This story was very creepy. I mean that in a good way. If you’re going to read suspense, you want to be creeped out. Add historical to the suspense, and you have a sort of gothic setting. This is a combination I really enjoy. Even the title, Gatehaven, implies something of a macabre nature, and the fact that the occult is involved.
Our heroine, Shannon Aimee, a young Scottish woman, has been proposed to by Edward Wellesley, The Earl of Northon. She has only known him for several months, but he wants her to travel from her home in Scotland to England with him to meet his family before announcing their engagement. Her mother is dead-set against it, but her father allows it. Secretly, they plan for Shannon’s older brother, Peter, to follow her there to make sure she is safe. Also, Shannon’s lifelong best friend, Ian Colquhoun, is concerned, as he does not trust the earl. It is arranged through Edward for Ian to travel with them under the guise of learning from the vicar at Gatehaven for him to become a man of the cloth. But he mostly agrees to go as a favor to his pastor in order to find out about the murder of the minister’s cousin some years before.
When they all finally arrive in England, along with a chaperone for Shannon, she does not receive the welcome she imagined. The earl’s mother and grandmother immediately take a disliking to her, and put her up in the servant’s quarters. But that isn’t the worst of it. Shannon spots two mysterious women at the window of an upper room, but told by Edward she is seeing things; she is cajoled into palm readings by her chaperone, Miss Foster, who always speaks of the spirit world, and sees a group of men walking around above-stairs wearing long hooded robes.
There is a lot that goes on and too much to explain here, but a man shows up named Etienne Gabeau, who seems kind. Unbeknownst to Shannon, he’s had ties to her family in the past. Shannon is eventually kept a prisoner at Gatehaven, and Ian and Peter must find clues as to what is going on, and how to get Shannon safely back to Scotland before it’s too late.
This small synopsis does no justice to the story in its 99,000 word entirety. You just need to read it. If you like any type of suspense novels, you will thoroughly enjoy Gatehaven. Trust me.