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  • Writer's picturechristinerainswrit

Review for The Quiet Stillness of Empty Houses


Blurb: Theodora Corvus can hear the whispers of her crumbling family home. She can hear the whispers of Kingsward Manor, her place of employment. She sees the watchers by the lake, black-eyed and waiting. But Broken Oak is silent. Broken Oak is empty.


When Theodora takes the job as governess to young Ottoline Thorne, she leaves behind her beloved grandmother and the decaying ruins of her childhood home to travel far north to Broken Oak Manor. There, she finds a house filled with secrets. Under the stern eye of the foreboding housekeeper, Theodora quickly navigates the dark and winding corridors of Broken Oak, only to find herself irrevocably drawn to the mysterious lord of the manor. But someone walks the hallways late after nightfall, their footsteps leading to the attic. The only place in the sprawling house that does not remain silent.


As her scandalous feelings for Cassias Thorne grow, Theodora fights to unearth the secrets of Broken Oak. Who wanders the house at night? Where is the Lady of the manor? What lies behind the attic door high up under the eaves of the house?


“Where is Lady Thorne, Cassias? Where is your wife?”


Review: Theodora Corvus lives in the crumbling ruins of Woodrow House with her grandmother. It's a lonely and dark place, but she isn't so alone with the whispers of the family home. When she takes a job as a Governess at Broken Oak far in the north, the house doesn't whisper to her and that's far more disturbing that whatever wanders the manor at night. Theodora adores the young Ottoline, but she doesn't know what to do when she develops feelings for Cassias Thorne, the lord of the manor. She is determined to discover the secrets of Broken Oak and where Lady Thorne might be, but what will the price of uncovering them be?


This is a beautifully written gothic romance. The prose is lyrical and the atmosphere creepy and ethereal. There are ghosts, both imagined and real! I love the details of the various houses, and I would love to learn more of Woodrow House where the Corvus family lives and Theodora's grandmother. It's also highly emotional as I felt for everything that Theodora had gone through in her life. Be forewarned, that she has a governess job before the one at Broken Oak, and the lord of that manner assaults her. I would have liked to see her deal with that trauma, but she buries it and never addresses it in her internal thoughts. While I did guess the big twist, it didn't take away from my enjoyment of it. It was incredibly well done with all the little hints that lead to it. I also adored Theodora and Cassias together. It didn't happen fast. The slow burn and their heartache were twined just right. It is adorable how the little girl, Ottoline talks about Theodora having room for them all in her heart while Cassias' previous wife did not. I do wonder a lot about the mystery of Broken Oak after the ending, but I won't give any spoilers on that. You'll have to read to find out!


You can find L.V. Russell on her site and buy the book here.

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Gast
24. Mai 2023

The cover is gorgeous! It sounds interesting -- a good mystery in a spooky old house. - H. R. Sinclair

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