Violet Sterling has spent the last seven years in exile, longing to return to Burleigh House. One of the six great houses of England, Burleigh’s magic always kept the countryside well. And as a child, this magic kept Violet happy, draping her in flowers while she slept, fashioning secret hiding places for her, and lighting fires on the coldest nights to keep her warm.
Everything shattered, though, when her father committed high treason trying to free Burleigh from the king’s oppressive control. He was killed, and Vi was forced into hiding.
When she’s given a chance to go back, she discovers Burleigh has run wild with grief. Vines and briars are crumbling the walls. Magic that once enriched the surrounding countryside has turned dark and deadly, twisting lush blooms into thorns, poisoning livestock and destroying crops. Burleigh’s very soul is crying out in pain.
Vi would do anything to help, and soon she finds herself walking the same deadly path as her father all those years before. Vi must decide how far she’s willing to go to save her house—before her house destroys everything she’s ever known.
I feel in love with Weymouth’s writing after reading The Light Between Worlds, so when I got the chance to read an ARC of her next book I jumped at the chance.
Violet Sterling has been told one thing her whole life, she is to become the caretaker of Burleigh house, one of the 5 great houses in Britain. Nothing must come before the house, not family, friends, love or herself. When she is exiled from the house due to her fathers treason, Violet is not sure how she can go on, until she gets the chance to return. What she finds is a hugely different house from the one she left, torn apart with grief and spreading mortar along the countryside, she is given a timetable by the King, get the house back in working order or it will have to be destroyed. Along with Wyn, her companion as a child, Violet tries to get Burleigh back to the great house it once was, but something is different about Wyn, and the house doesn’t seem to listen to her like it used to. Soon she must decide between the house and her heart as only one can come out intact.
Similar to The Light Between Worlds, I was swept away into a the magical world that Weymouth creates, one that fits seamlessly alongside our own. She writes historic fantasy at its best and she weaves this spellbinding story with a delicate intricacy that leaves you hanging on the edge of the chair. One thing I can say is once her books grab a hold of you, almost like Burleigh house itself, you give yourself completely over to it heart and soul, hoping desperately for the ending that the House and Violet deserve.
Violet is a torn character if I have ever seen one, told all her life that her job as the next caretaker of Burleigh will mean putting the house before everything in her life, she has never been afraid of giving her self over so the house can survive. That is until she finds something else to live for, something she’s not sure she can survive without and shes not sure whether, when the time comes, she will make the decision to save her house or her heart. I honestly loved reading the story from Violets POV, she is so sure of herself and her beliefs, and seeing them change as she grows and realises there is more to life was a pleasure for me to behold. Though Violet is the main character, Burleigh House plays a massive part in the story. I never believed I would empathise with an inanimate object, but with Burleigh being a sentient house, showing its emotions through its treatment of its occupants, the changes in the weather and the little gifts it leaves Violet. I truly felt for the house, even when it wasn’t on its best behaviour.
I didn’t find this book quite as heartbreaking as The Light Between Worlds, but I found that the characters in this book resonated with me a lot more. There was one huge twist that once you read it you cant believe you didn’t see it coming. The author foreshadowed it pretty much from the first page, and once you realise that, you understand it couldn’t have ended any other way.
This book was an easy 4.5/5 for me. I didn’t quite feel the characters as much as I did in the first book, and at some points I found Violet to be overly Naive. That being said, the book itself is written beautifully and I will certainly be picking up anything else that Weymouth writes in the future.