Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies, housed in a Gothic mansion on the bleak northern moors, is elite, expensive, and unwelcoming. When Evie Johnson is torn away from her home by the sea to become the newest scholarship student, she is more isolated than she could have dreamed. Strict teachers, snobbish students, and the oppressive atmosphere of Wyldcliffe leave Evie drowning in loneliness.
Evie's only lifeline is Sebastian, a rebellious, mocking, dangerously attractive young man she meets by chance. As Evie's feelings for Sebastian grow with each secret meeting, she starts to fear that he is hiding something about his past. And she is haunted by glimpses of a strange, ghostly girl—a girl who is so eerily like Evie, she could be a sister. Evie is slowly drawn into a tangled web of past and present that she cannot control. And as the extraordinary, elemental forces of Wyldcliffe rise up like the mighty sea, Evie is faced with an astounding truth about Sebastian, and her own incredible fate.
Gillian Shields's electrifying tale will dazzle readers with suspense, mysticism, and romance.
I really enjoyed the backstory in this novel. I loved the back-and-forth between Evie's story and Agnes', and the parallels between the two girls born over 100 years apart. I also loved the magic in this story--I'm a big sucker for the whole elements thing (earth, air, fire, water)...I don't know why.
However, I had a really hard time connecting with the main character. I found myself much more fond of Agnes (who grew stronger and stood up for herself and what she believed in) than of Evie (who kept caving and doing whatever Sebastian asked of her). I also had a bit of a problem with the relationship between Sebastian and Evie. It seemed too fast for me. One minute he knocks her down into the mud and is really rude to her, and the next she's in love with him and sneaking out every night to see him. There was almost no in-between, and I really couldn't see what Evie liked so much about him. I didn't trust him.
It was a fun paranormal tale, but the relationship between Evie and Sebastian just wasn't for me. I'm sure a lot of others out there would enjoy it though, and I'm really hoping Evie toughens up a bit for the next installment in the series.