Anne Fleming abandons her life as a graduate student after a traumatic incident, fleeing to England.  On the plane, she has encounters that will change the course of her life.  Bain Tierney is a dark-haired, dark-eyed Irish bad boy that draws the emotionally damaged Anne like a moth to a flame.  He suggests she take a room where he stays, a boarding house called Wildfell.  Wildfell has a sinister reputation that Anne soon realizes is well earned. As Anne is drawn into London life, she falls under Bain’s spell and discovers the dark and lethal secrets of Wildfell.

“Wildfell” is a modern-day Gothic suspense.  The first-person POV casts Anne into the role of a naïve, vulnerable Gothic heroine who falls helplessly under the appeal of a compelling but troubled antiheroic love interest.  Events in the story will have readers sharing Anne’s doubt about what’s real and what is not.  Is she on the edge of madness, or are supernatural events occurring that are beyond any human’s control?  While the Gothic elements are fascinating and well written with some genuinely creepy moments and characters, the relationship between Anne and Bain falls flat. Bain lacks the magnetism of Gothic love interests such as Rochester from “Jane Eyre” or Heathcliff from “Wuthering Heights”.  It is difficult to understand his irresistible appeal to Anne.  Readers who love a good paranormal suspense novel that harkens back to 19th century dark Romantic literature will feel the appeal of “Wildfell”, even if the romance leaves the reader wanting more.

Danielle Hill