Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Second Sight by Amanda Quick
Late in the reign of Queen Victoria...
"The skeleton lay on an elaborately carved and gilded bed in the center of the ancient laboratory that had become the alchemist's tomb.
The two-hundred-year-old bones were still draped in tattered robes that had been fashioned of what had surely been the most costly silks and velvets. Gloves and slippers embroidered with gold and silver thread shrouded the bones of the hands and feet, giving an eerie appearance of flesh and blood."
p. l, Second Sight by Amanda Quick
This was an unusual novel, combining elements of mystery and the paranormal in the Victorian era. The heroine of the story, Venetia Milton, is a victim of circumstances. Forced to support her siblings due to her parents' death, her father's scandalous past, and their financial advisor's duplicity, she tries to earn a living as a photographer. She is resigned to the fact that marriage is not an option for a working woman with scandalous family secrets. In addition, Venetia has a few secrets of her own to hide...she has psychic abilities and can perceive an individual's aura.
Good fortune and financial success arrive when she is hired by the mysterious organization, the Arcane Society, to photograph a collection of the society's ancient artifacts. The photographic fee is substantial and society member, Gabriel Jones, is young, handsome, and all alone in the crumbling mansion. During her week- long assignment photographing the secret artifacts, Venetia develops of plan of seduction...she believes the encounter, while being enjoyable, will remain their secret and they will both move on when the assignment is completed.
While enjoying their night of seduction, they are interrupted as intruders attempt to break into the house. Venetia is dragged through a secret tunnel by Gabriel and sent to safety far away from the Arcane Society's mansion. She watches in horror as the mansion goes up in flames.
Saddened by the news that Gabriel Jones has died in the fire, Venetia decides to use the significant fee she received from the society to relocate her family, open her own fashionable portrait studio, and assume the identity of "Mrs. Jones." A widow maintains respectability and much more freedom in Victorian society, and Venetia enjoys her independence. She didn't consider that someone would stop at nothing to obtain the secrets of the society. By assuming the identity of a society member's widow, she has unwittingly put herself in grave danger.
Imagine her surprise when her best-laid plans go awry.
"There was nothing like having a dead husband return from the grave to ruin a fine spring morning."
This was a light, quick read, and it kept me turning the pages. The romance aspect, I thought, was flat and lacked depth and dimension, but the elements of suspense were interesting. This is a series which reveals more of the society's secrets in each installment and I'm anticipating continuing with the series.
4 stars = very good; worth reading
Title: Second Sight
Author: Amanda Quick
genre: paranormal mystery