Author: Victoria Lee
Narrator: Lindsey Dorcus
Audiobook Length: 10 hours 15 minutes
Felicity Morrow is back at the Dalloway School. Perched in the Catskill Mountains the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend. Now, after a year away, she’s returned to finish high school. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students – girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds.
Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway’s past. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. In secret rooms and shadowy corners, girls convene. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; but it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget.
It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she has already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at 17, Ellis is eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her past, Felicity is the perfect resource.
And when history begins to repeat itself, Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway – and in herself.
A Lesson in Vengeance is a dark thriller with many twists in an atmospheric setting. The story follows student Felicity Morrow who attends Dalloway School, a very elite boarding school. The students at this school are genius-level where they seem a lot older than their actual ages. She is returning to finish out her senior year after dropping out when her girlfriend, Alex, passed away. The creepiness factor begins to set in when Felicity begins seeing ghosts and believes that she is being haunted by Alex. Additionally, there is a new student, Ellis, at school. She is an eccentric method writer who is attending the school to work on her new novel featuring the mysteries of Dalloway, specifically the Dalloway Five, who were five girls accused of witchcraft and all mysteriously passed away.
The story follows an exploration inside Felicity’s head as she tries to come to terms with Alex’s death and trying to return to normalcy at school. There is Ellis, who Felicity becomes closer to and begins to have feelings for. The two of them become closer as Ellis researches the mystery of the Dalloway Five and possibility what happened to Alex. Since Felicity is an unreliable narrator with the entire story from her perspective, the reader does not fully get the full picture of what is happening at any given moment. The author, for me, did a great job weaving together the mental health element with the paranormal as it is never fully apparent for most of the novel if it is all in Felicity’s head or if it is real. There is a lot of guess work for the reader while the twists and secrets reveal themselves.
The pacing in this story is slower for most of the novel as the writing digs deeper into the characters and mystery. Ellis and Felicity have great chemistry and a romantic connection, but the reader does not fully know what to expect from either. The writing is full of eerie vibes while the academic side reads at an advanced level, at times. As the students are extremely bright, there are a lot of complex words chosen in the writing. At times the story read as if the setting was a college more than a high school with 17-year-old main characters. It still worked though in the novel and it was enjoyable how everything came together in the end. While the ending was a little rushed, I did like that it was unpredictable.
Overall, this was an interesting psychological thriller. The author took a captivating concept and turned it into an entertaining story. It is a very interesting piece of writing as it is both satisfying and not at the exact same time. I loved that I did not guess the ending, but there are some elements that are still left unsolved. While I am very curious about the truth behind these pieces, but does keep the mystery thriller feel of the novel with you after the end. It was a nice introduction, for me, to this author and I look forward to reading more in the future.