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Crystal Gardens, the first book in Amanda Quick’s new Ladies of Lantern Street series, will draw in readers and only give them a taste of what they can look forward to as the series continues. With characters that pluck at a reader’s heartstrings and a plot that teases out that little bit of anxiety that follows any mysterious twist and turn, Crystal Gardens proves to be refreshingly new in its storyline and intriguing in the most subtle ways.
The backbone of the novel is, of course, the characters. Evangeline Ames, the main heroine, is not your typical Victorian lady. At a period when marriage is seen as a mere business transaction she contemplates the downfall, or lack of, of having a tryst that she can disappear from afterwards. Also, she needs to experience the passion she wishes to right in her newly published chapters of her sensation novel.
Being a newly serially published author has its stresses and causes Evangeline to look for inspiration in unconventional places. Crystal Gardens turns out to be the dangerous, yet romantic backdrop for her story, especially since she has found the perfect man to serve as the inspiration to her chapters in more ways than she first imagined.
Lucas Sebastian, however, is anything but a normal hero. He is the new owner of Crystal Gardens, which is known in the small town of Little Dixby as extremely dangerous and perhaps haunted. It also draws a lot of attention from the rumors that ancient Roman treasure is hidden somewhere on the grounds, but good luck to any individual that tries to get through the botanically hazardous maze to get to the gold.
Aside from Evangeline and Lucas, the other characters of the novel will spark interest in readers. Although only a brief taste is given of the two ladies that are companions to Evangeline in her mysterious career, the one that supports her when she is not writing, Clarissa and Beatrice will grab hold of readers with their captivating personalities and secrets of their own. Readers will find themselves hoping they will be the next characters Quick picks up in the next book of the Ladies of Lantern Street series.
Overall, Crystal Gardens is an exciting and riveting start to a new series that loyal fans of Quick’s romantic mysteries will dive into with relish. As always the characters seem to stick with readers after the last page has been turned and the thrill of plot twists will cause readers to look back into the novel searching for the clues they have overlooked that pointed to the outcome they never suspected.
Image Courtesy of Jayne Ann Krentz