There was a lot I liked about this, but somehow, it kept falling into Uncanny Valley territory for me.
Hulda Larkin, a very self-possessed young woman, is in the employment of BIKER (Boston Institute for the Keeping of Enchanted Rooms – an acronym that consistently threw me off). It is her job to subdue enchanted homes into domesticity, in order to preserve their historical magical properties. In the year 1846, she has been sent to an isolated mansion on a remote island in Rhode Island. The property has been recently inherited by a young man after having stood empty for many years, and he is having some difficulties with it. Hulda is more that up for the task, being a sort of Mary Poppins for magical spirits, but she is unaware that she will be encountering a sinister magician from her past in England.
Now what threw me off with this book was the non-period feel of the writing. Just one example. Several times Hulda wakes up in the morning with something she needs to do immediately, and she just “throws on a dress” and is on her way. No. Well off women, and Hulda is one of those, never “threw on a dress” in the mid-19th century. Getting dressed was a far more involved affair, and typically was a matter of several layers. Every time I read that, I was thrown out of the story. And that is only one example.
Details on how the evil magician happened to get from England to this abandoned Rhode Island property get a bit hand-wavy, but on the positive side, when Hulda figures out that the ghost haunting the place is that of a young boy, the house and its new owner start to get along quite well. So there is that.