by Amanda Quick
Published by: Penguin
Genres: Historical Romance, Paranormal
Evangeline Ames has rented a country cottage far from the London streets where she was recently attacked. Fascinated by the paranormal energy of nearby Crystal Gardens, she finds pleasure in sneaking past the wall to explore the grounds. And when her life is threatened again, she instinctively goes to the gardens for safety. Lucas Sebastian has never been one to ignore a lady in danger, even if she is trespassing on his property. Quickly disposing of her would-be assassin, he insists they keep the matter private. There are rumors enough already, about treasure buried under his garden, and occult botanical experiments performed by his uncle—who died of mysterious causes. With Evangeline’s skill for detection, and Lucas’s sense of the criminal mind, they soon discover that they have a common enemy. And as the energy emanating from Crystal Gardens intensifies, they realize that to survive they must unearth what has been buried for too long.
Crystal Gardens is the first in a new trilogy by Amanda Quick called the Ladies of Lantern Street. It’s a historical romance laced with paranormal elements. Quick delivers an action-packed novel with characters that I quickly came to love. Filled with suspense, mystery, paranormal ability and a swoon-worthy hero I was quickly swept up in the story.
The tale begins with protagonist Evangeline Ames. She is writer and ladies companion who has taken time off to explore the paranormal energy surrounding Crystal Gardens after she was attacked in London. When someone breaks into the cottage at night she instinctively runs to the Crystal Gardens estate and runs smack dab into swoon-worthy Lucas Sebastian. His uncle has recently passed and he believes foul play was involved. He and his trusted employee Stone are now residing in the home. The gardens are a dangerous place and Lucas has his hands full with his uncle’s botanical experiments. The tale that unfolds was typical Quick and while familiar it captivated me none the less.
Lucas Sebastian is a dark man who makes people uncomfortable. He has a strong psychical talent that he must constantly keep in check. While people fear him, Evangeline sees the hero under the wolf’s clothing. While he can behave like a boar, Evangeline begins to soften him. I found Evangeline to be delightful, witty and intelligent. She is a fictional romance writer, with absolutely no romantic experience beyond a kiss or two, so you can imagine the fun in that. We meet her best friends and the other ladies of Lantern Street when they come to visit. The three of them conversing had me giggling. We learn there is much more to these ladies. There were other characters that rounded out the cast and made the plot interesting.
The plot contains mystery, suspense, romance and a healthy dose of paranormal. While it isn’t original fans of Quick are sure to enjoy it. We have the mysterious death of Lucas’s uncle and someone is trying to murder Evangeline. Putting all the pieces of the puzzle together was fun and I enjoyed the ride. Throw in a lost treasure, some colorful characters, and a well-paced story-line and I was highly entertained. The romance between Lucas and Evangeline was hot. From the moment they encountered each other the tension and electrical current running between them was obvious even to an outsider. Evangeline decided to base her hero in her novel on Lucas and considers a romantic tryst with Lucas to conduct research. She sees herself outside of his social circle and cannot imagine anything beyond that. She may lose her heart but she will have the memories. Lucas has other plans.
Fans of paranormal suspense and romance should enjoy this historical fiction. I am looking forward to booking two of the Ladies of Lantern Street. Amanda Quick is a pseudonym for author Jayne Anne Krentz who also writes as Jayne Castle. I adore her Arcane Society Novels written in the past, present, and future. I encourage you to check out her other works.
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