Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Vanished Bride of Northfield House | Blog Tour with Excerpt, Review, Guest Post, Giveaway

The Blurb

England, 1922.   Times are hard. Anne Chatham is a clever, modest young woman with little money, no prospects for marriage, and a never-shared secret — she can see spirits.

Anne finds employment as a typist at Northfield House, the grand country manor of the Wellington family. Her employer, the wheelchair-bound Mr. Wellington, is kindly. His haughty wife is not. He has two handsome sons, the wry and dashing Thomas and the dark and somber Owen.

Anne feels sure her prayers have been heard. Until the terrifying night, she stumbles upon a tortured spirit roaming the dark halls of Northfield, a spirit that only she can see.

In a search for answers, she finds herself drawn to Owen as they unearth a tragic story from the Wellington family’s past — a beautiful young bride gone missing on her wedding day.

Then tragedy strikes again on the night of a glittering masquerade ball…

The Vanished Bride of Northfield House by Phyllis M. Newman
Genre: Gothic Mystery, Romantic Suspense, Historical Mystery
Cup of Tea Books
Publication Date: January 26, 2018
Paperback: 346 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1939403452
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The Excerpt

I heard scratching — fingernails or claws or beaks on wood. Then the rustle of wings, a soft fluttering. Perhaps a bird had gotten trapped on the floor above.

Knock. Thud. Knock. Thud. Knock. Thud.

Then nothing.

I waited for the thumps and scratches to begin again, but heard only Owen’s rapid breathing.

His grip on my shoulder softened. Before we could step away from each other, I heard something else. Whispers. Not words, but sibilance. A faint weeping.

I could pretend no longer that the sounds issued from an animal.

Owen shuddered, and I tried to swallow.

My sight darted from the floors to the ceilings, from corner to corner, searching for additional signs. I saw none. The bed, its elaborate draperies, and the pictures on the walls were all undisturbed, but a plaintive lament — a mournful sobbing — suddenly filled the space.

When the weeping stopped, I found my hand pressed against Owen’s chest. I could feel his heart beating, hard and fast, under my palm.

“I think it’s over,” he said, releasing my shoulders.

I reluctantly withdrew my hand and took a step away.

The Review

Wow, what an excerpt. The Vanished Bride of Northfield House is the best Gothic mystery I've read in years. Author Phyllis M. Newman has included most everything I look for in a Gothic mystery. Among these are the virginal maiden heroine, the tortured hero, the requisite villain, a character with supernatural powers, ghosts, mysterious events, an isolated house with a deserted wing, and atmospherically foggy nights. The gloomy, decaying setting is described so well that it almost becomes another character.

Anne Chatham, the heroine, has endured family tragedies, but is determined to overcome them. After attending a year-long program at Blount Business College for Women and learning to operate a typing machine, she has come to Northfield House to work as a typewriter for Mr Henry Wellington. Anne is to transcribe his handwritten manuscript of the book he is writing, and occasionally to typewrite his dictation. Mr Wellington is very pleased with her work.

Mrs Lavinia Wellington, on the other hand, is resentful of Anne's presence. Since the Great War, incomes have decreased and taxes have increased. Anne's salary is an unnecessary expense, in Lavinia's opinion. The number of household servants has been reduced all the way down to four, because the family's fortunes have decreased so much. 

Others in the family are their sons Thomas (heir to the manor house and farm, and the 1922 equivalent of a playboy) and Owen (veteran of the Great War, and the one who really cares about farming and agricultural progress). Aunt Martha lives upstairs; she's Henry's sister. And then there's the ghost

There are many truly eerie, creepy, scary passages in The Vanished Bride of Northfield House; for example:
Deep in slumber I sprawled across the bed, my foot dangling almost to the floor. All at once fully awake, I listened for whatever had disturbed my sleep. The house was silent.
A foul odor filled the room. Sour milk. I pulled the coverlet over my nose and mouth.
I heard dripping water.
Then I detected a slithering beneath the bed.
Icy fingers grasped my exposed ankle.
Panic swept through me. I jerked my leg up onto the bed and scrabbled to the other side of the mattress. I cowered against the wall, gripping the blankets against my breast, the sheet knotted in my fists. I swallowed the bile that rose in my throat, fearing Owen and I had opened an evil portal with our meddling.
Something crept to the corner across the room. Shadows gathered. A dark thing huddled there, breathing. It moved like a large bird, awkward, hobbling on foot. I heard a flutter and a scratch. Shuffling sounds followed, then scuffling. Dread rippled through my body.
It can't hurt me, it can't hurt me, it can't hurt me…
Author Phyllis M. Newman describes the spooky passages so vividly that one can almost hear, smell, feel, and see everything that Anne is experiencing. Ms Newman is a worthy successor to my favorite Gothic Romance authors — Dorothy Eden, Phyllis A Whitney, Victoria Holt, Barbara Michaels, and Mary Stewart.

If you are a lover of historical mysteries, particularly with a ghost story as a bonus, or if you are a fellow lover of Gothic romantic suspense like me, you can't go wrong with The Vanished Bride of Northfield House. I highly recommend it, especially for fans of Dorothy Eden, Phyllis A Whitney, Victoria Holt, Barbara Michaels, Mary Stewart, and of Alyssa Maxwell's Lady and Lady's Maid Mysteries (which also take place immediately following the Great War)The Vanished Bride of Northfield House has earned our highest rating of Five Kitties — it's amazing!

Five out of five kitties
Note:  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of The Vanished Bride of Northfield House.
All opinions shared are 100% my own.

The Character Guest Post

The year is 1922 and it is somewhat unique time in Great Britain.  

The Great War has decimated the young male population in England. As a result of this sad fact, there is now a lack of young men available for parties, service, or business — not to mention marriage. Many young women of limited means and no family find themselves facing an uncertain future. 

My name is Anne Chatham, and I am one of them.

My siblings and mother died in the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1919. Then tragically, my father followed them but a few short years later, a heart attack while in his study working on a sermon. He was a gentle, well-respected clergyman with good intentions but little means. 

This left me, at 23 and almost a spinster, alone. My options were limited. I had nothing but a paltry sum to protect myself from the workhouse.  

So I took a gamble and spent my money on a course of study at a woman’s college in Liverpool. I became a typist. My skill at the Remington helped me find a job in a grand country estate outside of Northfield, a small community clinging to the values of the past. Sir Henry Wellington of Northfield House cares only for my work and what I am able to achieve, overlooking the disadvantage of my being a woman.

Sir Henry is an elderly, wheelchair-bound man who is gruff and distant but kind. Mrs. Lavinia Wellington, my employer's beautiful, haughty wife, is not.  Her attitude extends to her two sons. She dotes on cheerful Thomas, while all but ignores the dark and brooding Owen.  

I myself have a different experience with these two gentlemen. While sidestepping the rather obnoxious advances of Thomas (who gives every impression of loving anything female), I have started to make a sort of comfortable peace with Owen.

And I need this alliance. Not only do I feel the stirring of my heart; but the Wellington family of Northfield House has a secret…  A tortured spirit wonders the halls — the ghost of a beautiful young bride — who went missing on her wedding day.  

Owen and I have made a pact to uncover the hidden truth that burdens the inhabitants of Northfield House. But our meddling unleashes horrors that we could not have predicted, and I’m no longer sure who will survive long enough to expose the secrets of the dead… 

The Author

About Phyllis M Newman

Phyllis M Newman turned to writing mysteries after a career in finance and human resources. She lives in Columbus, Ohio in a big house with a weed-filled yard, three strong-willed cats, and a husband that's easy on the eyes.
Find her on the web at

The Giveaway

Follow the tour, to read other reviews and Guest Posts, plus Author Interviews!


January 26 – Socrates' Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 27 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

January 28 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 29 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 29 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

January 30 – Valerie's Musings - GUEST POST

January 31 – Bubble Bath Books – REVIEW

February 1 – Carole's Book Corner – REVIEW

February 2 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

February 3 – T's Stuff – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

February 4 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

February 5 – Ruff Drafts – REVIEW

February 6 – Jane Reads - REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

February 7 – Queen of All She Reads – GUEST POST

February 8 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – REVIEW

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