book has been compared to Daphne du Marier, and I haven't read any Daphne du Marier, but immediately after finishing this book I wanted to pick up her work. I also wanted to pick up Laura Anderson's other works because she can tell a damn good story. I really fell in love with everything in this story, the characters, the setting, the story; it was all brilliant. If you're looking for an intense family story, a castle setting, a good mystery, and/or a bookish character, then this is the story for you!

Happy Reading from me to you!


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