Monday, April 19, 2010

Review of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber

Title: The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker
Author: Leanna Renee Hieber
Pages: 320 Pages, Mass Market Paperback
Genre: Victorian Paranormal/ Gothic Romance
Standalone/Series: Series
Release: Out Now
Publisher: Leisure Books/ Dorchester Publishing
Received book from author

GoodReads blurb: What fortune awaited sweet, timid Percy Parker at Athens Academy? Hidden in the dark heart of Victorian London, the Romanesque school was dreadfully imposing, a veritable fortress, and little could Percy guess what lay inside. She had never met its powerful and mysterious Professor Alexi Rychman, knew nothing of the growing shadows, of the Ripper and other supernatural terrors against which his coterie stood guard. She saw simply that she was different, haunted, with her snow white hair, pearlescent skin and uncanny gift. This arched stone doorway was a portal to a new life, to an education far from what could be had at a convent-and it was an invitation to an intimate yet dangerous dance at the threshold of life and death... 

I loved this strangely beautiful tale from the start. The combination of gothic ghost story, paranormal thriller, re-worked Greek mythology, and heart-wrenching love story was wonderfully woven together and kept me engaged throughout the story. Miss Persephone Parker is a very unusual woman with her incredibly pale and ghostly looks as well as her peculiar gifts for seeing and hearing ghosts as well as her visions. Though I have to say what struck me most about her was not her ghastly looks but her tenacity. She believes that a fate awaits her and believes beyond what people snicker about her behind her back that she deserves love as well. When Percy first lays eyes on Alexi Rychman, her mathematics and alchemy professor, she hopes that one of her wishes has been answered. Unfortunately for Percy, mathematics is her worst subject so instead of catching the professor's eye with her mathematical genius, she is forced to get remedial math lessons from him instead. Though since it means spending time alone with him in his office every week, perhaps it is not so ghastly.

Professor Rychman and the school Headmistress hide a secret life from their students as well, they are part of The Guard that has been charged by a mysterious goddess to protect the mortals from ghosts that are still trapped in the mortal realm. The Guard has six members that come from all walks of life and serve a unique purpose within the Guard. Each member as well houses a spirit that gives them special abilities to fight the ghouls they face. When each member was given a power they were also given a prophecy to wait for a seventh to join their ranks as well to stop the Darkness from overwhelming the world. Alexi was given a personal prophecy that the seventh would be his true love and that he must wait for her and have faith. Several years later with no direction from their silent goddess, The Guard is on edge and questioning their reasons for following a prophecy that they have seen no signs of happening yet.

My favorite part of this book was reading the interactions between Percy and Alexi. Percy's desire for her intimidating and aloof Professor was sweet and her responses when he was close, even when it was to ridicule her math ability, had my heart going pitter-patter along with hers. Alexi was a great foreboding presence as well, though as you begin to learn more about him between the pages of the book you learn that he is vulnerable and has very human weaknesses as well. Although Alexi always puts up his emotional armor in the presence of The Guard, you begin to see the cracks as he spends more time with Percy. And their story was both tantalizing and heart-rending as well. I loved to read their forbidden romance budding as they discussed mathematical theorems and he gave her private dance lessons. After I finished this book I went back to re-read all the sections of the book that they were together in since I loved their story so much.

Overall this was a 4.5 out of 5 stars for me, a well-woven gothic tale with a tender romance that gets me all worked up - and the yummy tortured Alexi Rychman - le sigh...


Leontine said...

I keep hearing such good things about this book and I'm glad I've got this one on the shelves. Now only to get in the mood for a, quote review: gothic ghost story, paranormal thriller, re-worked Greek mythology, and heart-wrenching love story, that shouldn't be all that hard, should it *wink*

Mandi said...

I cute! Their romance worked so well..even though he is older and she is young and shy. Really a sweet book!

SusiSunshine said...

This book still sounds good! Okay back on the wishlist.

Smokinhotbooks said...

::shouts:: Alexi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Srsly I loved this book so much can't wait to read the 2nd one.

Heather (DarklyReading) said...

@Leontine - yeah there's alot going on in the book but it is such a good read! See it can appeal to any mood your in ;D

@Mandi - I definitely thought their romance was cute and it was well pointed out that she's 19 so it was okay for Alexi to sweep her off her feet :D

@Susi - it's a fun read! I loved it - I'm going to be hosting a giveaway of the book on Thursday if you want to stop by and sign up to win it (it's an international giveaway)

@KC - the second one is awesome! There's a very passionate chapel scene you will love! :D

Karen said...

I would never have given this one a second look based on the cover & title but it looks wonderful!

Heather (DarklyReading) said...

@Karen- I think you would like it! It's definitely an unusual book so the title and cover seem to fit it well :D

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