Violet's life has been haunted by the disturbing visions of death and disaster that come to her mind unbidden. After her most devastating vision comes to pass, leaving her orphaned to her careless stepmother, Violet decides to start over at Winterhaven. The boarding school seems to call to her, and she can't resist its pull. Winterhaven is full of secrets -- not the least of which is gorgeous, mysterious Aidan Gray. Unfortunately, Violet doesn't realize that their destinies are intertwined in dangerous, heart-breaking ways until it's far, far too late.
Kristi Cookinitially intrigues the reader with a haunted, psychic heroine and a mysterious, apparently mesmerizing hero. Her writing strongly evokes the Gothic setting of Winterhaven and brings Violet's world vividly to life. Unfortunately, the novel quickly descends into predictability. The narrative seems to skim the surface of possibilities, showing only episodes and leaving out the background action that would give the story depth. The promise of developing Violet's mysterious and heretofore uncontrollable abilities is what initially drew me into the novel, but this aspect was mostly abandoned in favor of another typical paranormal romance.
Aidan's secret becomes clear within the first few pages, making his cryptic remarks frustrating and Violet's obliviousness exasperating. They're both angst-ridden and seem to fight in every chapter. It is difficult to buy the rapid romance when they are so hot-and-cold, and the reader isn't shown many of the moments where they actually bond. Their relationship feels imbalanced: Aidan is always so cold, controlling and dispassionate that it is difficult to warm up to him as a character, while Violet is left in tears, blaming herself. I do appreciate that Cook doesn't sugarcoat the realities of Aidan's secret, and adds a few promising elements to the typical lore that I would like to see further developed in future novels.