cover image Crystal Gardens

Crystal Gardens

Amanda Quick. Putnam, $25.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-399-15908-4

Romance and the paranormal are neatly entwined in late 19th century England in the opening of the new Ladies of Lantern Street series from the prolific Quick (Quicksilver). Sent to the country to recover from the trauma of a murder attempt, psychic investigator and novelist Evangeline Ames is pursued by a hired assassin onto the grounds of an ancient abbey, Crystal Gardens, which have become the focus of an unusual surge of paranormal energy. Rescued by the owner of the Gardens, Lucas Sebastian, who has arrived to investigate the sudden death of his reclusive uncle and the dangerously increasing power of the Gardens, Evangeline finds herself drawn not only to the various mysteries but to Lucas himself, possessor of a dark paranormal talent of his own. While not a standout, the occult elements provide an original twist to a competent mystery plot with a dash of gothic flair and a traditional romantic pairing for a pleasant tale that will satisfy fans of gaslight paranormals. (Apr.)