This atmospheric wonderfully gothic tale is really three stories, three separate timelines of fate-twisted love. In the first, a dreamy, well-published author marries a beautiful bipolar, possibly mad woman, who apparently leaps from the Bride tower, a few months after having a child. The author departs never to write again. In the second a charming but flighty American heiress supposedly murders her adoring husband before taking a fatal plunge off the Bride Tower.
In the third tale, the current Viscount Gallagher, Aidan returns to say goodbye to ancestral home his parents were murdered in. His great aunt has hired Carragh Ryan, a bibliophile at lose-ends to catalog the library collection. Together, Carragh and Aidan find a birthday scavenger hunt the American heiress created for her husband. Despite ghostly apparitions, power failures, and a living killer stalking them, they fall in love while they seek to solve the castle’s past crimes.
My only complaint is that there might be a little too much going on in this novel, especially if, like me, the reader is listening to the tale, as each chapter or so features a different time stream. That said the story’s well told, and worth relistening to clarify characters and events.
The Darkling Bride’s got all the mystery, suspense, ancient folklore and sweet romance masters like Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney would have woven in, and the final villain confrontation wraps the three-story lines up nicely.
If you like gothic romances, this is one not to be missed.