<u>The Dark Unwinding</u> missed a few opportunities to do something different with the gothic genre. In the end, it added a bit of a steampunk element but added nothing new to the mix.
I'm generous to give it props for using the gaslights as a hint that our heroine, Katherine, was being gas lighted. Gaslight was worse because the damage came from someone she loved. Katherine had no interest in Ben but as a means to an end. His one attempt at a love con was so half-hearted he never posed as a contender for a love triangle let alone crushing to the character when he was revealed. Jane Austen, at least portrayed Emma's ego as being damaged when used. How were we going to be worked up?
The story would have been creepier if we had a different villain than Ben. I knew straight off he was the bad guy and never went to Cambridge. Mrs. Jeffries was over the top to be just a red herring which was what she amounted to.
Katherine’s plight is to deem her Uncle mentally unfit to run his own estate so her fat cousin can inherit. The people living on the estate should have worked it out that her own life was miserable enough. I liked when Katherine sympathised with Mary, the only girl nice to her, but they never had a strong friendship. Mary chastised her for inappropriate relationships with servants.
This book was sorely missing allies.
If we had less Victoria Holt and more Iva Ibotson on that score the book would have been more fun. The love interest should have been more Victoria Holt and less Iva Ibotson.
I loathe the love interest that spends the book being a jerk to the heroine. Barbara Michaels won me over years ago when the love interest wasn't the scold.
Katherine was just too easy to gaslight. She hated herself and took too long to make a decision.
The relationships were all left unresolved. Why did her grandmother disown her father?
The uncle was creepy. Was he insane or autistic?
The entire village were equally as self serving as Katherine ever was. If they knew the Uncle was mentally unbalanced but lived off his generosity. She could have cut herself a break.
I would have liked this book more if she'd not been so quick not to believe in herself.
I hope these problems are resolved in the next book.