Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Genre: Historical, Paranormal, YA
Published: 4th July 2011 (Bloomsbury)
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?
With her mother faking it as a Medium, Violet doesn't believe in ghosts. That is until they start to appear to her. One spirit in particular is persistant in making her presence known and Violet soon realises that she has to help this girl rest by finding out who murdered her.
Haunting Violet has a Gothic Victorian setting and is very much reminiscent of some of the classics; in places it reminded me of Austen's Northanger Abbey. Harvey's writing while up-to-date in terms of language and style, still manages to fit in with the period of the book.
Violet herself is a brilliant character, with elements of both strength and vulnerability. With her unusual upbringing which revolved largely around her mother's fraudulent lifestyle, she struggles to fit in to the well-to-do society that she finds herself. Although she knows all the rules of etiquette and what is deemed 'proper', it's not easy for her. I liked that while she pushed the boundaries a little, it was still appropriate for the time period. Violet also struggled with her new found ability, largely because she didn't want her mother to know about it as she didn't want it exploiting. Fortunately she has Colin, a childhood friend and potential love interest, to help her.
The story has a bunch of twists and turns throughout and while not the most dramatic or shocking, they did keep me guessing for most of the book as to who the murderer was. All in all, Haunting Violet was an enjoyable, well written and well researched book that fully lived up to my expectations.