This review may contain spoilers, so fair warning, upon reading the review.
About The Book
Douglas Ashton is the cold and unfeeling owner of the gothic Victorian Mansion, Sommersgate House. Julia Fairfax is his stubborn American sister-in-law. After tragedy strikes, Douglas and Julia are forced to live together at Sommersgate and raise their newly orphaned nieces and nephew.
Douglas has no desire to raise his dead sister’s children nor does he want the distraction of the tempting Julia living under his roof. Julia is struggling with grief and trying to make a go in a new country without much help from impossibly handsome but even more impossibly remote Douglas. Not to mention, she has to deal with the active hostility of Douglas’s frosty, Attila-the-Hun-in-a-skirt mother, Monique.
Douglas decides the best way to give the children what they need, get his mother to behave and give himself what he wants is to marry Julia. When he tells her (yes, tells her) she will be his wife, Julia thinks Douglas is (probably) insane. And anyway, she’s decided if she ever has another husband (since the last one wasn’t so great), he was going to be short, balding, have a paunch and worship the ground she walks on (none of these characteristics define Douglas in the slightest).
One more thing, Sommersgate House is haunted by the ghosts of the man who built the house and the woman who was the love of his life. They both died mysteriously at Sommersgate months after it was finished. When they did, a curse settled on the house making it seem strangely alive. And the only way for the beautiful but frightening house to rid itself of this curse is for its owner to find true love.
Sommersagate House was such an interesting read, and far different from what I have read from this author yet. I think I put off this series for so long because I hadn’t heard much about these books, there really isn’t that much talk surrounding this series, especially in comparison to the other series that came out around this as well. But I was wanting something different and I have been trying to get through this author’s backlist and I was intrigued by the setup of the story and getting some unique ghosts and gothic-like elements and I have to say that this author truly impressed me in how she implemented many factors of this book. I wasn’t fully into this book which I spent all day read and I should have finished it but honestly my high blood pressure is really affecting my attention in reading so it took way longer than I would have liked. But I truly enjoyed this book as a whole.
The setup of this book is that there is a painful death in the family. The hero’s (Douglas) sister married the heroine’s (Julia) brother and they had some children but then the parents of the children were killed in an accident and in the last will and testament requested that Douglas and Julia raise the children together. Julia has come to England to reside in the manor house to raise these children that are in desperate need of stability and love. There is a rising tension between Douglas and Julia, they have various views on how the children should be raised but they are also completely different personalities from each other. Douglas is an aristocrat, grew up in a cold unfeeling home, and closed off and almost cold but there is an intensity to him. Then we have Julia, who is warm and compassionate, and bubbly. They are like fire and ice but there are secrets in the house, as well as haunted ghosts that torment the home and the people that live there. Douglas is determined to marry Julia, but Julia refuses to marry anyone due to the disaster that her first marriage became, and thus begins a fierce courtship and battle of the hearts and wills. So who will win in the end?
This was quite an interesting story that this author wrote and I was all for it. I was so fascinated by the setup of the story. I personally have no issues with a couple this connected to each other (as it’s through marriage bonds and not blood ties) to being together. It’s really heartbreaking at times because we see the grief and loss that they as a family are going through and the children that are written are done so well. I just admire what Kristen Ashley wrote in this one and how well she handled certain issues that are very relevant and connect to the reader. I adored the grumpy sunshine elements that permeate the story and I became so drawn into this story and what the author was able to accomplish with this one here. You definitely can go into this one blind though and even not read the blurb here just don’t skim the beginning parts or it might be confusing. I really respected the various tones of emotion that are written within this one here. The romance between these two is one of my favorites as it has a level of angst that just works for me. Although this isn’t the norm for Kirsten Ashley. In most of her books, her couples are “together” pretty early on, but there is this battle of wills almost till the very end. I loved the unrequited love as the hero has been in love with the heroine for a long time, but keeps himself so closed off you don’t even realize it until later. I absolutely adored this hero if I didn’t know this was a contemporary and there was a use of cars, I would think this was a regency or victorian era novel. There are many resemblances that just made this one work out so well for me. There is also an intense gothic vibe to the story that I definitely think will move many readers in such a beautiful way. I need more gothic-like feel stories in my life, and just reading this one was a good reminder of that.
Overall I found Sommersagate House to be an intense love affair of a romance that will sweep you off your feet with paranormal delights, a battle for love, and a family coming together to heal and unite in epic ways…..if you are a KA fan, you definitely need to grab this one up!
Title: Sommersagate House
Author: Kristen Ashley
Genre: Gothic Contemporary Romance
Length: 514 Pages
Storytelling Quality: 4
Story Itself: 4
Character Development: 4.5
Writing Style: 4
World Building 4
Feels + The Romantic Heart 3.75
Cover Art 3.5
Overall Rating of the Book
Simmering—soft warm touches and light intimacy
Warm- a medium level of sexual tension, a balance of sexual and emotional intimacy, lighter on the details in the sexual moments.
Steamin’ up the room -the sexual content is more explicit in the language and tone, heavier amount of sexual scenes.
Blazing fire to the building-The prime focus is the sex scenes, scorching hot, and could burn one. Less focus on the emotional intimacy to the relationship.
Ghosts and Reincarnation
Sommersagate House-Pub 2011 #1 in the Series
Lacybourne Manor-Pub 2011 #2 in the Series
Penmort Castle-Pub 2011 #3 in the Series
Fairytale Coming Alive-Pub 2011 #4 in the Series
Lucky Stars-Pub 2012 #5 in the Series
About The Author
Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorize and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).
Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.
Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).
Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.
And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.