The day Anne Tinning turns seventeen, birds fall from the sky. But that’s hardly the most upsetting news. She’s being dismissed from the home she’s served at since she was a child, and shipped off to become the newly hired parlor maid for a place she’s never heard of. And when she sees the run-down, isolated house, she instantly knows why:
There’s something wrong with Rosewood Manor.
Staffed with only three other servants, all gripped by icy silence and inexplicable bruises, and inhabited by a young master who is as cold as the place itself, the house is shrouded in neglect and thick with fear. Her questions are met with hushed whispers, and she soon finds herself alone in the empty halls, left to tidy and clean rooms no one visits.
As the feeling of being watched grows, she begins to realize there is something else in the house with them–some creature that stalks the frozen halls and claws at her door. A creature that seems intent on harming her.
When a fire leaves Anne trapped in the manor with its Master, she finally demands to know why. But as she forces the truth about what haunts the grounds from Lord Grey, she learns secrets she isn’t prepared for. The creature is very real, and she’s the only one who can help him stop it.
Now, Anne must either risk her life for the young man she’s grown to admire, or abandon her post while she still can.
Where do I start? This book is amazing! A blend of Gothic literature and fairy tale with a splash of horror, it can best be described as Beauty and the Beast meets Jane Eyre. And since those are two of my all-time most beloved stories, it’s no surprise that I fell hard for this one.
The Rose Master starts with Anne, a parlor maid in a prominent London estate, being surrounded by falling birds. But that’s only the beginning of the strange events that mark her seventeenth birthday. She’s soon summoned by Lady Caldwell and informed that she’s being shipped off to one of Lady Caldwell’s distant relations in the middle of nowhere. Dismissed from the home she’s grown up in and torn away from the servants she views as family, Anne has no choice but to embark on the journey to Rosewood Manor.
She can tell instantly that there’s something wrong with the place. Silence cloaks its run-down exterior, and a profusion of roses covers everything, stifling the winter air with their pungent scent. The staff is small — only three others — and covered in suspicious bruises and scratches, the manor is colder inside than the frigid air without, and the Lord of the manor is nowhere to be seen. Confused, Anne tries to settle into the house’s routine, which can only be described as unconventional. She knows there’s something her fellow servants aren’t telling her, but she has no idea what.
When strange noises start following her around and eerie scratching haunts her door at night, she begins to realize that the manor is haunted. But it’s not until she finally meets Lord Grey and demands answers that she learns the truth — she’s the only one who can help save the manor from the creature roaming its halls.
The description sounds fairly benign, but don’t let that fool you. The Rose Master is definitely a horror; it will leave you creeped out and questioning what the heck is going on as surely as Anne herself does. Written in a style reminiscent of the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen, it’s lyrical prose is well-crafted, with some of the most beautiful analogies I’ve ever come across. A modern fairy tale, set against a Victorian backdrop, it’s sure to become a classic and would be perfect for adaptation to the silver screen (Disney, if you’re out there, this one has you written all over it!). Whether you’re a fan of the romantic, Gothic stylings of the Bronte sisters, or are simply looking for a creepy take on the fairy tale genre, I can’t recommend this one enough.
It’s currently available in eBook form via Amazon (with additional retailers coming soon), and will be in paperback on 7/8/14. To find out more about The Rose Master, be sure to check out Valentina’s official website or the REUTS Publications page.
Happy reading! 🙂