Monday, February 2, 2015

'Green Willows' by V.J. Banis

Published:  1977 ( relisted in 2012)
Setting:  Historical

I see two women struggling together by the lake. I see them fall into the water... The wind rustles the branches of the willows and it is the sound of gentle sobbing in the night...

Someone screams...


Book Blurb:
Pretty, petite Mary Kirkpatric was not given to fanciful flights of the imagination. But from the evening she came to work as governess at Green Willows, she was convinced that a ghost wandered the dark, rambling halls at night. According to village gossip, it was the soul of Angela Tremayne, the beautiful, saintly, and treacherously murdered mistress of the mansion.

But Mary's growing love for handsome Johnathon Tremayne blinded her to danger -- until two members of the household met violent and mysterious deaths, and one night Mary herself confronted the grisly apparition!


Something dark and mysterious haunts the halls of stately Green Willows. Village gossip says it's the ghost of Jonathon Tremayne's wife, the beautiful and saintly Angela, who was treacherously murdered here. Pretty Mary Kirkpatrick, hired as governess to Jonathon’s only child, Elizabeth, quickly finds herself falling in love with the handsome master of Green Willows, and discounts the gossip--until the night she finds herself confronted with a ghostly apparition! A riveting horror novel with a nineteenth-century gothic setting!


Setting:  A mansion called Green Willows.  According to the details of the book, the house was nestled into the hills of Truro, England.

Plot:  Mary comes to Green Willows fresh out of finishing school.  She has no family, spare an aunt.  She is to be governess to a motherless child.  She finds Green Willows to be cold, haunting, and is plagued by what she feels is the spirit of the child's dead mother.  She then learns the truth of the mothers cold heart, her death, and of a poor orphan girl who died as well.  Mary finds herself at a battle of wits with an evil spirit as she tries to save herself and the child.

Gothic Elements:  mysterious deaths, deaths covered up or lied about, haunting, eyes of a painting moving as if alive, mournful wailing from empty rooms, murder, evil spirits, poor governess, motherless child, hateful and domineering grandfather, crippled and wheelchair bound aunt whom appears unfeeling and disagreeable, cliffs and ocean nearby, terrible storms and lightening, a fire that concludes in death

Romance:  midway through the book a romance, and attraction, begins to bloom between Mary and Jonathan.


This book was exceptionally entertaining.  I found myself drawn into the oppressive atmosphere of the house.  This book reminded me quite a bit of the earlier works of Dorothy Daniels and was a well-weaved mystery, part ghost story and part dark mystery.  I was pleased with the dramatic ending, though the final pages of the book left me with a forlorn feeling of helplessness for the main character, as it seemed she never did quite find her deserved happiness.  Perhaps I'm just used to those always-happy endings.  Overall, highly recommend to fans of vintage gothic/gothic 
romance.



My Rating:
5 Stars

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