Review: Sommersgate House by Kristen Ashley

Posted October 26, 2019

Review: Sommersgate House by Kristen AshleyCheck out on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Supernatural
Also by this author: Penmort Castle (Ghosts and Reincarnation, #1)
Series: Ghosts and Reincarnation #2
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Source: My shelves

Douglas Ashton is the cold and unfeeling owner of the sprawling, gothic Victorian Mansion, Sommersgate House. Julia Fairfax is his stubborn American sister-in-law. After tragedy strikes, Douglas and Julia are forced to live together at Sommersgate and raise their newly orphaned nieces and nephew. Douglas has no desire to raise his dead sister's children nor does he want the distraction of the tempting Julia living under his roof. Julia is struggling with grief and trying to make a go in a new country without much help from impossibly handsome but even more impossibly remote Douglas. Not to mention, she has to deal with the active hostility of Douglas's frosty, Attila-the-Hun-in-a-skirt mother, Monique. Douglas decides the best way to give the children what they need, get his mother to behave and give himself what he wants is to marry Julia. When he tells her (yes, tells her) she will be his wife, Julia thinks Douglas is (probably) insane. And anyway, she's decided if she ever has another husband (since the last one wasn't so great), he was going to be short, balding, have a paunch and worships the ground she walks on (none of these characteristics define Douglas in the slightest). One more thing, Sommersgate House is haunted by the ghosts of the man who built it and the woman who was the love of his life. They both died mysteriously at Sommersgate months after it was finished. When they did, a curse settled on the house making it seem strangely alive. And the only way for the beautiful but frightening house to rid itself of this curse is for its owner to find true love.

Let me preface this by saying that Sommersgate House is a book that I’ve read several times, as it’s a Kristen Ashley book. As Ms. Ashley is one of my all-time favorite authors, everything of hers is something I reread quite frequently. But…. this may be my least favorite book of hers that I’ve read. 

The book starts out with Julia, our main character, selling everything she owns in her hometown Indiana and moving to England to live at Sommersgate House, a kind of ancestral house of her sister-in-law. She does this because her brother and sister-in-law had been tragically killed, and their Will stated that they wanted Julia and Douglas, Sommergate House’s owner and the sister-in-law’s brother, to raise their three kids at Sommersgate, the same house the sister-in-law grew up in and adored. 

This was a somewhat puzzling and troublesome demand on all sides. For Julia, she had to give up her high-paying job, her home and all of her friends, moving into a house that included Douglas’s venomous mother. For Douglas, his house was now filled his sister’s grief-stricken children he had no idea what to do with. But, loving their deceased members as they had, they all did it. 

“Then you stay down here and I’ll sleep in your bed.”
His eyes went from half-shut to fully-open, regarding her sharply.
“Julia, you don’t sleep in that bed until I’m in it with you.”

If you’re going in expecting a wild, paranormal time, you will be disappointed by this book.  Ms. Ashley’s Ghost and Reincarnation series is really a contemporary romance disguised as a supernatural romance. Meaning, it’s all contemporary with a little bit of haunting, ghosts, seances, and the afterlife thrown in. 

But the characters in this one were super fun. Julia, herself, was a great character. Full of poise, but also completely adorable and family-oriented, she was completely thrown off when Douglas started his pursuit of her. “Pursuit” meaning he asked her to marry him, and then spent most of the book convincing her it was a good idea 😉😉 Douglas, too, was a good character. Great back story, shiver-and-swooning interactions. But I also didn’t feel that I got enough depth with him, which is unusual for a Kristen Ashley book. The rest of the cast, the three kids, the housekeepers, the staff, the friends… it was a fun, and very entertaining ride that had me smiling and giggling the whole way. 

The kiddos were adorable, and the romance was sweet. Was it the best romance I’ve read? No. Is it the best Kristen Ashley’s book? Not even close. But it was enjoyable and immersive and fully pulled me into the story. This was Ms. Ashley when she was still finding her writing feet, and though her amazingly well-done formula is still very present, her recent works are much better, unfortunately for this book. 

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What have you been reading lately? What are some of your books by a favorite author that you didn’t love as much as the others? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you! 

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