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Irene Pascoe ~ Romance Novelist

Reviews-Belle Haven

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The Curse of Belle Haven

Alexandra Chandler arrives at Belle Haven, the Charleston, South Carolina estate where her stepsister Charlotte died mysteriously. There she meets dashing doctor Matthew Steele, Charlotte's widower, and her nephew Rory. Alexandra begins a quest to find answers about Charlotte's death. She is entranced by Matthew, a doctor who secretly treats African American slaves in the segregated South.

Set in a Gothic Southern mansion, this book is heavy on romance and setting and more realistic than paranormal. Ms. Pascoe's descriptions of Belle Haven and the mores of 1850s Southern society are lush but not overwrought. Alexandra, her sister-in-law, Felicity and Felicity's grandmother, Hester, the family matriarch, prepare for a ball to held at Belle Haven. Despite many nights of camaraderie, Alexandra becomes suspicious of the whole family, except for Hester. Even Matthew's seductive charm cannot convince her that he had nothing to do with her stepsister's death. She pours over her sister's diaries and other papers for clues.

The Curse of Belle Haven is a well-written trip into pre-Civil War America with a bit of mystery thrown in for good measure. Alexandra is awakened at night by strange lights emanating from the nearby cemetery. Wary of the Steele's explanation for the lights, she fears for her safety. When the true reason for the errant glow is revealed, it's a total surprise to both Alexandra and the reader. The Curse of Belle Haven is an excellent historical read with just the right amount of Gothic tension. It is one of the best romance e-books I've read recently.

Reviewed by: Jade


 

The Curse of Belle Haven

Irene Pascoe
Gothic
Available from Wings ePress
ISBN: 1-59088-466-3
December 2005

Alexandra Chandler is returning to America after her stepsister's death. She had been in France studying fashion design in hopes of opening her own salon when she heard of Charlotte's death. She had already planned to visit Charlotte because she had given birth to a baby boy. Never did she imagine that she would be coming back to settle her estate. She was also concerned to find out about how Charlotte had died. Mathew, Charlotte's husband had written saying that there had been an accident but he did not give any details. Alexandra knew that they had been having problems in their marriage and that Charlotte was in love with someone else. When she arrives at Belle Haven she senses she is not welcomed. Matthew, his brother Tyler, and his sister-in-law are keeping secrets. She finds herself drawn to the handsome Matthew and knows this attraction is mutual. Yet he continues to act as if she is intruding in his life and watches her every move. This just makes Alexander more determined to discover the truth behind all the secrets at Belle Haven.

The Curse of Belle Haven the title may come from the home in the story being named Belle Haven and all the unfortunate and mysterious things that happen. This imaginative tale written by Irene Pascoe is filled with suspense and intrigue. The plot of the story is getting to the bottom of all the secrets and discovering the truth behind Charlotte's death. This is concluded in such a way as to take the reader by surprise. The characters are fully developed in physical description as well as personality. Alexandra has worked hard for her career. Yet she takes her responsibilities to her family seriously. Matthew is a person that cares for and protects the unfortunate. It is hard to imagine he may be behind any wrong doings. Yet you wonder how far he would go to help someone. The dialogue is well written in a logical manner. It conveys the thoughts and attitudes of the characters and is easily followed. The emotions behind the story are felt, especially as Alexandra becomes closer to Matthew. She wants to love him but he keeps secrets from her. She begins to care for the family but they do not tell her what is going on and she feels excluded and unwanted. As Matthew and Alexander become passionate, Alexandra is unsure if Matthew is just using her. She feels he may even be using their relationship as a distraction. You can imagine the hurt this character feels. The passion between these two characters burn up the pages. The Curse of Belle Haven is brilliant and innovating story filled with passion and intrigue.

Overall rating:
Sensuality rating: Very sensual

Reviewer: Anita
May 26, 2006