*June 21st, 2011 Walker Books for Young Readers
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?
It's a little unfortunate that there isn't more historical YA out there these days, especially considering how they could provide the perfect context for [recently in demand] ghost stories. Harvey portrays an immersive world of Victorian society and Lords and cultural aspects of days gone by. It's the perfect setting for her well put together tale. Haunting Violet has a bit of everything - mystery, intrigue, gossip, scandal...
For the most part, the mystery element in Haunting Violet is relatively well done. The more observant reader might catch on fairly in advance of the characters doing so, but the plot line throughout is interesting. The characters are likeable and credible as belonging to the Victorian era. Violet's voice and personality shine with charisma throughout the course of the novel, more than earning her right to be the title character.
If you're looking for a good ghost story or a mystery novel or something set in the Victorian era, or just a good read in general, Haunting Violet is definitely one worth checking out.
Alyxandra Harvey has created a haunting tale with Haunting Violet.