Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Victorian Novels

Crystal Gardens
Amanda Quick
Putnam, $25.95
ISBN: 9780399159084

On Lantern Street in Victorian London, Mrs. Flint and Mrs. Marsh are the respectable owners of an agency that provides companions to customers. There are two rules to become an employee of the agency which really deals with inquiries: the prospect must not be afraid of danger and must possess psychical powers; as the firm employs inquiry agents disguised as governesses and paid companions to find items and prople.

Agent Evangeline Ames recuperates from a brush with death in Little Dixby. A noise awakens her from a peaceful sleep and she instantly knows she is no longer alone in her rented cottage. She assumes the intruder wants to kill her so she runs to Crystal Gardens, the haunting old abbey filled with paranormal energy next door. Owner Lucas Sebastian is on alert when the stalker arrives, but flees into the night garden where deadly vegetation and flowers are everywhere. Sparks fly and Lucas realizes the killer will not haunt anyone anymore. Luca vows to protect Evangeline while using his paranormal skills to track down a psychic killer. Evangeline normally finds the good in people, and she is attracted to her rescuer, but cannot explain why she is a target as she has no known enemies.

This Ladies of Lantern Street thriller is an enthralling paranormal historical romantic suspense filled with danger and intrigue from the onset. Readers will like the fascinating protagonists and appreciate the mysterious Crystal Gardens, which brings a Gothic like feel to the exciting storyline. Amanda Quick has written a superb paranormal take on the Victorian romance suspense.
Harriet Klausner

Hide Me Among The Graves
Tim Powers
Morrow, $25.99
ISBN: 9780061231544

In 1819, John Polidori is part of the romantic writers’ inner circle led by Byron and Shelley as he writes a vampire tale. Two years later he is dead, allegedly a suicide victim.

In 1862 London the Rosetti siblings are very talented artists. Dante Gabriel Rossetti is a wonderful pre-Raphaelite painter and Christina is a well-regarded poetess. However, they fear their late Uncle John haunts them from the grave. Dante and Christina ask for help from former prostitute Adelaide McKee; her veterinarian lover John Crawford and Polidori’s romantic writing peer Edward John Trelawny. Polidori and his kin plan to terrorize London starting with those who share their blood.

This is an engaging refreshing vampire Victorian thriller with an incredible twist in which the siblings’ talent is at its “immortal” for the ages’ best when the vampire “controls” them. The time and place is incredibly developed so much so that readers will believe they meet a who’s who while walking the foggy streets of London; however that depth also slows down the pace of a wonderful loose sequel to The Stress of Her Regard. Harriet Klausner

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