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In the Footsteps of Jane Eyre - an Editorial Review of "Hall of Deception"

Book Blurb:

"P. L. Jonas delivers a sweet love story wrapped in intrigue and mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat in this page-turning romantic suspense." –Kari Wirth, author of Under the Dogwood Tree

For fans of classic romances, comes Hall of Deception, a suspenseful romance set in post-WWII, Plymouth, MA.

In 1953, Dee Danes, an orphan raised by her spiteful cousin, is inexperienced in love and desperately wants to fit in. She takes a job tutoring a little girl at a mansion, secretly fantasizing about romance with the owner, just like her beloved heroine Jane Eyre.

The strikingly handsome and wealthy owner of Rothmorton Hall, Hugh Roth, appears to enjoy embarrassing her and Dee worries she's made a terrible mistake. Mystery surrounds the other staff and Hugh, particularly the ex-wife everyone is forbidden to discuss.

Shocking truths about Hugh are exposed and Dee struggles to accept the lies and deceptions questioning the man he truly is. When frightening attempts on Hugh's life and other strange incidents occur, Dee fears for the lives of those she's come to care for-and perhaps even her own.

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Author Bio:

An award-winning author, P. L. Jonas, has a creative spirit with a passion for literature, art, and music. She began writing fiction after a long career in marketing and technical writing and editing. A native Arizonan, she has traveled all over the U.S. and ten other countries. Drawing on her personal experience, a fascination with history, and a love of research, she weaves intricate stories of romance, sci-fi/fantasy, historical fiction, and suspense. In 2021, she received First Place in the Chanticleer International Book Awards, Goethe category, for late historical fiction. When not writing, she is reading or painting while her beloved cat looks on.

Editorial Review:

This was it. I could only go forward. I smoothed down my rumpled gray traveling suit, placed the letter in my bag, and pulled out a small mirror. Much to my dismay, several cracks caused pieces to fall out. “That's all I need, seven years of bad luck.” Through the slivers, I glimpsed my shoulder-length dark blonde hair, frizzy from the coastal humidity.

"Hall of Deception" by author PL Jonas is a captivating historical novel set in the early 1950s, transporting readers to a world of romance and intrigue. Drawing inspiration from Charlotte Brontë's classic "Jane Eyre," the story follows the journey of Dee Danes, a young teacher who finds herself entangled in a web of mystery and love in affluent Plymouth, Massachusetts. As she embarks on a new job as a private tutor for a wealthy family, Dee can't help but feel as if her life is mirroring the pages of her favorite Victorian novel. However, the reality she encounters at Rothmorton Hall proves to be far more complex and enigmatic than she could have ever imagined.

If you have a fondness for the gothic charm and mysterious allure of "Jane Eyre," then "Hall of Deception" is a literary treasure that awaits you. Set in the beauty of post-World War II America, this novel artfully weaves together elements of gothic mystery and romance to create an engaging and enthralling tale. The story revolves around two captivating main characters, Dee and Hugh, whose instant chemistry on the page will transport you back to the enchantment of classic gothic romance.

The heart of "Hall of Deception" lies in the characters and their intricate relationships. Dee Danes, the protagonist, is a shy and introspective young woman who carries the emotional baggage of her lonely past. As she takes up the position of tutor, Dee's internal struggles and growing attraction to Hugh Roth, the charming owner of Rothmorton Hall, keep readers engaged. Dee's vulnerability and desire for acceptance are relatable, making her a compelling lead.

Dee Danes, the young and introspective protagonist, embarks on a new chapter of her life as she leaves her teaching job in rural Illinois and sets off for the affluent Plymouth, Massachusetts. Her destination is Rothmorton Hall, an imposing mansion with its own share of secrets and hidden pasts. There, she assumes the role of a private tutor for the physically frail ward of Hugh Roth, the wealthy scion of an influential upper-crust family. Dee, a lover of Victorian novels, can't help but draw parallels between her life and the pages of her favorite book, "Jane Eyre."

And then there was the sadness I saw in Mr. Roth's eyes, and my concern over his truthfulness or lack thereof. What could it be? Maybe fear of being found out. About what? What secrets would someone like him have?

As she settles into her new position, Dee discovers that her initial imaginings of a brooding and surly Mr. Rochester-like figure in Hugh are far from reality. Instead, she encounters a handsome, charming, and outgoing man who has a penchant for teasing and speaking his mind. Dee's introverted nature leads her to misinterpret his intentions, giving rise to a delightful and subtle tension between the two characters. Their interactions are a delight to witness as their love grows, echoing the timeless charm worthy of a reference to Bronte's classic novel.

As Dee delves deeper into the secrets of Rothmorton Hall, inexplicable and frightening occurrences begin to surface, suggesting that things may not be as they seem. Acts of vandalism and criminal mischief throughout the estate raise questions about who might be trying to harm young Ellen, Hugh's frail ward, or perhaps even Hugh himself. The reader is left guessing until the very end, as the suspense builds to an unexpected climax.

In contrast to the brooding Mr. Rochester of "Jane Eyre," Hugh Roth is portrayed as a handsome, outgoing, and teasing personality. His playful nature, however, confuses the introverted Dee, leading to misunderstandings and a rollercoaster of emotions. Their evolving relationship feels fresh and authentic, making it a highlight of the novel.

Supporting characters such as Mrs. Chambers, the hospitable housekeeper; Sylvi, the mysterious nurse; Becky, the friendly waitress; and Ben, the charming chauffeur, add depth to the narrative. Each character brings their own secrets and past relationships to the story, contributing to the twists and turns that unfold as the plot develops.

"Hall of Deception" masterfully blends elements of romance and suspense, creating a page-turning experience that keeps readers hooked. The sparks between Dee and Hugh add a delightful layer of tension and passion to the tale. As Dee struggles to understand Hugh's true intentions and grapples with her own emotions, the novel explores themes of love, trust, and self-discovery.

The setting of Rothmorton Hall, shrouded in mystery and secrets, sets the stage for a suspenseful plot. The inexplicable occurrences and acts of vandalism throughout the mansion and its grounds create an atmosphere of intrigue and danger. Readers will be kept guessing about the true culprits and their motives until the surprising climax.

The novel touches on themes of identity, deception, and the power of love to transform lives. Dee's journey of self-discovery and acceptance resonates with readers, reminding them of the timeless struggles faced by many individuals.

PL Jonas's writing style is engaging and evocative, transporting readers to the post-WWII era with vivid descriptions and a well-researched historical backdrop. The author's ability to draw parallels between Dee's life and the classic novel "Jane Eyre" adds depth to the narrative, showcasing the impact of literature on the characters' lives.

In the corner was a lone marker. Nora's. A strangeness overcame me at finding her buried in the same place as the man who kept her death a secret. I grieved for her pain and for Hugh's. The whole situation weighed on me.

"Hall of Deception" is a well-written and compelling historical novel that seamlessly weaves romance and suspense into a gripping tale, with the addition of a nostalgic touch for fans of classic romances while the unique character dynamics and intriguing mysteries keep the story fresh and original.

The novel's setting in post-WWII America adds an additional layer of historical depth, enhancing the sense of time and place. The author's attention to detail and well-researched historical backdrop transport readers to an era of elegance, social stratification, and shifting dynamics.

The power of "Hall of Deception" lies in the authenticity and relatability of its characters and relationships. Dee's internal struggles and residual conflicts from her past resonate with readers, reminding us of the universal quest for identity and belonging. As Dee unravels the mysteries of Hugh's life and Rothmorton Hall, the novel explores themes of love, trust, and the transformative power of acceptance.

The elegant prose of the author gracefully carries the reader through the narrative, evoking vivid imagery and captivating emotions. The blend of gothic mystery and romance creates an atmosphere that draws readers in, making it difficult to put the book down. The chemistry between Dee and Hugh, the web of secrets that envelop Rothmorton Hall, and the historical backdrop of post-WWII America make for an enchanting and page-turning read. Whether you are a lover of classic romances or an enthusiast of gothic mysteries, this novel is a delightful addition to any bookshelf. As you immerse yourself in the world of "Hall of Deception," you'll be reminded of the timeless appeal of gothic romance and its ability to capture hearts across generations.

For fans of classic romances and historical fiction, "Hall of Deception" is a must-read that promises a delightful mix of emotions, secrets, and unexpected twists. The author's skillful storytelling and well-crafted characters make this a can't-put-down, page-turner of a novel. PL Jonas has crafted a compelling narrative that will linger in the hearts of readers long after the final page.


“Hall of Deception” by P. L. Jonas receives five stars and the “Highly Recommended” award of excellence from The Historical Fiction Company



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