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The Shrouded Walls by Susan Howatch
#1
There have been references to this book on other threads, including a mixed up synopsis. Once I started reading it (the book), I felt either I had read it before and did not realize it or it was very similar to another book. Essentially, Marianne marries Axel to avoid becoming a governess after her parents die and Axel was forced to marry an English girl in order to inherit his father's estate. Axel agrees to provide for her twin brother Alexander and sends him off to Harrow to finish school. He returns to claim his inheritance and informs Marianne about the family she is about to meet including the story of how his half-brother Rodric killed his father and accidentally died himself, though his body was never recovered. Eventually, it is revealed that Rodric was not the murderer but may have been murdered himself. 

I have been a fan of Howatch since I first read Penmarric as a teenager. At that age, I did not expect to finish such an epic. She is definitely a great writer, able to keep the story flowing and keep the reader engaged. I have read many of her books now, including several Gothics and she always has a unique spin to all the gothic formulas. The Shrouded Walls is no exception. I guessed at the villain, but again, I don't know if that was because I had read it before. However, if I had read it before, I definitely did not remember the answer as to what became of Rodric. I think Susan Howatch always gets an A in my book.
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#2
Thanks for sharing. This one is on my TBR pile. I've read several of her Gothic romance titles and have collected (but not yet started) many of her family sagas, including Penmarric.
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