Well, Fatty Gal readers, we know that one of my all time favorite things to do is read! It’s one of my top two hobbies, along with knitting, and I just love to settle in with a good book and get lost in the story and the characters and the scenery of it all. when I find a REALLY good book, and then find out that the main character(s) that I like so much are part of a series, man, oh man, that’s just the best.
Such was the case with a book that I just read, er, actually devoured, over this past weekend. Last week, my bestest girlfriend, Carolyne, and I decided to start a book club. Or, as my husband referred to it, just us hanging out and talking about books, which is what we do anyway:) We both enjoy good mysteries, supernatural stuff and historical books, and thought it would be fun to make a pointed effort to both read the same book and have a discussion. Since the inception of this idea last week, we’ve picked up two more members for the club, so that’s a bonus.
Carolyne chose the first book, The Restorer by Amanda Stevens.
Seriously, doesn’t the cover just look intriguing? If I was wandering the shelves of my local Barnes and Noble and had come across this, I would DEFINITELY have picked it up based solely on the cover. The Restorer is the first book in The Graveyard Queen Series featuring Amelia Gray. This is the description from the back of the book:
“My name is Amelia Gray. I’m a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I’ve always held fast to the rules passed down from my father. But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.
It started with the discovery of a young woman’s brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I’ve been hired to restore. The clues to the killer –and to his other victims–lie in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret. Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy. To warn him would be to invite them into my life. Ive vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the rest.”
The description on the back of this book simply does NOT do this book justice. It is a Southern Gothic ghost story that takes place in old Charleston, where pre-Civil War history is colliding with the modern world. This is already a huge plus for me, since I really enjoy reading about Southern history, with its ghosts and Gullah spirits and witchcraft, things that we just don’t have up North in Chicago where the city was rebuilt after a major fire. There’s a charm, for me at least, to the aura of the deep south, and I’ve always wanted to visit. The world that Stevens created for Amelia and Devlin, with its shadowy history and ghosts was just too intriguing.
Stevens also created compelling characters, who you want to get to know more. The author reveals just enough about the characters’ pasts to keep you flipping the pages, madly wanting more. The interplay between Amelia Gray and John Devlin, the haunted cop, is both believable and enticing.
At times, the world that Stevens created for her characters and her story got downright creepy, which is the hallmark of a good Southern Gothic ghost story. No joke, at one point, I was reading the book late into the night long after my husband and dog were fast asleep and it was at a particularly scary point in the book and every single sound I heard in the house was creeping me out. Now. That’s a damn good book.
Since reading this book in less than two days over the weekend, I raced to the Chicago Public Library website to put the second and third books on hold so that I can read them. But dammit if somebody else hasn’t already checked all the copies out! I know I’ve found a good read when all I want to do after finishing one book is pick up the next in the series. If you like mysteries, ghost stories, and/or Southern Gothic novels, I highly suggest you pick this book up. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!