It’s autumn 1887, and Mary Trentwood, a grieving young woman, has a problem. Mary’s father has died after years of her caring for him, and in the middle of his funeral she is horrified to watch his ghost crawl out of his grave.
Mr. Trentwood isn’t satisfied with simply haunting his daughter, he provides his fatherly opinions and suggestions whether solicited or not. Mary is left with the decision to pretend she can’t see and hear her father, or face the consequences of probable insanity. Meanwhile, she must settle her father’s estate, tend to her declining house, and handle her passive-aggressive aunt, Mrs. Durham, with care.
Alexander Hartwell has a problem. His widowed sister has been receiving letters threatening blackmail and harm to her child. After months of searching, he has finally traced the source to the country manor house of grieving Mary Trentwood. Unsure who would want to hurt his sister and nephew, Hartwell allows Mary to believe he is her father’s solicitor, arrived to handle the estate paperwork, to allow time for an investigation.
Attraction grows between Mary and Hartwell as they reveal deceptions and uncover unexpected truths in this light-hearted gothic set in the charming countryside of Victorian England.
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(Text with ambient soundtrack)
Reader praise for Haunting Miss Trentwood
- Rachel Fisher, from Goodreads
I don’t know how someone can find humor in a story about your dead father haunting you while a dangerous blackmailer lives under the same roof as you, but Belinda Kroll found a way. If you enjoy Haunting Miss Trentwood, I highly recommend her first novel Catching the Rose. Belinda Kroll is the Queen of Quirky Historical Fiction.
- Nancy Kelley, from Amazon.com
Author Belinda Kroll describes her genre as “quirky Victorian romances” and the appellation is definitely accurate. There is a certain tone and quality readers tend to expect when they hear “Victorian romance.” Think of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell-the entire novel is steeped in the reserved, almost repressed sensibility of the era. While Haunting Miss Trentwood respects the mores of Victorian times, the tone is completely different. I adjusted my expectations pretty quickly when Mr. Trentwood climbed out of his grave at the end of Chapter 1.Despite the image that presents, this book is not at all fantastical in the way Gothic romances are. The supernatural element is treated by the author in a very matter-of-fact manner. Trentwood is an important character, one who holds the final key to the mystery.Ms. Kroll writes excellent dialogue. I was frequently laughing out loud during Mary’s conversations with her father’s ghost.
- Charlie Courtland, from Goodreads
The Haunting of Miss Trentwood is a gorgeously crafted Victorian novel through which Kroll creates a perfect gothic literary revival. Admittedly, the author suggests that upon completion she recognized the influence of Hamlet in the story. I also see other classical influences such as Bronte and Shirley Jackson. However, the most notable and flattering comparison I can draw is to The House of Seven Gables, by Nathanial Hawthorne because “The Haunting of Miss Trentwood” visits the archetypal theme of withdrawal and return. It explores isolation and redemption along with a person’s relationship to the past and determination to a future. It’s about escaping and embracing all that influences or paralyzes. This concept (theme) can be examined as it applies to each character, which is fascinating and would make for a lively literary analysis. Similarly, Kroll achieves the proper restraint evocative of the classical Victorian era while harmonizing it with just the right amount of shadowy eeriness necessary when portraying a haunting. The use of the dying house as a character as well as setting is specific and greatly important in this style of novel. Much like Jackson and other gothic authors, the home is often a breathing thing that isolates or separates characters. There is a definite elegance presented in the word choice and proves the painstaking effort the author took in committing to the voice of the story. The lead character, Mary, is vulnerable, but not overtly fragile. There is a feminist quality to her reactions and thoughts, which is evident in her finding a prince in need of rescuing.
- Adrienne Dye, from Amazon.com
This book has a bit of everything: snarky, searing wit which no character can escape; a spook lurking about with hidden intentions and unknown abilities; and some past sins – as well as more to come – that keep everyone on their toes.I give it four stars because I had a hard time getting into the book, the beginning didn’t do it for me. The can’t-put-it-down feeling finally happened when two of the main characters began their adventurous liaison about a quarter of the way in. Give it a chance and I promise it will suck you in.Boil up a few cups of tea, grab this book, and you’ve got the makings of a great winter afternoon.
- Lauralynn Elliot, from Goodreads
I’ve been reading (and writing) so many modern paranormal romances, that I had to get used to the voice of this book. The style is just a little old fashioned, and it reminded me a lot of books I read in high school.This was definitely a ghost story, and it was set in the 1800’s, but it wasn’t typical by any means. There was a lot of quirky humor in this book, especially when Mr. Trentwood was around. And I love quirky humor.I was really entertained by this book and I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would. It was one of those books where I carried my Kindle around reading, almost running into walls. :) Great story!
- Misha from Amazon.com
Belinda Kroll describes herself as writer of “quirky historical fiction”. I totally agree. I love historical fiction and I have read a lot of it. But I have never read a historical fiction like this one. There is romance, suspense, humour,drama and even the supernatural. In fact it reminded me a lot of Victoria Holt books which I devoured as a 16 year old.The character development was great. You can’t help but like Mary Trentwood. She is brave and has a great sense of humour. Alexander Hartwell is so different from the usual “sexy mysterious ” heroes. I instantly liked him. The scenes and dialogues between him and Mary are very enjoyable.Add to that , the ghost of Mr Trentwood whose one-liners created several laugh-out loud moments.Then there is the whole suspense angle to the story…There is so much happening in every page you turn, that you can’t wait to see what happens next. Despite all the humour and mystery, there is still more depth to the story. Losing a parent is one of the hardest things to cope with. I think this book has captured that well , but with a twist. This was a perfect Halloween read for me!
Book blogger praise for Haunting Miss Trentwood
- From Indie Jane
… Ms. Kroll writes excellent dialogue. I was frequently laughing out loud during Mary’s conversations with her father’s ghost. The book was well paced and enjoyable to read.
- From Tamela Quijas
…Haunting Miss Trentwood is the novel to curl up with and leaves the reader with that warm and fuzzy feeling that can only be delivered by a fantastic bit of delightful historical romantic fiction.
- From Coffee Time Romance
…I do have to say I found Mary to be more of the anguished heroine versus the typical tormented hero, which shows Ms. Kroll used a unique and fresh idea while penning this book.
- From My Love Affair with Books
…Belinda Kroll describes herself as writer of “quirky historical fiction”. I totally agree. I love historical fiction and I have read a lot of it. But I have never read a historical fiction like this one. There is romance, suspense, humour, drama and even the supernatural. Infact it reminded me a lot of Victoria Holt books which I devoured as a 16 year old.
- From Bitsy Bling’s Book Review
…There is a definite elegance presented in the word choice and proves the painstaking effort the author took in committing to the voice of the story. The lead character, Mary, is vulnerable, but not overtly fragile. There is a feminist quality to her reactions and thoughts, which is evident in her finding a prince in need of rescuing.
- From Dear Author
…The premise of the story is one that takes the usual romance plot of the orphaned young lady and adds this interesting twist: that her father’s ghost is haunting her. Not in a metaphorical way, but actually haunting her. That is intriguing. That is a ripe and rich vein to harvest a story from.
- From Readers Favorite
…This is a novel that not only is humorous throughout, there is also a touch of suspense that kept me turning the pages. This book contained just about everything I like to read: Victorian, slightly paranormal with humor and suspense combined throughout, and cleanly written.
1st Edition October 2010.