When Aidan Gallagher wants to sell Deeprath Castle, which has been home to the Gallagher family for more than seven-hundred years, Carragh Ryan is hired to take inventory of its vast library. Bookworm and scholar, she cannot wait to put her nose in the castle’s book collection and thread the same hallways as Evan Chase, a famous author who, more than a century prior, came to Ireland to write a new book and ended up marrying the infamous Jenny Gallagher instead.
What sounded like a very exciting job for Carragh will turn into a much more complicating task after she gets stuck in the middle of some Gallagher family drama and a criminal investigation for the murder of Aidan’s parents, which happened more than 20 years ago.
To complicate things further, odd incidents start happening, remembering Carragh that in the castle are believed to roam ghosts, including the wrathful Darkling Bride.
GENRES: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Gothic
Oh, rainy days. How I love them!
They’re perfect for curling up on the couch with a thick, gripping novel and a fuming cup of black tea. Who could chasten you for staying indoors all day, engrossed in a fascinating story when it’s pouring down in torrents out the window?
The faint sound of the leaves dripping, the patchy fog covering the ground and the fragrant breeze of stormy days create a dreamy atmosphere that I think is ideal for spine-chilling mystery novels.
I recently came across The Darkling Bride, which I believe is perfect for your next cozy rainy day spent making your way through a book. Here are 4 reasons why!
1. THE GOTHIC ELEMENTS
A seven-hundred-year-old Irish castle nobody has set foot in for more than 20 years. A ghostly presence some believe to be responsible for murders. And family secrets carefully guarded…The table is set for a spectacular modern gothic tale!
All these creepy elements conjure up atmospheric scenes where anything and everything sinister can happen.
“ Just as she finished reading, the lamp sparked and went out. Though Carragh knew it was simply the bulb dying, she shuddered. It felt like a hand had reached out from the past and extinguished the light in order to prove its presence. ”
Whether it’s a book falling off a table, lights suddenly going out or spirits laughing in Carragh’s ear, supernatural incidents occur in the ancient castle’s walls and merge with reality.
The atmosphere is so utterly gloomy and the tension palpable that it feels like we ourselves are thrust into this eerie castle and subject to this curious series of events alongside Carragh. Perfect for fans of Gothic novels who, like me, delight in being swept away into dark, mysterious fictional realms.
2. CARRAGH RYAN’S CHARACTER
Imagine a smart, witty scholar hired to catalog a castle’s library. Doesn’t it sound like a perfect character with a dreamlike job according to us, book lovers?
I think most of us can relate to Carragh on multiple levels, especially to her thirst and curiosity for everything bookish. She has a special taste for Gothic novels, holds a degree in English literature and Irish studies and lands editing jobs—what wouldn’t I give to trade resumes!
“‘Why do you want a job of which you know virtually nothing?’
‘If a job has to do with books, I don’t need to know much more’”
As much as I loved Carragh from the start, my appreciation for her deepened the more difficulties she was going through at Deeprath Castle. I do not simply love her character because she’s so clever and straightforward, but also because she’s tenacious and tough. Never has she faltered under the challenges she faced at Deeprath.
Carragh shares similar traits with Diana Bishop from the All Souls trilogy, a character I—and a lot of readers—admire dearly for pretty much the same reasons. You will find the same bright mind and strong, independent spirit in Carragh Ryan.
3. THE MULTIPLE MYSTERIES
The Darkling Bride is a very rich and complex story with not only one mystery to solve, but three. They are all interconnected and add extra layers of complexity to the whole intrigue.
What we know from the start is that in the early 1880s, a woman named Jenny Gallagher was found dead at the bottom of Deeprath’s Bride Tower. Some think she committed suicide, others think the mysterious Bride of Deeprath, a wrathful ghost, is responsible for her death. The case was never solved.
We also know that in 1992, a cold-blooded murder took place at Deeprath, resulting in the death of Cillian and Lily Gallagher, parents of the current Viscount, Aidan Gallagher. Nobody knows what happened that day or who is responsible, so the case is reopened for further investigation.
There is also a mystery surrounding a lost manuscript, supposedly written by Jenny Gallagher’s husband, the famous author Evan Chase. That’s what holds Carragh’s interest and is part of the reason why she applied for the job at Deeprath.
These three mysteries are buried deep in dirty family secrets and bound by very close ties. The complexity of the whole intrigue will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.
4. THE DIFFERENT TIMELINES
Along with the three interwoven mysteries come three different timelines. As you can guess, we follow Jenny and her husband in the 1880s, the Gallagher family in 1992 and Carragh Ryan, Aidan Gallagher and Sibéal McKenna, the new crime investigator on the 1992 murder, in the present day.
As confusing as they can sound, these jumps in time help to deepen our comprehension of the story. Glimpses into the past provide us with a greater understanding of the family dynamic between different generations of Gallaghers, along with a build-up to the tragic events that occurred at the castle.
Vivid descriptions of these lost characters’ lives and private thoughts also help build the Gothic atmosphere of the novel and purposefully slow the plot’s execution until the suspense is unbearable.
“ Laughter, tears, joy, sorrow, love, hatred, birth and death—every beat of every Gallagher heart resounded in the stone and wood and plaster of the castle, so that those sensitive to such things could feel the thrum of centuries through their bodies. ”
The Darkling Bride by Laura Anderson is the perfect companion on a rainy day. With its engaging, suspenseful and sinister story, it will keep you turning the pages until dim rays of sunlight finally pierce the clouds.