3.0 out of 5 stars A good comfort book

Raised by a wealthy distant cousin after the death of her mother, Ellen Kellaway is forever reminded that she is the Poor Relation. Resigned to her eventual fate as a governess, she is suddenly taken by surprise when childhood friend Phillip Carrington declares his love and proposes a whirlwind marriage, much to the chagrin of Cousin Agatha who was counting on wealthy Phillip marrying her daughter Esmeralda. Curiously, Phillip’s family is thrilled with the match to a girl with nary a penny to her name. Fate takes a sudden turn before the marriage can happen, and out of the blue appears a distant relative from her father’s side of the family offering her a home on Far Island off the coast of Cornwall. Ellen loves the island and the Castle the Kellaways built hundreds of years ago (dungeons and all), and she soon finds herself falling in love with the island’s owner, Jag Kellaway.

In true Holt fashion, Ellen soon finds herself in the midst of a mystery and things begin to go bump in the night. What is it about her father that none of the villagers wish to talk about? Why did her mother pack up and leave him when Ellen was little more than a toddler? What about the drawings her mother left behind, including one of the room she’s been seeing in her dreams for years? Who is the mysterious girl Silva raised on the Island and presumed dead? Is Ellen just accident prone or is someone trying to do her in? If so, why?

While I enjoyed reading this and would recommend it to Holt fans, it just doesn’t quite come up to a four star read. Perhaps it’s because she took too long setting up Ellen’s background and romance with Phillip and then realized at the end she had to hurry up and wrap-things-up-before-the-book-gets-too-long. It is a good book and a perfect comfort book for cuddling up with on a rainy afternoon; it’s just not a great one.