Monday, March 12, 2012
The Kingdom by Amanda Stevens
"Deep in the shadowy foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains lies a dying town...
My name is Amelia Gray. They call me The Graveyard Queen. I’ve been commissioned to restore an old cemetery in Asher Falls, South Carolina, but I’m coming to think I have another purpose here.
Why is there a cemetery at the bottom of Bell Lake? Why am I drawn time and again to a hidden grave I’ve discovered in the woods? Something is eating away at the soul of this town—this withering kingdom—and it will only be restored if I can uncover the truth."
I'm very excited to tell you about a new series I've discovered.....The Graveyard Queen series by Amanda Stevens. I'm not even really sure how I stumbled upon the first book, The Restorer, but I loaded it on my kindle and literally couldn't stop reading about Amelia's strange and ghostly world in Charleston, South Carolina. She's a taphophile, or graveyard expert, and has made a career of restoring crumbling historic cemeteries to their original beauty. She's a loner by necessity -- she and her father possess a dark gift, the ability to see ghosts. There is a time near twilight where the veil which separates the world of the living and the dead allows restless spirits to come back. The spirit world is parasitic, needing to feed off the warmth and energy of the living, so in order to stay safe, Amelia must live by a few principles: never acknowledge the dead, never stray far from hallowed ground, never associated with the haunted, and never tempt fate. In The Restorer, she has followed her heart instead of her father's rules which put her in grave danger, and now she is putting a painful experience behind her and moving on to her next assignment in Asher Falls.
In The Kingdom, Amelia has been hired to restore Thorngate, a cemetery in Asher Falls, a once charming town that now seems to be dying a slow death...there is an emtpiness and sense of neglect, and the wealthy and powerful Asher family seems to regard the town as their personal domain. As Amelia begins to meet the inhabitants of the town, her dark gift sets in motion a series of strange and dangerous events. Amelia is visited by a ghostly woman who seems intent on communicating with her.....and why does Amelia feel such a powerful connection to the mountains surrounding the cemetery? While once Amelia felt safe working in her graveyard kingdom, she is now terrified by strange visions and a palpable sense of evil. She believes that there is a reason why she was brought here....that destiny has brought her here to uncover some long-buried secrets...but someone will stop at nothing to keep her from learning the truth of Asher Falls. Finding out who is friend and who is foe will keep you on the edge of your seat! There is handsome Thane Asher, grandson and heir of the Asher family; Luna, Bryn, and Catrice, a trio of women who appear to dabble in witchcraft; and Tilly, the recluse who lives in the woods. Who can Amelia trust as she becomes tangled in a web of secrets of a long-ago murder?
Another winner from Amanda Stevens that I highly recommend! The story just flies off the page and I get completely absorbed in Amelia's world. The Kingdom has a delightfully creepy southern gothic atmosphere with heart-pounding suspense, surprising twists, and an undercurrent of dark sensuality. So, so good! Bring on book #3, The Prophet! (available April 24, 2012)
5/5 stars = Loved, loved, loved it!!!
******I received The Kingdom by Amanda Stevens from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. The Kingdom is published by Harlequin MIRA*********
The Kingdom will be available on March 27, 2012.