Review of ‘A Dreadful Splendor’

Historical fiction with a dash of mystery A Dreadful Splendor follows Genevieve as she uses her fake spiritualist gifts to bring a murderer to light on a cliffside mansion.

A Dreadful Splendor follows Genevieve, a fake spiritualist whose life is on the line. She is blackmailed into service to help a grieving man move on. However, the “grieving” man has his own plans.


Myers did a fantastic job of capturing the gothic atmosphere with the storytelling. A crumbling castle on the seaside was exceedingly gothic and reminded me of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Annabel Lee.” And when the strange and unusual happen around the fake spiritualist, the reader begins to second-guess the events around her.

Seeing the story unfold ever so slowly is chilling and thrilling. Myer’s built up the rising tension with misdirection and snippets of information here and there. The additional journal entries of Audra were also a lovely touch. Genevieve is trying to solve a murder to save her own skin. And as that tension builds, so does the romance between Genevieve and Mr. Pemperton, who we learn had no romantic interest in Audra.

Excellent Character Development

The romance between the two characters begins curtly. She is trying to rob him and run away to save herself from the gallows while he knows exactly why she is there. While everyone thinks he is grieving, he is trying to solve a murder and enlists her help to do so. Thus begins an uneasy truce that blossoms into a genuine friendship that soon develops into a romance.

The development of their relationship came off effortlessly. It sounds as though it could be a cliché. Still, it works because there is this push between the characters and an eagerness between them to understand each other.

They fall into a friendship with ease, making their romance believable. This also allows both characters to face their dark pasts, reveal their secrets, and grow from them.

Genevieve still carries the loss of her mother on her shoulders, while he carries the loss of his mother. Both have been unable to move on, plagued by guilt. So, to see them move forward, rise above it and find love in those moments was touching.

Final Thoughts

An excellent gothic novel, A Dreadful Splendor has the perfect amount of romance and mystery to keep the reader entertained until the last unpredictable minute.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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