Alexandra Gladstone is a Victorian doctor who solves murders with the help of her maid and her friend Lord Dunsford. In this novel, Freemasons are being murdered and the body count continues to increase.
It is a light historical mystery series and most reviews are quite positive, but I had trouble believing in the characters.
Historical Mystery. April 12, 2016.
An immigrant story full of martial arts, mythical Chinese creatures, evil spirits, and magic--The Girl with Ghost Eyes is set in San Francisco's Chinatown at the turn of the 19th century. It is a unique fantasy, specifically Chinese/American. Chinese immigrants faced with the conflicts that arise between tradition and progress must carve out new lives for themselves amidst prejudice and cultural differences in a new country, and (since China is a huge country with many languages and dialects, ethnic groups, traditions, and beliefs) Chinatown itself is another kind of melting pot. ( China has 297 living languages according to Ethnologue.[5))
Li-lin is a young widow and the daughter of one of Chinatown's most respected exorcists in the Maoshan tradition of Daoism. She, herself, is in training, but at only a second ordination, her skills are limited. When persuaded to take a dangerous journey to the afterlife to help a ghost, she is betrayed and an evil plot is initiated.
"Maoshan isn't like other traditions. We are ghost hunters, spirit mediums, and exorcists. When creatures out of nightmare trouble Chinatown, people come to the Maoshan for protection. With paper talismans we drive away the spirits, with magic gourds we imprison them, with peachwood swords we destroy them. People fear those who live at the border of the spirit world. They say a haunt of death taints us. They might be right."
Li-lin fights valiantly to do what is right and, forced into a new more active situation, her character grows from the always obedient and traditional daughter. As she questions situations and dictums she previously took for granted, Li-lin eventually realizes that what she has been told is a curse and shameful...might actually be necessary to combat the evil that threatens Chinatown.
Li-lin is a wonderful protagonist, and I hope for more from Mr. Boroson.
The information about the author and how he came to write this story is definitely worth the time to read it.
Fantasy/Historical Fiction/YA. 2015. Print length: 288 pages.
Jackaby by William Ritter is the first in a series featuring an eccentric paranormal investigator and a young woman recently arrived from England to keep from confronting her parents about a foolish adventure.
Abigail Rook is an intelligent young woman with sharp observational skills; R.F. Jackaby is an oddball detective with the ability to perceive the supernatural. They make an effective team with Abigail realizing the importance of ordinary details, while Jackaby recognizes what goes beyond the ordinary.
“Miss Rook, I am not an occultist,” Jackaby said. “I have a gift that allows me to see truth where others see the illusion--and there are many illusions. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”
I found the novel entertaining, mostly because it offers the promise of more and better. Jackaby is full of suspense and offbeat humor, but I would have liked more character development and backstory. I suspect that as the author develops the characters, the series could be one that improves with each addition. I need to try the second in the series, Beastly Bones.
Middle School/YA/Mystery/Paranormal. 2014. Print length: 321 pages.
So many more book reviews to catch up on, but I'm headed back upstairs to tackle a re-organization of my studio. Tomorrow, I'll be searching for items I've re-organized.
The final day in the Month of Letters challenge is tomorrow--Monday, Feb. 29! I have something ready to go out in tomorrow's mail, and with this last letter, I will have met the challenge! I'm pretty proud of myself for following through.
Of course, it won't be the end of writing letters. Making the envelopes and postcards has been too much fun and will continue, but instead of worrying about putting at least one thing in the mail each day, I'll post several things at a time--maybe once or twice a week. A more comfortable fit.
On Tuesday, I'll share some of the incoming and outgoing mail from this past week, but today I'm going to share the invitation to Jack & Ginger's annual Critter Dinner that arrived in Saturday's mail. Jack is an artist and designs the invitations each year.
Love that list of last year's dishes is included!
He even had a stamp made from his drawing at stamps.com!