Alva Webster is staking what is left of her fortune and tattered reputation on restoring an abandoned and some think haunted house in Upstate New York. Naturally she thinks Professor Samuel Moore’s enthusiastic approach is yet another improper but too common proposition. As fascinated as Sam is about the prickly and sharp widow, it is her ghost that most interests Sam, a wildly successful inventor from a renowned family of scientists. When contractors flee her house in terror, she reluctantly agrees to partner with Professor Moore in hopes of debunking the ghosts stories and getting her restoration project back on track, but instead find herself drawn into a complex mystery and sure to be hopeless romance. I was utterly charmed by this debut, so much so that I ordered a print copy of the book for my keeper after reading a library copy. Biller does a fantastic job creating a sympathetic yet prickly heroine, whose traumatic history rightfully makes her wary of marriage and romance. Biller does a fantastic job of unraveling both Alva and the ghost’s past traumas, and carefully building up the romance and tension between Alva and Sam. I loved the way Biller had Sam confront his enormous privilege without zapping away his hopefulness and enthusiasm. I loved how Biller allowed Alva to regain agency in her life, while at the same time learning to trust and rely on others.
I highly recommend The Widow of Rose House to lovers of mystery with supernatural elements and all those who enjoy seeing an MC break free and find love, family and purpose after a life of trauma.
Content Warnings:Ableism, domestic abuse, mental illness, Murder