Hanover House Review

August 10, 2015
Hanover House by Brenda Novak is the thrilling prequel novella to the author’s new Hanover House chronicles, Book 1 of which releases in September 2016.  It gives us the history of Hanover House’s founding psychiatrist, Dr. Evelyn Talbot, and sets the stage for the opening of the new facility (which will house the United States’ worst psychopaths and serial killers) in a remote town in Alaska.Read on for my review!

After 3 days of torture, Jasper Moore had slit her throat and left her for dead–and it wasn’t as if he’d been a mere stranger. He was her high school boyfriend, someone she’d trusted enough to give her virginity.
While I’m not normally a huge fan of novellas and prequels, I found Hanover House to be an enjoyable read. It was quick (I read it in one sitting), and actually managed to both effectively set up the world of the Hanover House chronicles and delve fairly deeply into both the history of Dr. Evelyn Talbot and the mindset of a psychopath.
But, oddly enough, even when he was angry he didn’t look overtly dangerous, didn’t look much different than the middle school teacher he’d once been–before his wife stumbled upon the body he’d temporarily stowed in the shed of their cabin.
I also really enjoyed the way that Novak handled the issue of the victim. She managed to capture the little nuances–the idiosyncrasies, routines, and hesitations–around which a trauma victim’s life can center. Evelyn is highly observant, she is routinely cautious, and she keeps everyone at arm’s length, never letting anyone in far enough that they could hurt her. And she has moments when all of that vigilance and the memories of its cause almost make life too exhausting to continue–moments when the bliss of darkness and nothingness are like a warm blanket.
She almost sank back into the dark void she’d just emerged from, where she could drift without worry, without having to conjure up the chain of events that had led to this. She didn’t want to fight any of the battles she’d have to fight if she woke up.
I love a good romance, but I find it almost impossible to keep reading when an author conforms the characters around the idea of a relationship, rather than the other way around. Rather than doing this, which would have been easy given the degree to which Hanover House centers around the emotional and psychological backstory needed to build the world of her new series, Novak beautifully handled the attraction between Evelyn and Hilltop trooper Amarok, choosing to bring Evelyn’s issues to the foreground and craft the hesitant but beautiful relationship around it. I even found the age difference, though I’m really not drawn to large age gaps, to work well for these two characters. Although Amarok is 7 years Evelyn’s junior, Evelyn is quite behind the curve for her age when it comes to relationships, not having had one since she was 16. In that light, the age gap makes a lot of sense and is less bothersome.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this prequel, and I truly look forward to watching the story develop in the series to come!
*I received this story free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are honest and are my own.*

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