The Stradivarius by Rae Knowles | Book Review

I love all of these modern day gothic novels releasing. Here's a new one:


The Stradivarius by Rae Knowles

Released May 2023

Source: Received for Review Consideration

Goodreads  | Amazon

When a surprise inheritance and whirlwind romance offer Mae a chance to escape her repressive aunt, she’s all too eager to elope and start life anew in her childhood home. But when she and her new husband arrive, the towering Victorian sits in disrepair, and Mae learns that her father’s decade-old, unsolved murder is still a source of rumor and speculation in town.

Leading the charge to unravel the mystery surrounding her father’s death is Ollie, a vibrant genderqueer and an outsider in their hometown. Sure that solving the cold case will land them a coveted job in the police department, Ollie gains access to the Victorian by agreeing to do maintenance work on the property.

Inside, Mae is taunted by a feminine specter, soft voices from empty rooms, and distinct melodies of Lady Paola: the priceless, Stradivarius violin stolen the night of her father’s murder.

Forte, mezzo-forte, the measured, andante cadence.

Her hiss, her pull, her scream.

Mae fears the house is haunted by her father’s spirit, her husband believes she’s going the way of her mother–slipping into madness, but Ollie suspects something more sinister is at play. If Ollie and Mae can’t work together to uncover the Victorian’s secrets, Mae will join her mother in an institution or her father in the grave.

My 2 Cents for Free!

At 20 Mae comes into an inheritance she had just about given up on. And just in the nick of time. Living in a trailer with her demanding conspiracy theorist of an aunt while tending to a new whirlwind romance with an older man was all becoming a bit too much. She eagerly marries her new love and they move into the gothic old home with plans to fix it up and start their happily ever after.

But this is a modern gothic novel and you just know that none of that is about to happen any time soon and this is why I love reading them! Before long her ideal life turns nightmarish and she can’t trust her own instincts. Mae is young, naive, and very trusting and comes from a traumatic background so you have to get into her mindset when you pick this up. It’s hard to say more without giving away the entire thing so I won’t. I’ll only say that I knew who the culprit(s) were long before Mae figured things out but the fun of a book like this is the reveal of all the ugly secrets as they get exposed.

Mae is sympathetically written but she probably won’t go down as my favorite character because she spends so much of the story withdrawn and confused but I LOVED her friendship with secondary character Ollie. Each time Ollie and their pets showed up on the page, they stole the show. Ollie is a true crime junkie fascinated with the history of Mae’s home and I’d love to read a book where Ollie was the main character, running around town solving cold cases and collecting stray animals. That would be so much fun.

I recommend The Stradivarius if you’re into gothic stories - and why wouldn’t you be? It has lovely prose, perfectly described creepy settings and interesting secondary characters. The only thing missing was some arsenic cookies because some people truly do deserve them

⭐⭐⭐




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