Augusta Podos has just landed her dream job, working in collections at a local museum, Harlowe House, located in the charming seaside town of Tynemouth, Massachussetts. Determined to tell the stories of the local community, she throws herself into her work–and finds an oblique mention of a mysterious woman, Margaret, who may have been part of the Harlowe family, but is reduced to a footnote. Fascinated by this strange omission, Augusta becomes obsessed with discovering who Margaret was, what happened to her, and why her family scrubbed her from historical records. But as she does, strange incidents begin plaguing Harlowe House and Augusta herself. Are they connected with Margaret, and what do they mean?
Tynemouth, 1872. Margaret Harlowe is the beautiful daughter of a wealthy shipping family, and she should have many prospects–but her fascination with herbs and spellwork has made her a pariah, with whispers of “witch” dogging her steps. Increasingly drawn to the darker, forbidden practices of her craft, Margaret finds herself caught up with a local man, Jack Pryce, and the temptation of these darker ways threatens to pull her under completely.
As the incidents in the present day escalate, Augusta finds herself drawn more and more deeply into Margaret’s world, and a shocking revelation sheds further light on Margaret and Augusta’s shared past. And as Margaret’s sinister purpose becomes clear, Augusta must uncover the secret of Margaret’s fate–before the woman who calls to her across the centuries claims Augusta’s own life.
This was well-written, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the author’s other books. Mainly because I thought Margaret was a terrible person; very selfish and self-absorbed. I enjoyed Augusta’s POV very much, as she sort of grew into the person she’d kept hidden for years and learned to stand up for herself. The touch of romance was nicely done and didn’t become the priority. I did like the glimpses of life in the past, I just thought Margaret was terrible.
Hester Fox lives in Virginia. A Lullaby for Witches is her newest novel.
(Galley courtesy of Harlequin in exchange for an honest review.)