Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey (Published by Walker Books, June 21, 2011)
Sixteen-year-old Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in the supernatural after being forced to assist her mother, a fradulent medium, since she was a little girl. Violet resents her mother for forcing her to participate in tricking many grieving people out of their money. Invited to the estate of Lord Jasper, a wealthy and prominent Spiritualist, Violet is angry that she must once again help perpetuate her mother's fraud. At the same time, Violet's mother is trying to push her into marriage with a wealthy young man, Xavier, who has been courting Violet. Xavier is kind and handsome, and marriage to him would mean she could finally escape her mother, but she can't seem to feel the same way about him that she does about Colin, the boy she grew up with after her mother took him in to work as her assistant.
Soon after arriving at Lord Jasper's estate, however, Violet learns that her romantic troubles are not her biggest problem. While her mother may be a fraud, ghosts are real - and Violet can suddenly see them. One ghost in particular will not leave her alone - the ghost of Rowena, a young girl Violet's age who died last year in what was apparently an accidental drowning. Rowena was actually murdered, and she will not rest until her murderer is brought to justice. Despite the danger, Violet is determined to solve the mystery so Rowena can finally rest in peace.
Haunting Violet is an enjoyable historical fantasy full of mystery and romance. Though it was rather predictable which of her two love interests Violet would choose, I enjoyed the mystery which kept me guessing until the end. At times the narration and dialogue did seem rather modern for a book set in 1872, but since I don't think it was supposed to be perfectly historically accurate it didn't bother me too much. Overall it was a fun read and I really liked that it was a standalone novel with a satisfying conclusion, which is something I'd like to see more of in young adult fiction, since these days it seems like almost every book is either part of a series or setting up for the possibility of one.