Do you have something you can't digest? Like something you just can't read about? A special genre that you just can't help but dislike? A special personality trait that you just can't help but dislike?
To me, it's historical set books, written in historic language, even though they're from this time period. I know it's stupid, just like you know it's stupid to instantly dislike a heroine if she's blond, but you can't help yourself. You wish it was different, I wish it was different. Sure, I have read Jane Eyre, Alice In Wonderland, Romeo and Juliet. I have read the Illiad and the Aeniad, Euripides' Medea, the bible and the Tohra and other famous works written a long time ago, but it was okay to me that their language was old - because the books were old!
It's just something I have to get over. I know, I know, but that was what ruined some of this book for me. Actually, the only modern book I have handled well that is set in another time period (and does not feature time traveling) is Cassandra Clare's 'Clockwork Angel', and in that I think that the language is still fresh and modern, unless they're speaking. And that worked for me.
But Haunting Violet is written in all old tongue.
Maybe that was what ruined it a bit for me, too - I didn't know it was set way back in time, so I wasn't prepared. I read the first chapter which was dated, thinking 'how fun, this girl in the introduction has the same name as the book!'. I know I was probably just in denial, but I seriously thought this book was set in a modern time period.
Violet was not a very special main character. She wasn't annoying, even though I probably yelled at her for half of the book to do something about the men in this book that were just pushing her around (and her mother too, for that matter), but I understood why she let them push her. She was a woman, and as she says herself - she has little choice. Especially with a bitch like that for mother who want's nothing but to marry her daughter to a rich man and then live on her fortune. I never found Violet to be one dimensional, though, and she had her moments where she literally kicked the boys in the shin if they crossed her, but most of the time she acted like a pretty figurine, moving only because her mother told her to. But aside from that, she wasn't very interesting either. I never became too absorbed in her world, and I didn't really care too much for her. She wasn't whiny, though! Overall she was an okay main character.
Collin was… okay, I admit it, I liked him. He won't ever be on my top pick over favorite literature boys, but he was okay. He accepted Violet for whom she was, and he cared about whether she married for money or married for love. He was ready to give her up if only the boy she was going to marry was somebody she loved or even liked, and if he knew the real her - not just her pretty face. I respected him for how he talked to her - like an equal instead of acting like they're all way too high-assed to acknowledge one another. He didn't try to sweet-talk her and he could snap at her, but he was never directly too rude, and he never looked down on her. Their love, too, it was way too obvious but it was cute and it actually felt like something that could be real.
The plot is where the book halters again. It was so easy to figure out who the evil guy was. Seriously, come on, from the first time I knew what he was, I knew. It was so obvious, right from the beginning! it was actually kind of boring because all the plot twists were easy to figure out once you knew whom the villain was, and therefore it felt like the book just dragged on and on and on. He wasn't a very good villain at that, either. I found him crazy, sure, but scare? No. He wasn't scary at all. Also, the secret lover boy of Rowena was also easy to figure out. I, at times, felt like the author thought I was stupid. I want my brain cells to actually move here, not just lay dead!
If you have nothing against new books set in an old setting with old language, and you don't guess whom the villain is in a matter of seconds, then this book may be a pleasant read for you. It is not a fantastic book, and there are things that I think is… well, not so well-done, but I wouldn't be able to mention them without spoiling too much, and that wouldn't be fun at all for you!