Review: The Secret of Dartwood Manor (The Witchling Trilogy #1) (ARC)

Published January 18, 2021, 388 pages

Author: N.A. Triptow

Witches. Ghosts. An ancient secret. Enter a world of myth and magic through this contemporary fantasy reimagining of Jane Austen’s beloved classic, Sense and Sensibility.

The small New England town of Tarryville, Maine is steeped in history, having been settled by the Dartwood and Farris families who fled Salem during the witch trials. The Dartwood sisters, Eden, Mariah, and Melissa, unexpectedly return home after their parents are found murdered. Upon their arrival, the girls are plagued by dreams in which dark spectral beings haunt them. When the hellish creatures seem to be more than just nightmares, another mystery begins to unravel as they discover that the circumstances around the murder of their parents may be far more menacing than they appear. Frantic for answers, they must untangle the mystery of their parents’ murders and reconstruct the pieces of an ancient secret. With the help of the young assistant curator of their family museum, Baden Correia, and an estranged friend from their past, Evan Farris, the orphaned Dartwood sisters must uncover the truth before the darkness haunting their family descends upon them as well.

This book was a fantastic read! Retellings can be tricky as they can be too word for word of the original or they can go in the exact opposite and be nothing like its origin. This novel managed to find a good balance of being original while keeping the inspiration of the original Sense and Sensibility that’s well-known by any Jane Austen reader. The novel even opens with a quote about Dartwood Manor from Jane Austen’s book.

This story is set in the small town of Tarryville, Maine in New England. The northeast setting fits the story as the supernatural aspects fit right in to the setting. The name of the town sounded familiar to me, so I looked it up and found a similarly named town in Connecticut, although none in Maine. It does not make a difference to me if a fictional or real location is used in any story, but curiosity does get to me in case I ever want to visit. Our supernatural beings, witches and ghosts were well-done to fit the different time periods and the setting. The murder mystery gave an entertaining twist to the more romance-centered Jane Austen tale and I loved the extra dimensions.

Our three sisters, Eden, Mariah, and Melissa Dartwood were all delightful characters and they each played well off the others to create a great sibling dynamic. Our other main characters, Baden Correia, the curator of the Dartwood family museum, and Evan Farris, the Dartwood sisters’ estranged friend were well-written. Together this cast of characters set forth to unlock the mystery of the Dartwood parents’ murders. By exploring their deaths, the sisters also discover more about their family history and its secrets.

Even though the length is over 300 pages, it actually is a fast read. The flow is great as the events move at a good pace while ensuring that each event/character gets the details they need. It is light-hearted as much as it can be while balancing the heavier feelings of grief, and of course, the murders. Mythology plays a part in the writing, which always makes a novel favorable to me. It’s integrated well into the magic system used in this story. The writing itself relates itself to reality while maintaining the fantasy aspects to the point where it feels like this could have been a true tale at times.

Overall, this novel was a great read as it mixes romance, mystery, and fantasy seamlessly. As a reader, you don’t feel too bogged down in one genre or another which makes it a good read if you’re curious about another genre, but don’t want a full-blown novel of that genre yet.  This novel is set to be book one of The Witchling Trilogy, so now I have to eagerly wait and anticipate the releases of books two and three. A great fantasy read with a romantic aspect! I would gladly read the rest of the series and re-read this one anytime!

**I give a special thank you to Booksprout, the author, and the publisher for the ARC to read and review. The opinions expressed are completely my own.**

7 thoughts on “Review: The Secret of Dartwood Manor (The Witchling Trilogy #1) (ARC)

  1. I will try this out since I am not one who read fantasy often, this sounds like a good one to pick up! But I’ll wait for the other two books to release so that I don’t have to wait 😂🥺

    Liked by 1 person

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