About half-way through. Still no sign of the promised ghost aunt. Beginning to think she won’t show. Meanwhile our protagonist finds the children growing on her with their quirky damage. Continues to feel like she is being fitted into a narrative she did not ask or want to be moulded to (new dresses appearing in her wardrobe, persuasion that gardening is her true passion, that sort of thing). Sometimes when I am reading this feels almost like a horror narrative.
Also meanwhile, spending time with their handsome, son-of-an-earl father who is still grieving his wife after five years. But he does bring with him the stirrings of mystery plot. Had to remind myself not to scoff at the hint of supernaturalism in the colour-changing stained glass window that doesn’t need restoring, since this is after all a ghost aunt mystery (minus one ghost aunt). Aaand casting suspicion on the Duke’s obsessive quest to enact the ritual of his family’s legend, plus the vast sums of mysteriously obtained money funding this. He’s even built himself a Stepford village! I suspect the resolution of this plot will be to clear the Duke of all suspicion, perhaps with some otherworldly intervention.
Bit of US writer feeling when the kids are served cider at lunch, since in most of the world unqualified cider is an alcoholic beverage (details I latch onto). I was a bit gratified by the protagonist drawing upon her computer expertise to impress others and make helpful mystery-solving suggestions. Mainly because I’ve been worried the fulfilment of this story will involve her casting off her successful computing business to take on the roles of wife and gardener. But not so gratified by the ‘not like other girls’ undertone. Paired with love interest being proud of his shamefully-for-an-earl’s-son practical interests in life. But it does improve my reception of the romancey togetherness.
[sometimes I gotta remind myself I don’t have a policy on spoiler or non-spoiler info, or writing in a recappy or non-recappy style, although if I think it might be something a lot of people would be concerned about spoilers for and not have read maybe I should use a cut]