- Amanda Stevens
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
E-Arc Courtesy of netgalley and MIRA
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.
Amelia is still haunted after her troubled relationship wit Devlin, the Charleston detective we met in The Restorer. Trying to move on, she takes a new restoration project in a dying town in the mountains only to discover that something lurks in this town, something which is attracted to her and her abilities to see the dead...
This is a beautifully haunting gothic ghost story. The writing has a lyrical element that reminds me of Anne Rice at her best, making it difficult to forget or stop reading. The descriptions are beautiful and vividly paint the atmosphere of this dying town. It is always difficult to tell ghost stories well but there is no doubt that with this series Amanda Stevens has succeeded by making a lonely central character that is relatable. Amelia’s history is explored throughout the story and some of the questions raised in The Restorer are answered, yet it feels like this could be read without needing to pick up the previous books. There are more subtle layers that benefit from having read the first book though.
This is a very evocative story that deals with the questions of nature verses nurture, the darkness of human nature and what ghosts truly are. I loved the poetic elements and the long standing mystery surrounding the town. I honestly wished I could read this book slower so I could enjoy it for longer, but like an ice cream sundae I had to finish it before it melted! Beautiful book.
Recommended for fans of Anne Rice and Deborah Harkness. 9 out of 10