Until the Dawn
1898. High on a cliff overlooking the Hudson River Valley, the abandoned Vandermark mansion hides family secrets. When Quentin Vandermark unexpectedly returns, he is furious with Sophie van Riijn for establishing a weather station on the roof without his permission. She is shocked by his plan to have the house demolished and is determined to change his mind.
I was intrigued by Sophie’s unusual job and by the gothic touches. However, the disparity between what the novel tells and what it shows is jarring. The supposedly terrifying bodyguards giggle about squirrels and melt like little boys when they smell Sophie’s freshly baked muffins. Similarly, Quentin is apparently a harsh father, but the cruelest thing he does is send his son to bed when he won’t eat his mushrooms.
Anachronisms abound, with slangy, modern language (e.g. “morphed”), and 21st-century attitudes, especially about women’s roles. Furthermore, the romance was unbelievable. I couldn’t imagine any man, much less the brooding Quentin, being attracted to chirpy, preachy Sophie. Quentin’s grandfather speaks the truth when he tells her, “Quentin has a dark soul, and your cheerfulness is like acid to him.” Her cheerfulness was like acid to this reader as well. Not recommended.