REVIEW: The Ghost of Hillcomb Hall – Joshua Ian

The Ghost of Hillcomb Hall - Joshua Ian - Darkly Enchanted Romance

Genre: Paranormal, Historical, Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: MM Gay

Reviewer: Maryann

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About The Book

England, 1910.

Landscape designer Jonas Laurence arrives at the cheerless and fog enswathed Hillcomb Hall, home to the Earl of Stanley and his family, to renovate their crumbling gardens. With a great storm crashing all around, his time is at the mercy of the house’s odd and mysterious occupants.

Captivated by the hauntingly attractive portrait of Lord Stanley’s ancestor, which constantly seems to watch and taunt him, Jonas’s dreams become weird and distressing. And his waking moments are consumed by the strange stories and weird atmosphere of the manor estate.

Ghostly visits in the night leave Jonas no choice but to accept his attraction to the otherworldly spirit from the painting. But is this affaire de coeur real? Or is it all just a trick of the mind, a sinister game being played by the inhabitants of Hillcomb Hall?

The Review

“Hillcomb Hall” is my second read by Joshua Ian. Ian’s first book of the series is a novella.  With “Hillcomb Hall” the reader gets more of his dynamic writing and story telling. 

Jonas Laurence, landscaper designer, loves to use his new techniques in landscaping.  His business partner Derrick has gotten him a job at the gloomy estate of Hillcomb Hall.  

He meets the three women of Hillcomb Hall: Right Honourable Countess of Stanley, Victoria “Vita” Adalyn Grey, Dowager Countess of Stanley and Most Honourable, The Dowager Viscountess Aldrange. Vita is the wife of Graham Benson Grey, 5th Earl of Stanley, who seems to always have business elsewhere and it continuously causes long delays in Jonas getting started at the much-needed landscaping.

He also meets Sarah, a maid who very much tries to be invisible and just do her job, and Cecil, his assigned valet. At first Jonas and Cecil take an interest in each other. But Jonas finds that Cecil is a scamp, and his teasing goes beyond fun and becomes dangerous. 

Jonas is given a room in the secluded wing of the estate. It’s also frightening, with the large portrait of Great Grandfather Stanley that he passes frequently. The portrait seems to follow him and taunt him at every turn.  

With an ugly confrontation with Cecil, weird dreams, screams, a haunted chapel, and the frightening portrait, Jonas can wait no longer and decides to leave the manor without ever meeting Graham.

But then Vita assures Jonas that Graham has returned. What will become of Jonas if he decides to stay one more day?

Ian creates a novel of mystery, fantasy, eerie and ghostly situations with a surprise ending. His writing is fabulous, describing Hillcomb Hall and its overgrown garden in England 1920. All the characters seem odd, but I had to ask myself “are they really”? As Jonas faces his frightening time at the estate, the suspense had me on edge, with no way to know what would happen next.   

I highly recommend this for those who like mystery, paranormal and an odd twist to their stories.  

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California.  Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018.  My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen.  New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012.  She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series.  Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book! 

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing.  I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews.  One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group.  Joining her site was such an eye opener.  I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams.

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