Boston in the 1800’s. Sisters Tabby and Alice are on the run as they’ve just escaped their cruel, abusive aunt and uncle. They choose to split up so that they can reduce the likelihood of being found and Alice leaves Tabby to hide out in a cemetery for awhile. There, Tabby meets Eli, an old caretaker at the cemetery. The two develop a respectful bond and Eli comes to think of Tabby as a daughter and likewise, Tabby thinks of Eli as the father she didn’t have and she helps him with his caretaking and grave-digging work.
Tabby meets Caleb who is at the cemetery to bury his father. He finds her beautiful but he’s engaged and Tabby doesn’t want to encourage him despite her own feelings. They remain good friends and they will need one another’s help when each is in danger.
Tabby discovers that she can communicate with the dead – an ability that may prove useful as a secret organization is currently robbing graves in order to experiment on the bodies. But her ability is used against her though she may need it to save Caleb as he is accused of murdering his fiancé.
This was kind of a new genre for me to read. I’ve read plenty of fiction with supernatural elements, but this strikes me as more of a gothic romance – a genre that I have mostly avoided because … well … I don’t know why other than it hasn’t appealed to me.
Author Hester Fox creates a dark, moody atmosphere (which is something I would expect in a gothic romance) and yet our central character, Tabby, somehow always seems bright and positive, even in the bleakest of moments. It’s an unusual dichotomy, and I’m not even sure how intentional it was, but it worked because it kept me interested in the story. I cared about Tabby, and by extension, Eli and Caleb (and even Alice, though she isn’t in much), so what happens to them is always pressing for me as the reader.
I did expect, or want, there to be more to the “Resurrection Men” part of the story, but I felt it did take a back seat to the romance aspects. Even Tabby’s ability to communicate with the dead didn’t contain as much interest or excitement as I was hoping for.
In all, not a bad read. It doesn’t make me eager to read more of Fox’s work or the gothic romance style, but neither does it deter me from such.
Looking for a good book? The Orphan of Cemetery Hill by Hester Fox is a gothic romance with a strong, positive central character who will appeal to many readers.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Orphan of Cemetery Hill
author: Hester Fox
publisher: Graydon House
paperback, 384 pages