Monday, October 3, 2022

Violet Yorke, Gilded Girl Review and Giveaway


Violet Yorke, Gilded Girl: Ghosts In the Closet

by PJ McIlvaine

Genre: Middle Grade Historical Paranormal Mystery

She sees ghosts…but are they malevolent or friendly?

Poor little rich girl Violet Yorke has seen ghosts for as long as she can remember, but no one believes her.

Not stodgy Grandmother, who took charge of the heiress after her parents were killed in a failed robbery. Nor kind-hearted Aunt Nanette, or Uncle Bertie, a charming rogue. Not even the patient Hugo Hewitt, Violet’s godfather and trustee of her vast fortune.

Everyone dismissed the child’s insistence about ghosts as a harmless eccentricity—until the night her bedroom caught fire. Violet was promptly sent overseas, fueling her anger and resentment.

Two years later, a rebellious twelve-year-old Violet is on her way back to Manhattan on the doomed Titanic. As the ship sinks into the deep Atlantic Ocean, she’s put in a lifeboat by an apparition who rescued her from the clutches of a jewel thief. Presumed lost at sea, Violet shocks everyone by crashing her own funeral.

Following Violet’s recovery, Grandmother has grand high society designs for the girl, but Violet has other ideas. She’s determined to uncover the secret of what really happened to her parents. Then there’s the mystery of the moon-faced boy at gloomy Dunham Hall and his connection to the ghost on Titanic. Also hot on Violet’s trail is the jewel thief, the specter of her murdered governess, and a vengeful ghost lurking in Violet’s childhood home.

Being a poor little rich girl in 1912 Gotham isn’t all it’s cracked up to be in this delightfully dark and droll supernatural historical fantasy.

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Rating: Four out of Five Stars

Violet is the sort of protagonist that nobody listens to, partly because of her age and partly because of her sex. However, she is savvier than all the other characters in the story combined despite her family's attempts to break her spirit and make her into a "proper young lady."

Violet finds herself in peril right from the beginning of the story. She survived the sinking of the Titanic and is now attempting to get to her grandmother's place in Manhattan. She finally obtains the help of a kindly Irish buggy driver named Mr. O'Malley, offering him a sapphire in return for a ride.

The streets around Violet's grandmother's place are crowded and Violet finds out that there is a memorial service in process for her, as her family believes she drowned when the Titanic sank. While attempting to make her way to her grandmother's house, Violet is accosted by the same would-be assailant she encountered aboard the Titanic. What else can go wrong?

The action keeps this marvelous mystery moving forward. The story has a lively pace but not a frantic one. There are plenty of quirky characters and perilous plot twists to hold the reader's interest. As an added twist, Violet can see spirits. Unfortunately, nobody believes her.

The story is suitable for younger readers, but sophisticated enough that cozy and paranormal mystery fans of all ages can enjoy it. Girls and women of all ages will appreciate the plucky Violet and sympathize with her plight. Even in the twenty-first century, society still feels that women and girls are less capable and less worthwhile than men and boys.

Violet is no Mary Sue. Despite her chutzpah, she feels like an outcast and is uncertain of herself. She is an ordinary-looking girl rather than a glamorous socialite. Although she has a romantic mind, she has aspirations beyond marrying well. 

I have only one complaint about the book, which is this description of one of Grandmother Olivia's friends.

"I don’t believe a single thing I read in the papers,” Mrs. Iselin declared. She was a portly woman who clearly never said no to a fresh-baked pastry.

This may be more a character trait than a dig, but given society's prejudices, I feel it is best not to reinforce the stereotype that fat people are always stuffing food in their mouths. A person's size results from multiple factors. The only thing one can ascertain when viewing a fat person is that said person is indeed fat. 

Overall, I enjoyed Violet's story very much and give it an enthusiastic four out of five stars.

PJ McIlvaine is a prolific author/screenwriter/writer/journalist.

PJ is the author of the AmazonUS best-selling VIOLET YORKE, GILDED GIRL: GHOSTS IN THE CLOSET (April 2022, Darkstroke Books), her debut middle-grade supernatural historical mystery adventure about a sassy poor little rich girl/Titanic survivor who sees ghosts in 1912 Manhattan.

PJ’s debut picture book LITTLE LENA AND THE BIG TABLE (May 2019, Big Belly Book Co.), with illustrations by Leila Nabih, is about a determined little girl tired of eating with her annoying cousins at the kid’s table, only to discover that the grown-up big table isn’t much better. Her second published picture book, DRAGON ROAR (October 2021, MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing), illustrations by Logan Rogers), is about a lonely, sick dragon who has lost his mighty roar and the brave village girl who helps him find it again. PJ is also under contract with Oghma Creative Media for a series of Creature Feature picture books (2023-2024) and with Orange Blossom Books for her debut Young Adult alternate history adventure THE CONUNDRUM OF CHARLEMAGNE CROSSE set in Victorian London (Fall 2023).

PJ is also a co-host and founding member of #PBPitch, the premiere Twitter pitch party for picture book creators.

PJ has been published in numerous outlets including The New York Times and Newsday. PJ also does features and interviews for The Children’s Book Insider newsletter.

Also, PJ’s critically acclaimed Showtime original family movie MY HORRIBLE YEAR with Mimi Rogers, Karen Allen, and Eric Stoltz, was nominated for a Daytime Emmy.

PJ lives in Eastern Long Island with her family along with Luna, an extremely spoiled French Bulldog, and Sasha the Psycho Cat.

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Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$20 Amazon Giftcard – 1 winner (WW),

Print Copy of book with Magnets & Bookmarks – 2 winners! (US only)

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  1. Thank you for sharing your review of Violet Yorke, Gilded Girl: Ghosts In the Closet, this sounds like a great story to share with my grandchildren

  2. Thank you for the wonderful review. No, that bit about the portly woman was merely a character trait not a comment on her weight but I will keep that in mind for future Violet books!

    1. Thank you for your response. I'm probably a bit sensitive about it, being a portly woman who gets tired of the awful stereotypes of fat people. The story was great fun and I would gladly read the next one!

    2. I understand. When I was a teen I had anorexia and ended up in the hospital. I recovered and after many years of being like a yoyo weight-wise, I'm now finally content.


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