A novella in the House of Night series it follows Neferet before she became a vampire and was merely a sixteen-year-old girl at the end of the 1800th century. Emily Wheiler, as she was known, had her mother died recently, leaving her the lady of the house. Her father is a powerful man in a booming social circle which means that Emily is expected to run the house and ensure that it is correct for any and all social gatherings. However, Emily longs for more than just the role of replacing her mother. Like all House of Night novellas, it is accompanied by sketched illustrations that are simply beautiful. IMPORTANT NOTE: This book contains mature themes so would not be recommended for a young teen or someone unprepared for the adult content.
At one of the parties, Emily sees an old friend of hers; an eligible young man who previously showed an interest in her. They are both interested in each other though it is difficult navigating the waters of social convention in the 1800s. Though the mourning period for her mother is officially supposed to over it would still be inappropriate for Emily to be courted by the young man so soon. Emily’s father forbids her to see the young gentleman, or as we start to see, any man. However, Emily tries to attract the gentleman in secret.
Mr. Wheiler starts to show an inappropriate interest in his daughter; remarking on her beauty and how she must fill all her mother’s roles. Emily starts to feel uncomfortable with his intense attention and confides in her friend who brushes it off as merely a grieving man missing his wife. Emily becomes desperate to escape the clutches of her father and tries to get her gentleman admirer to propose in order to rescue her. As the novella continues her father’s interests become darker and more foreboding.
It was a good book, though a little too dark for my liking, with beautiful illustrations. It wasn’t my favourite of the House of Night novellas but it enhanced the world all the same.
I give it 3/5