A White Room by Stephanie Carroll

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

a-white-room-600x900-by-jenny-q-of-historical-editorialA White Room is  a novel set in the 1900’s and tells the story of Emeline Evans, a young lady who wanted to study to become a nurse, something she became interested in when she did volunteer work at an infirmary while she was at college. Upon her father’s death, her family is left destitute and remembering the dying wish she granted her father, she is to take care of the family. The only way she knows how to do this is to marry the son of a family friend, John Dorr, and because of that sacrifices must be made, one of which is her wish to study nursing.

Emeline’s husband is a lawyer and shortly after their marriage they move to Labellum where John is to start working.  They move into an old gothic house – dark and mysterious, which didn’t please Emeline one bit.  She didn’t like the dark corridors, the stairs and even the furniture and John didn’t want her to redecorate.  As much as Emeline wanted to create an affectionate relationship between her and her husband, John was indifferent towards her and the society ladies she had to socialize with were not nice to her.  Emeline felt lonely in that old house and became depressed, to a point where the house and isolation drew her into madness.  She starts to hallucinate characters in the house that wasn’t there, but only existed in her mind.  She was diagnosed with hysteria by the town doctor, but in all truth it was mostly depression.

After she helped her housemaid, Lottie, give birth she decided to help poor people with minor health issues who couldn’t afford healthcare by a physician. Practicing medicine without a license was illegal and with Emeline’s husband being the one who prosecutes illegal abortionists and nurses, she was taking a big risk.  In this time, going against your husband was almost unheard of, but Emeline did it because it helped her escape and kept her sane.

Reading up on this book and even some reviews on goodreads I was a little scared to read this book, because it was deemed “scary”. Although I like some gothic novels I am not a good candidate for scary novels, but to my surprise, I didn’t find this scary AT ALL.  I really enjoyed reading A White Room.  There is more to the story than just Emeline’s depression and how she found a way out of it, growing into the person she became at the end of the novel – strong, brave and loyal.  She was my favourite character in the book and I totally cheered her on when she put those high society women in their place. Go Emeline!

Should you read this book? I would recommend that you do.

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  • very nice review

  • This sounds like a really interesting read. I wasn’t too sure about it when I saw it on Goodreads but you’ve convinced me to give it a shot!

    • I thought it sounded really interesting, but when I heard people call it “scary” I was hesitant to read it, but I’m glad I did. It wasn’t scary and I really enjoyed the story. Hope you do too!

  • it does sound really interesting and I would love to give it a go

  • I’m so glad that you read it! It’s not scary so much as psychologically creepy, which scares the heck out of me 🙂 But it’s not horror or anything like that.

    • I’m glad I requested it (and I kind of requested it after I read your review!) Yes, it sure was creepy in that sense, but I’m so glad it wasn’t as scary as some people made it out to be! I am staying away from horror!

  • Super review. I love scary Gothic stories, but not true “horror.” I think I’d really like this one.

    • I think you would too 🙂 I really don’t like horror, so I stay away from them, far away.

  • I hadn’t heard about this one but this totally sounds like something I would enjoy. Love those Victorian settings!

    • Me too! Hope you will check out the book…

  • Great review. It sounds like a very intense read. I might have to check it out myself.

  • seems interesting

  • I’m so glad that you liked this one and that it didn’t scare you TOO much 😛

    Isn’t it good to read a good book after one you struggle through?

    • I’m glad too! It’s always great to follow up a book you may not have enjoyed with a book you do. Just my luck 🙂

  • I dont’ usually read scary books either, so it’s nice to know that not everyone found it scary 🙂 The main character sounds pretty awesome too, so I’d be excited to read this one.

    • I hope you enjoy the read (if and when you do pick this one up) !

  • Ali

    I’m not generally a fan of gothic or thrillers, but I do like the era this book is set in, so its one I would consider reading.


    • You should definitely try reading Rebecca by Du Maurier. That book changed my mind about gothic fiction.

      • Ali

        I’ve read a number of Daphne du Maurier’s stories. I think the creepiest one is “Not After Midnight”.


        • I haven’t read or heard of that one 🙂 I’m not good with creepy, I try to stay away as far as possible!

  • I didn’t find the book scary either. I thought Emeline was really cool and wouldn’t let anyone stop her, which was really cool for that time period. Great review 🙂

    • I liked Emeline yes, she was a surprising character! Thanks Julie!

  • Isi

    Sounds interesting, Mel, and if you said that it is not scary AT ALL, I think I can also like it 😉 Great review!!

    • Thanks! Ok, then you should consider reading it 🙂