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 served to remind me just how much I love well-done ghost stories and historical fiction. If you can combine those two things well, then you'll have won me over and Ms. Harvey definitely did with this story. This book is the perfect combination of eerie haunting and historical intrigue.
Violet wants nothing more than to escape her mothers scheming--so much so that she goes along with it day after day in hopes of getting by until the time comes that she can escape through marriage. It's when Violet actually begins to see the ghosts that her mother pretends to channel that things start to get crazy. Violet doesn't believe in ghosts--but clearly that's not going to stop them from making themselves known to her. What ensues is a story of a ghost desperate to expose her killer and save her sister...and of a girl with visions that she does not care to see.
From the very beginning, Violet was an incredibly affable character. She's a strong, conscientious character, fully aware of her precarious status in society. Her fun, lighthearted relationship with her only real friend, Elizabeth, is a constant reminder of Violet and her mother's precarious situation. Due to her mother's chosen "profession," Violet has very few friends, save Elizabeth and Colin, the boy her mother adopted many years ago to help with her act. Her distaste for what her mother does is overwhelming at times, but she constantly faces the stark reality that she has to keep it up for awhile longer if she hopes to make an advantageous marriage--which seems to be looming just around the corner.
The ghost story really shines alongside Ms. Harvey's historical setting. I thought that the ghosts were the perfect mixture of intrigue and creepiness. You can't quite figure out what message she is trying to send to/through Violet. The only ghost scene that didn't add much for me was the scene in the "Willoughby's" parlor where Violet's mother forces her to show society her "gift." (Although, I do understand how it furthered the plot line a bit, but by this point, I believe I was simply so annoyed with Violet's mom that I was quite ready to be rid of her.)
Overall, Haunting Violet was really a fabulous read. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Violet both discover her sight, fall in love, and break away from her mother all at the same time. This is a thoroughly enjoyable story and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of my own.