Reviewed by: Linda Tonis
Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team
The year is 1925 and Whitmore Hall is a prestigious boys’ school with a dark history. Three women lived in Whitmore Hall and all three were married to cruel, loveless men, two of them died and one now lives there.
Cecily James has lived her entire life at Whitmore Hall first under the fist of her father and now under the fist of her husband the new headmaster Hugh James. When Cecily’s brother died in the war followed by the death of her father she had nowhere to go and no way to run the school her father started, with no other choice she married a man much older than her who insisted that she call him Dr. James. Hugh treated Cecily as a servant and did not hesitate to smack her around when he felt it was necessary. Her life was filled with darkness until a new substitute Latin teacher came to the school.
Raf de Chastelaine came from Romania with a pile of recommendations from very important people and even though he never taught and barely attended school he was hired. There was no way that Hugh was willing to chance one of Raf’s recommendations complaining. Raf is everything opposite of what Dr. James considers to be a proper schoolmaster, he doesn’t wear a tie, his hair always looks uncombed and his shirt definitely needs an iron. He also doesn’t hesitate to teach the boys barefoot and outdoors but he has no fear of Dr. James and he knows that there is evil residing in the school and ghosts walking the garden.
The first woman who died at Whitmore Hall was Isobella Whitmore who was sentenced to death by her own husband Judge Edward Whitmore for a murder he himself committed. Cecily’s mother died a sad woman when Cecily was a child. For the first time in Cecily’s life Raf brings happiness and makes her question why she feared leaving her brutish husband ten years ago. Whenever possible Cecily meets up with Raf always fearful of being discovered which would lead to punishment at the hands of her husband.
When Isobella’s ghost visits Cecily she appears crying and begging for help and she and Raf have to find out what they can do to bring peace to this woman who had no peace in life. The garden gives up some of it’s secrets, a ring that belonged to Isobella a box containing love letters and pictures leaving only one conclusion Isobella had a lover, a lover killed by her husband who then put the blame on her. Who was her lover and where is he buried? Where is Isobella’s grave are Raf and Cecily meant to reunite the lovers in death?
In order for peace to thrive in Whitmore Hall the evil dwelling there must be destroyed, only then can Cecily finally find love and freedom. There were surprises, secrets revealed, romance, ghosts and a rose garden filled with secrets. I look forward to the next book in the series.