A Dreadful Splendor
by B.R. Myers
out August 23, 2022
ISBN:
9780063209831
★★★★★

I have been on a haunted house lit kick lately and this very satisfyingly scratched that itch.

In Victorian England, Genevieve, a jailed fake spiritualist facing the gallows, is unexpectedly bonded out of jail by the solicitor of a wealthy widower. The solicitor offers simple terms for their deal: Genevieve will conduct a convincing fake séance to help the widower find some closure following his wife's apparent suicide, and in return, the solicitor will represent her in court and ensure she gets a fair trial.

The widower is not what Genevieve expected -- instead of inconsolable grief, he is overcome by a grim determination to find justice for the wife he had barely met or even known, convinced that she didn't commit suicide -- she was murdered.

It seems malevolent forces within the house, specters of evil left behind by generations of his late wife's family, don't want Genevieve to discover their secrets. And this may just be her first séance where something makes itself known.

I love a protagonist who encounters creeping horror and unease and plows ahead anyway, and the twist at the end made this a difficult book to set down.

Highly recommended for fans of the genre, and for those new to it.

arc received for review