Review: The Darkling Bride by Laura Andersen

Darkling BrideThe Gallagher family has called Deeprath Castle home for seven hundred years. Nestled in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland, the estate is now slated to become a public trust, and book lover and scholar Carragh Ryan is hired to take inventory of its historic library. But after meeting Aidan, the current Viscount Gallagher, and his enigmatic family, Carragh knows that her task will be more challenging than she’d thought.

Two decades before, Aidan’s parents died violently at Deeprath. The case, which was never closed, has recently been taken up by a new detective determined to find the truth. The couple’s unusual deaths harken back a century, when twenty-three-year-old Lady Jenny Gallagher also died at Deeprath under mysterious circumstances, leaving behind an infant son and her husband, a renowned writer who never published again. These incidents only fueled fantastical theories about the Darkling Bride, a local legend of a sultry and dangerous woman from long ago whose wrath continues to haunt the castle.

The past catches up to the present, and odd clues in the house soon have Carragh wondering if there are unseen forces stalking the Gallagher family. As secrets emerge from the shadows and Carragh gets closer to answers—and to Aidan—could she be the Darkling Bride’s next victim?

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: Netgalley          My Rating: 5/5 stars

Tucked away in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland, Deeprath Castle has a long, sad history of love, legend, blood, and myths.  The most pervasive of the myths revolves around a beautiful and doomed woman whose legend has been so strong as to survives centuries and seemingly impact the lives of her descendants. 

Several centuries later . . . .

Aidan Gallagher’s family has lived under a curse for the entirety of his life.  As a child, his parents were violently murdered, he and his sister were raised by their cold and tremendously proud aunt, and as an adult all are separated and distant.  With the family manor, Deeprath Castle being the common denominator, Aidan feels he has no choice but to unload the castle on the state as an historic/heritage site.  Before the transfer can happen, however, Aidan and his aunt want the family library catalogued with the intent of donating the contents with the exception of personal/family documents. 

Carragh Ryan has spent the vast majority of her young life in the service of books.  When the opportunity to catalogue the famed Gallagher/Deeprath Castle collection presents itself, she jumps at the chance!  According to her contract, Carragh is to reside in the castle for the duration of the job and confine her activities to the library.  With no objections, Carragh packs her bags and gets to work within hours of her arrival.  The library is vast, her employers are standoffish at best, and Carragh is absolutely certain the castle is haunted.  Within days of her arrival, the double portrait of the Darkling Bride in her bedroom has been moved leaving Carragh with a great sense of unease and more than a few questions.

Though Carragh finds Aidan attractive, he isn’t the easiest of men to approach.  Her questions relate directly to his family, but not her job so broaching certain subjects seems somewhat risky.  As it happens, Aidan quite likes Carragh and as they begin to work together, Aidan becomes more willing to open up and share stories of his family’s past and the myths and legend surrounding Deeprath Castle and the Wicklow Mountains.

With each conversation, Carragh becomes more attached to Aidan and even more involved in the mystery surrounding Deeprath Castle and her Darkling Bride.  What’s more, with each new bit of evidence uncovered, Carragh becomes convinced the ancient legend is, in fact tied to the death of Aidan’s parents.  With each step closer to the truth, Carragh finds herself in danger.  Her safety and her freedom are threatened before all is said and done with her only ally being Aidan Gallagher.

The Bottom Line:  What a wonderfully dark read is Lauren Andersen’s The Darkling Bride.  From start to finish I was absolutely and thoroughly invested in this read.  The legend of the Darkling Bride is woven into every aspect of the story, from the setting, to the characters, to the mystery.  She is always present and truly feeds the entirety of the story which makes it all the more entertaining.  I didn’t want to put this book down and was heartbroken in the best possible way by the resolution to the rather Gothic tale.  This is an early favorite for 2018 and one I heartily recommend.

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