Secrets of Rose Briar Hall (Paperback)

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In this Gilded Age gothic homage to “Gaslight” starring Ingrid Bergman, a wealthy young newlywed in early 20th century New York is isolated within her opulent, yet ominously empty mansion by the charismatic and controlling new husband plotting to undermine her sanity…

1908, Long Island: For Millie Turner, the young and beautiful wife of a powerful New York stockbroker, Rose Briar Hall—a gleaming edifice of white marble on the North Shore—is more than a home. Every lavish detail speaks of Charles Turner’s status and wealth, and its stylish interior is testament to Millie’s sophistication. All that’s left is to prove her worthiness to be his bride. What better way than to throw a grand party for New York’s social elite?

After painstaking planning, the night of the event arrives and all is perfection—until Millie wakes to a cold, eerily quiet house, and a gray cloud where her memory should be. Can it be true that she has been in and out of consciousness for weeks, ever since the party took a terrifying turn? Millie recalls nothing. But her friends have shunned her, and it soon becomes clear that if she can't find out what really happened that night, much more than her reputation will be at risk . . .

As the house that promised so much happiness begins to feel more like a prison, Millie wonders whether a woman alone, even a wealthy one, can ever be entirely safe. And if she succeeds in finding the truth, will it bring relief, or shake her marriage, and her life, to the core?

About the Author

Kelsey James is a historical fiction author and content marketer whose work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, Insider, ABC News, and The Huffington Post, among other outlets. Her debut novel, The Woman in the Castello, was an Indie Next Pick and a LibraryReads selection. A graduate of Dartmouth College with a degree in Creative Writing and Classical Studies, she currently lives with her family outside New York City and can be found online at

Praise For…

Praise for Secrets of Rose Briar Hall

"The first-person narrative, told from the young woman’s point of view, is both shocking and exciting, moving from grand ballrooms to flophouses and from shady business dealings to the honesty of pure love. A lengthy court battle will keep readers deliciously on edge in James’s shocking and gripping drama." —firstCLUE (Henrietta Thornton)

“A gothic mystery as full of twists and turns as a Victorian staircase.  I couldn’t put it down!” —Lisa Jackson, # 1 New York Times bestselling author

Praise for The Woman in the Castello

"James makes a dazzling debut with this gothic tale of intrigue and danger...With its sheen of ’60s Euro glamour, this is irresistible and satisfying. James is certainly one to watch." Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“A midcentury tale of showbiz and family with a touch of the gothic, The Woman in the Castello takes readers to 1960s Italy, where a mysterious horror movie shoot intersects with one woman's family secrets.” —Popsugar

“A thoroughly original blend of mystery, family drama, and sultry romance, all unfolding in the fast-paced world of a Swinging Sixties movie set. A riveting debut!” —Elizabeth Blackwell, bestselling author of Red Mistress

“The 1960s in Rome, a crumbling Italian castle on the edge of a volcanic lake, a glamorous aunt she’s never met, and a starring role in a horror movie that begins to feel a bit too real…Kelsey James’s debut novel is a delicious Gothic filled with atmosphere, twists, romance, and dark secrets.” —Megan Chance, bestselling author of A Splendid Ruin

“Like Jess Walters's Beautiful Ruins, the glamour and heady indulgence of the era take center stage in this captivating, multilayered story that will keep you guessing to the end. Silvia and Gabriella are flawed, fascinating characters who will linger in your mind long after the book is closed.” —Susan Wiggs, # 1 New York Times bestselling author
Against the richly drawn backdrop of post-war Italy, in a castle brimming with secrets, Kelsey James explores the enduring and sometimes destructive power of love, family, and ambition.” —Amanda Skenandore, author of The Nurse’s Secret

“Cinematic and spooky, there is something for everyone in this gripping historical novel that expertly blends a love story with family drama and a twist of suspense. Readers will be swept up in the glamorous—and sometimes grungy—1960s movie scene, and the magnificent setting is sure to inspire many a trip to Italy. A delight for the senses and a truly entertaining story!” —Nicole Baart, bestselling author of Everything We Didn’t Say

“Grippingly sinister and dark, fluidly written with a creepy foreboding hanging over castle, lake, and village, all eerily quiet, unwelcoming and preternaturally atmospheric. The cobblestone paths, narrow shadowed alleyways, and scars of war visible in random bullet holes give the village a feeling of life on hold, a place not comfortable with its history. James has pitched her novel straight into the Sixties with two-tone op-art dresses, large framed glasses, and era-sensitive attitudes towards birth out of wedlock.” —Historical Novel Society
“A story that could easily transfer from book to screen, it’s a chilling read in which the art of the cinema very often reflects the drama of the actors’ actual lives.” New York Journal of Books

"You’ll get lost in the pages of this lush, entertaining story as you follow aspiring actress Silvia Whitford through the dark towers and crumbling staircases of a remote Italian castle, where she uncovers twists and turns around every corner, including shocking family secrets you’ll never see coming.” —Ellen Marie Wiseman, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Willowbrook

“An impromptu movie set in a medieval castle in 1960s Italy provides a fascinating backdrop for this fresh gothic tale filled with mystery, family secrets, and unexpected romance.” —Lorena Hughes, author of The Spanish Daughter
“From the moment a stunning 1960s Italy kisses your hand and draws you into the opening pages of this novel, you’ll be riveted to The Woman in the Castello. Mysterious, stimulating, intoxicating … a dark, rich caffe corretto of a novel.” —K.D. Alden, author of A Mother’s Promise
“Cinematic and spooky… There is something for everyone in this gripping historical novel that expertly blends a love story with family drama and a twist of suspense. Readers will be swept up in the glamorous—and sometimes grungy—1960s movie scene, and the magnificent setting is sure to inspire many a trip to Italy. A delight for the senses and a truly entertaining story!” —Nicole Baart, bestselling author of Everything We Didn’t Say
“A tantalizing mixture of romance, mystery, and the Gothic enfolded in a well-crafted plot that pays homage to the long lineage of ghostly tales, romantic and suspense.” —V.S. Alexander, author of The War Girls
“James has given us a beautiful work of historical fiction and Gothic horror, and an impassioned love letter to Italian horror cinema” —Jenn Jordan, Syosset Public Library (Syosset, NY)

“From page one you are in Italy, and even better, Rome in the 1960s… with the excitement of making a film and the tension of keeping secrets… as old mysteries unfold and new ones build, Kelsey James takes you through a perfect blend.” —Kira Wizner, Merritt Bookstore (Millbrook, NY)
“A little mystery, a little ghost story, and a whole lot of family. Reading this fun novel feels like watching an art house movie filled with color and theatrics. Grab some popcorn and let yourself be transported." —Mary Webber O’Malley, Skylark Bookshop (La Grange Highlands, IL)
“A young unwed mother determined to support her daughter and her dying mother…a movie production beset by problems and Hollywood drama…a crumbling lakeside castle haunted by the past, by family secrets – and by, perhaps, a ghost? Toss in a mid-’60s Italian setting and a steamy romance, and you have the perfect addition to your beach bag this summer.” —Laurie Walters, Brighton District Library (Brighton, MI)
“1960’s Italy: a horror film being filmed in a crumbling, possibly haunted, castle owned by the estranged aunt of the leading starlet. What could be better? As the lines between reality and the movie plot begin to blur in this tautly written novel, family secrets begin to emerge that if revealed, might lead to unforeseen, and possibly deadly, consequences for everyone.” —Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library (Flemington, NJ)
Product Details
ISBN: 9781496742933
ISBN-10: 1496742931
Publisher: A John Scognamiglio Book
Publication Date: June 25th, 2024
Pages: 304
Language: English