July 9th 2011 (UK)
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?
Haunting Violet was excellent. Seriously, so much better than I thought it would be. Not that I thought it'd be bad, it's just I'd heard quite mixed things about her other books so I was slightly wary, but I needn't have been worried! I loved it!
Violet was a simply great heroine, being spunky and clever even though it was generally looked down upon in Victorian society to be either of those things. And even though her mother was kind of a bitch, she still carried on, with the help of a rather lovely Irishman named Colin... ;) But seriously, Violet was awesome, and I could relate to really well despite the different time periods..
Also, the Victorian setting of the novel was really well researched. I could find few faults in her telling of Victorian high society and the workings of the peerage. It was all very well done, and I got completely lost in the book.
The mystery was also gripping, and I think the scenes with Rowena were some of my favourite. I was positively itching to know who the murderer was and their motivations. Plus I loved going through the motions with Violet as she was just getting used to her 'gifts' and some bits did make me laugh when she was more accustomed to them, as most of the spirits were just rather friendly people! It was not the dead you had to be worried about in this book, it was the living. You never knew who the true murderer was right until the last few pages, and Alyxandra keeps you on your toes the whole time. As soon as you think you know who it was, a new suspect appears.
The side characters were really great too. I loved Elizabeth and how lovely she was, despite her general fickleness and whatnot. She made me laugh quite a bit, especially in her pursuits for Frederic's attention, and Rowena was one of my favourite characters even though she was dead and mute... Plus I loved Mr. Rochester! So adorable! And Tabitha was good too, if not a bit moody sometimes... I guess it's acceptable though! And Violet's mother was a right cow! Geez, I wanted to slap her a little...
Haunting Violet was a wonderful, if not slightly creepy, Victorian mystery that will entertain you and keep on tenterhooks to solve the mystery. Definitely one I think you should read! :D