Book Review: Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

8685644Title: Haunting Violet

Author: Alyxandra Harvey

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal, Historical Fiction

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 4,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Violet Willoughby doesn’t believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother’s elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.
Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother’s scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she’s known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?

Haunting Violet is the first historical YA paranormal I’ve read in a while, and I must say, I’ve missed the genre. Violet Willoughby doesn’t believe in ghosts, and with good reason. Her mother is a famous medium in London, except that…it’s all fake. And her mother has enlisted Violet’s help, and the help of Colin, an orphan she took into her home, to keep up the pretense.

As Violet’s mother gets invited to the estate of Lord Jasper to do a seance, Violet is sucked into a murder mystery of paranormal proportions. A year ago, Rowena, an earl’s daughter, drowned, and now her ghost has chosen to visit Violet, and wants Violet to solve her murder. Along with Colin and her best friend Elizabeth, Violet has to find out who killed the persistent ghost, before the murderer sets eyes on her.

The book has a lot of strong points. Violet is an amazing character. She’s strong, intelligent, and sarcastic when need be, but she also fits perfectly in the time era, and she doesn’t overstep (some books set unrealistic heroines that sound way too contemporary despite the historical setting, but not so here). Colin is a cute and charming love interest. He was always there for Violet, and he really loved her, that was obvious from the start. The romance was another strong part – it wasn’t really sizzling, but it was heartwarming.

The murder mystery was all right. I had my suspicions about the culprit, but I wasn’t entirely sure until I finished the book. The historical setting is well crafted, and Harvey has created a lush, intriguing world. The writing flowed well, and I was entranced by the plot. I also liked Violet’s relationship with her mother – although in a way, I hated how Violet’s mother treated her, it was good to see the author spend a lot of time building this relationship and showing it to the reader. Often, YA characters have barely present parents, so this was a welcome change, even if I didn’t like Violet’s mother at all.

Now, for the downside. The characters didn’t have much personality, and the middle part dragged a little. Violet, Colin, Violet’s mother, and Elizabeth had personality enough, but all the other characters lacked personality traits, and didn’t really stand out.

Despite that, if you’re looking for a good YA historical murder mystery with paranormal elements, I wholeheartedly recommend this book.


  1. Glad you liked this one — I have read other books by this author and loved them so this sounds good to me. Great review!!

Speak Your Mind