An eerie backdrop, a memorable cast of eccentric characters, a plot full of secrets, and chaste Victorian relationships, make for the perfect period paranormal romance.


Hannah has spent her whole life in the attic of Windamere Manor as a lady-in-waiting/best friend of an earl’s daughter, Lady Violet. So, when one chilly day she found herself kidnapped, she was sure they had the wrong girl. No one would kidnap the orphaned daughter of nameless servants, right? Besides, it was her friend, Violet, who had the unusual talent of lighting things on fire with her mind. Hannah only has a much more common condition: narcolepsy. The people who kidnap her are also a peculiar bunch: August Langley, a stern man in a wheelchair, his nephew, handsome and surly Jack, and oh-so-proper niece, Sylvia; and Langley’s mute servant, Bollard. What do they want from Violet? Or, perhaps, from Hannah? What’s their relationship with a house full of orphans in London? And what secrets does Frakingham House, better known as Freak House, hide? The Wrong Girl by C.J. Archer is a paranormal historical romance that will leave your heart pounding from beginning to end while you accompany Hannah in the discovery of the secret talents and multiple mysteries that led her to Frakingham House and what she decides to do with this newfound information and blossoming but confusing relationships. 

The Wrong Girl has all the ingredients for a perfect fall read: a gothic

mansion (two of them, actually), endearing Victorian manners, secrets from the past, supernatural mysteries, a cast of eccentric characters, and a budding romance; because even the spookiest of reads can use some romance. The descriptions of this book are incredibly cinematic and vivid, which would make the entire “Freak House Trilogy” an ideal candidate for a screen adaptation. I also enjoyed the snippets of social commentary that the author slips. It’s easy to get caught up in the delights of Victorian chivalry and forget that life was not all rosy back then, so C.J. Archer introduces comments as the following: “Most women were [prisoners] in one way or another. We weren’t allowed to own property or open bank accounts, and many professions and educational institutions were closed to us.” (p.182) 

Finally, I have to applaud how the author handled an underdog heroine without falling into cliches. Hannah doesn’t fall into self-pity or other annoying behaviors that make us want to roll our eyes at some “chosen one” novels. C.J. Archer also struck the perfect balance between a believable woman of the Victorian era and a strong female lead. It’s also outstanding how she created an interesting romance while keeping it all P.G. appropriate. 

C.J. Archer sets the bar high for self-published authors: the edition is almost flawless and the plot is perfectly developed. Besides faulty editions, independent authors often fall into a common mistake: ending the book on such an appalling cliffhanger that the reader is more frustrated than compelled to buy the next book. Fear not. While The Wrong Girl is the opening book of a trilogy, the ending is round-up in a satisfying way while still leaving us wanting to open the second installment immediately. 

Lovers of Victorian stories and gothic mysteries will rejoice with this book and the ones to follow. Readers who enjoy chaste romances and supernatural topics will love the tension in this novel. With lots of action and mystery but not gory violence or sexual references, The Wrong Girl is ideal for young adults and more mature readers alike. This is also a terrific read for those interested in the capabilities and downfalls of the human mind. Grab a cozy blanket, a cup of warm tea, and The Wrong Girl for the perfect afternoon!

Book Details

  • Title: The Wrong Girl (The 1st Freak House Trilogy #1)
  • Author: C.J. Archer
  • Genre: Paranormal Historical Romance
  • Theme: Romance, YA, Paranormal
  • Publication Date: May 27 2013
  • ISBN or ASIN: B00D1SQC50
  • Number of Pages: 235
  • Minimum Audience Age: 13

Book Themes

(Note: 0=none, 1=a few, 2=considerable, 3=pronounced, 4=excessive)

  • Sexual themes: 0
  • Religious themes: 0
  • Violence, self-harm, etc.: 1
  • Crude language, expletives, swearing, etc.: 1
  • Other adult themes: 0


  • Content: 5 stars
  • Writing Style: 5 stars
  • Appeal to Target Audience: 5 stars
  • Uniqueness: 5 stars
  • Editing: 4 stars
  • Other factors: 5 stars
  • Overall: 4.84 out of 5

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By Fermosalua

B.A. in Literature and Linguistics. Professional daydreamer, reader, and art-lover. Amateur artist. Housewife in my spare time. Words are my life so I strive to encourage authors and readers alike.