Monday, April 18, 2016

Review: 'Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick

'Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense
ISBN: 9780399174469
Release Date: April 19, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Calista Langley operates an exclusive “introduction” agency in Victorian London, catering to respectable ladies and gentlemen who find themselves alone in the world. But now, a dangerously obsessed individual has begun sending her trinkets and gifts suitable only for those in deepest mourning—a black mirror, a funeral wreath, a ring set with black jet stone. Each is engraved with her initials.

Desperate for help and fearing that the police will be of no assistance, Calista turns to Trent Hastings, a reclusive author of popular crime novels. Believing that Calista may be taking advantage of his lonely sister, who has become one of her clients, Trent doesn’t trust her. Scarred by his past, he’s learned to keep his emotions at bay, even as an instant attraction threatens his resolve.

But as Trent and Calista comb through files of rejected clients in hopes of identifying her tormentor, it becomes clear that the danger may be coming from Calista’s own secret past—and that only her death will satisfy the stalker…

'Til Death Do Us Part is deliciously atmospheric and oh so much fun to read. Amanda Quick has deftly blended romance, mystery, and Victorian London’s obsession with death and spiritualism into one captivating tale.

I’ve been a fan of Ms. Quick’s work for years, and 'Til Death Do Us Part is quite different in tone from her historical romances that I devoured in the '90s. What remains the same are the characters at the heart of the tale: smart, unique people who don’t fit into the molds society would put them in. Calista Langley is a businesswoman ahead of her time. She runs an “introduction” agency, where intelligent, likeminded people can meet and form friendships and perhaps even find romance. Calista has made a good life for herself and her brother, but when someone begins to send her momento mori (items made for those in mourning) with her initials on them, she’s shaken. It’s clear someone is stalking Calista, but she doesn’t know why. Luckily for her, Calista has just made the acquaintance of Trent Hastings, author of the popular Clive Stone detective novels. Though their initial meeting doesn’t go well, the two of them are intrigued by one another, and when Trent learns of Calista’s stalker, he insists on helping her.

On their own, Calista and Trent are incredibly appealing characters. Both of them are hardworking and intelligent, and though Trent is a bit rough around the edges, it’s clear that he, like Calista, has a good heart. Neither of them are perfect, and that added to their appeal. What’s more, Trent charmed the heck out of me with his wry sense of humor and the trials and tribulations that go along with being a popular author. As a couple, Trent and Calista are fantastic. They’re perfectly matched physically and intellectually, and their love story is sensual, sweet, exciting, and – even with death and danger threatening them at every turn – just plain fun to read.

Even if you took out the wonderfully engaging romance between Calista and Trent, 'Til Death Do Us Part would be impossible to put down. The Victorian London of Ms. Quick’s creation, with its gothic undertones and shadowy threats lurking around every corner, is completely addictive. I was so immersed in the tale that I read the story in one sitting, loving the chills and thrills each page provided. I cannot reveal much about the story without spoiling it for readers, so I’ll leave it at this: whether you like historical romance, romantic suspense, gothic novels, or all of the above, you don’t want to miss 'Til Death Do Us Part!

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.