eARC Review – Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood

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Title: Within These Wicked Walls

Author: Lauren Blackwood

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: October 19th, 2021

336 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

What the heart desires, the house destroys…

Andromeda is a debtera—an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. When a handsome young heir named Magnus Rochester reaches out to hire her, Andromeda quickly realizes this is a job like no other, with horrifying manifestations at every turn, and that Magnus is hiding far more than she has been trained for. Death is the most likely outcome if she stays, but leaving Magnus to live out his curse alone isn’t an option. Evil may roam the castle’s halls, but so does a burning desire.

Kiersten White meets Tomi Adeyemi in this Ethiopian-inspired debut fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre.

Review

Within These Wicked Walls is pitched as an Ethiopian inspired Jane Eyre retelling. I’m unfamiliar with the Jane Eyre story, so I can’t confirm how closely this story aligns with Jane Eyre, BUT it is an excellent story no matter what. The story revolves around a haunted house, exorcisms, and an unlikely romance.

Andromeda is a debtera (exorcist) hired by the rich and mysterious hermit Magnus Rochester to cleanse his home of a curse. A dozen older and more experienced debteras have tried and failed to cleanse the mansion, but Andi is desperate. Quickly she realizes she has bitten off more than she can chew with the sheer amount of work needed, in addition to the moody and entitled employer who she is strangely attracted to.

For a stand alone, this book is plotted and paced really well. Fantasy stand alones can often run into a pacing problem but I felt this book was well balanced with plot & world-building. There is not a lot of explanation around the magic system involving exorcising the Evil Eye, but enough is given to have an understanding of what is happening. There is also a theme of family and second chance love during some background plots.

The slow burn romance had some superb tension and banter, but I wasn’t completely sold on the whole thing. Maybe that means I wouldn’t love the original Jane Eyre, but it was somehow slow burn but also too fast? Andi did a complete flip flop at one point for no reason but, hey it happens in romances.

Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

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