Anna Lee Huber, author of the wonderful Lady Darby mystery series, tries her hand at gothic mysteries in this volume I of the Gothic Myths series. In this book we meet Ella Winterton who lives in Norfolk in the early 19th century with her widowed father not long after the loss of her brother Erik in the Napoleonic Wars. Ella’s father has become a drunkard, and Ella must rely on her own wits to keep a roof over their head. When she meets a mysterious stranger on the Broads – one of the famed “Lantern Men” from local lore – she’s initially frightened and then intrigued. She knows that smugglers abound in this area of the country, but when her father is repeatedly fined for drinking smuggled brandy, Ella has few options and casts her lot with the smugglers in order to survive.
Dark, brooding, sinister, and with a sly plot twist at the end, this is a hugely satisfying Gothic novel a la “Jane Eyre”, perfect for cold, dark winter nights. Ella is brave, resourceful, and spirited. You will root for her entire the last page. I’m anxious to see what’s in store for Ella in the next volume.
Amazon link is here.
For the most recent Lady Darby mystery (“As Death Draws Near”) review, click here. Or search for “Huber” in the search box on the home page for all my reviews of Ms. Huber’s books.