by Jenn Bennett
Series: Roaring Twenties #3
Genres: Historical, Paranormal Romance
Feisty flapper Astrid Magnusson is home from college and yearning for the one thing that’s always been off limits: Bo Yeung, her notorious bootlegging brother’s second-in-command. Unfortunately her dream of an easy reunion proves difficult after a violent storm sends a mysterious yacht crashing into the Magnussons’ docks. What’s worse, the boat disappeared a year ago, and the survivors are acting strangely....Bo has worked with the Magnusson family for years, doing whatever is needed, including keeping his boss’s younger sister out of trouble—and his hands to himself. Of course, that isn’t so easy after Astrid has a haunting vision about the yacht’s disappearance, plunging them into an underground world of old money and dark magic. Danger will drive them closer together, but surviving their own forbidden feelings could be the bigger risk.
It is always bittersweet to say good-bye to a series/trilogy you have thoroughly enjoyed. Jenn Bennett’s Roaring Twenties trilogy is one I will miss. The final book Grave Phantoms has a friend to lovers’ romance with a forbidden twist that readers have been anxious for from the beginning. Add in the reappearance of a missing yacht and its strange inhabitants and you have the makings of a page-turner.
Astrid Magnusson, sister of Winter -a powerful bootlegger in San Francisco, is home from college break and eager to see Bo Yeung. He is her brother’s second in command and a dear friend. She had hoped her time away would cool the intense feelings she has for Bo, but time away has only intensified them. Bo Yeung knows Astrid is off limits and not just because she is his employer’s sister. The community and state forbid the type of things he is imagining.
We feel their connection as Bennet shares letters between them and we see them encounter each other after being separated. It was electrifying, but neither reacts afraid to cross that fragile line. Any chance of addressing those feelings is cast aside when a yacht crashes into the Magnusson pier. The yacht and its passengers were reported missing over a year ago. All have no memory of where they have been. When Astrid and Bo attempt to move the yacht, she has a strange vision that sets them on a course for danger.
The story behind the yacht was fascinating and I enjoyed the eerie details. Bennett has a creep-tastic imagination. However, unlike its predecessors, Grave Phantoms focused more on the romance and we did not get the strong details that I have come to love and expect from her novels. Bennett usually does an excellent job of blending and balancing the romantic aspect of her stories with the mystery/paranormal aspect but in this Grave Phantoms fell short. It ended up feeling choppy and as much as I enjoyed Bo and Astrid’s relationship development and the issues they faced I found myself craving the mystery and looking to skim.
Bennett does a wonderful job of bringing the Roaring Twenties to life from discrimination to bootlegging. Her characters are strong, outspoken and unique. I adore Bo and felt for him as he faced hateful discrimination for his skin color. I was proud at how he handled himself. Oh lord, and when he went to Winter to confess his relationship with Astrid I about cried. This was hands down the best scene in the book.
Grave Phantoms ends with an epilogue and I enjoyed the update but wish it had been longer and included Winter and Lowe more. I will truly miss this series despite my issues this last installment.
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