Saturday, April 21, 2012

Crystal Gardens by Amanda Quick


Paranormal Historical Romance

I always look forward to any paranormal romance from Jayne Ann Krentz.  Most people know she writes under several names and when it is a historical paranormal it is published under the name of Amanda Quick.

Crystal Gardens is the first book in the Ladies of Lantern Street trilogy.  Each of the three ladies featured in the trilogy have paranormal abilities.  They all three work for the Flint & Marsh Agency in London, a very exclusive agency that provides people who have problems with a companion who can help solve that problem.

Here is how Goodreads describes the book:

Welcome to the sensational new series by Amanda Quick, where the lives of the Victorian gentry are filled with secrets – and secret powers...

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 rumours 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.

Plot:  There were three different sources of danger in the book.  There was the person after Evangeline, the murder of Lucas’s uncle, and the increase in paranormal activity in the Crystal Garden.  There was also the budding romance between Evangeline and Lucas.  Sometimes the different problems seemed to muddy the flow of the book and slow down the action.

World Building:  This was another thing that seemed to slow down the action.  While some of the world of Crystal Gardens is based on pervious books there was quite a bit of world building required.  Most of it was in the first of the book before most of the real action started.

Characters:  Evangeline and Lucas are well developed and there are hints about the background of the other two ladies of Lantern Street. There are also some important side characters that add to the action in the book. I like the fact that all of the women are strong and independent.  Of course Lucas is an alpha male who can appreciate a strong woman.

Writing:  As always the writing is very good.  Even when I found the going a little slow action wise I still wanted to keep reading.

Tension:   There was plenty of that; a lot between Evangeline and Lucas, between Lucas and his family, the danger to Evangeline, trying to find the person who killed Lucas’s uncle, the problems in the garden and the treasure.  It was hard to keep up with all the problems.

 I found Crystal Gardens to be an easy enjoyable read.  It is not my favorite Amanda Quick novel.  For all the reasons stated above it was not as fast moving as some of her other books but it did prime me for the next two books in the trilogy. 

Putnam published Crystal Gardens by Amanda Quick in 2012.

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