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The House at Thunder Cove by Michele Yount Thomas
A very good one!

It's around 1855. Miranda was born and raised in Bombay as only child of a poor missionary couple who died of cholera when she was 17. She didn't want to remain in India and since she had no more relatives, she went to New Bedford, the farthest place she could book passage to on a sailing ship. Luckily a fellow passenger arranged for her to get a position as governess, as Miranda herself was not a very capable young lady. The children she needed to care for were not nice, to say the least, one of the reasons they went through new governesses every month or so. Miranda managed to stay on because she saw no way out. Alas, after two years she had blossomed into a very attractive girl and the master of the house attempted to take advantage of her. She is saved by a houseguest who even proposes marriage to her the next day. That seemed to be a fairytale ending to Miranda's life of drudgery, if it hadn't turned out that things were not so pleasant at her new husband's home either. His mother and her female companion seem to hate her from the start. Miranda is naturally shy and their behaviour makes it even worse: she feels inferior and apologizes for all and sundry. Her marriage isn't well either, which could have been expected. She wonders why her husband wanted her in the first place and she shirks from his attentions (not to shy to deny her husband, so there's hope for little Miranda). And indeed, as the book progresses she learns to speak up for herself a little more, though she still does foolish things that get her into trouble. Then again, a heroine in trouble is one of the ingredients of a gothic, right?

More ingredients that were used remind the reader of "Rebecca": a beautiful bedchamber left untouched after the younger sister of her husband had disappeared mysteriously two years earlier, the mother's companion is a more vulgar immitation of Mrs. Danvers, the clumsy heroine breaks a cherished knickknack of the lost sister and is found out by the companion, there's an old local guy who apparently knows more about what happened but won't explain and only warns her, the heroine organizes a ball for all the local people, and of course the hero isn't much help at all.

Several attempts are made on the heroine's life and even though there are not many usual suspects, you cannot be certain who the murderer is if you don't know his/her motive. The motive will be revealed gradually. And don't worry, the hero will save her in the last second and all's well that ends well.

The setting is beautiful: a small island off the coast of Maine. It's autumn and the author creates a wonderful mood with her descriptions. The reader can learn a bit about the whaling business, too. The house is big but doesn't bring much to the story.

It was a good read. Even though the heroine behaves rather silly at times, you can feel for her. She's just a sweet girl, which she would have had to have been or else the hero wouldn't have proposed to her after being in her presence less than a couple of hours. He needed something sweet in his life. He had been through some trauma of his own while captaining a whaling ship, which was unrelated to the main story but explained his moodiness.

My verdict: an 8 out of 10 (BTW, all my scores will probably be in the upper range of the scale, because I won't finish reading a book that doesn't please me. It gives me great pleasure to throw it in the dust bin, virtually or otherwise).

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