Victorian Ghostbusters

Isn't she lovely? The bustle, the buttons and frills, the hat....a practically perfect Victorian lady. This darling woman is Leanna Renee Hieber, awesomely nice woman and author of The Strangely Beautiful tales - The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker and its sequel The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker. You've likely heard of them, yes? I was given the opportunity (actually I was the staff moderator for her panel) at the Phoenix Comicon to meet her and listen to her reading (with nearly precise British accent) of selections from both books. They are awesome! I fell in love with these stories during the reading. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to speak with her and her very handsome friend (who was dressed to match her and portray Alexi).

On a side note, she stayed in full on Victorian gear the entirety of the Con. She has beautiful costumes! Also, if you hadn't already heard, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker has been optioned for a Broadway musical.

Summary from author's site:         What fortune awaited sweet, timid Percy Parker at Athens Academy? Considering how few of Queen Victoria’s Londoners knew of it, the great Romanesque fortress was dreadfully imposing, and little could Percy guess what lay inside. She had never met the powerful and mysterious Professor Alexi Rychman, knew nothing of the growing shadow, the Ripper and other supernatural terrors against which his coterie stood guard. She knew simply that she was different, haunted, with her snow-white hair, pearlescent skin and uncanny gifts. But this arched stone doorway offered a portal to a new life, an education far from the convent—and an invitation to an intimate yet dangerous dance at the threshold of life and death…

My Thoughts:   I already stated above that I fell in love with these stories during Ms. Hieber's reading. There is something intriguing about a Victorian/Gothic story that has its roots in ancient Greece. Yes, it sounds confusing....and it is slightly when trying to explain it. My husband asked for a summary and then looked questioningly at me as my detailed explanation kept going. There is a lot in this story to love. If you have any affection for novels of the Victorian era, especially the Gothic novels such as Dracula or others, this novel strikes just the right chord. Hieber is able to give wondrous flavor to the text through pretty word choice, without exactly copying the writing style of the Victorians, but giving a direct nod to it.  If you are a steampunk fan, I'm positive you will also find many things to love in this novel. While not actually being a steampunk novel (they aren't using technology - they are using magic/religion) it is set in the Victorian era and it is easy, in many scenes to visualize just how it could be steampunked. (Yes, I just made that a verb. Live with it.)

The cover is gorgeous. With the clock and the street lamp and the mist; it just feels like what I imagine Victorian England to have been. It also precisely captures the mood and tone of supernatural occurrences within the novel.

I'm glad I bought this novel....I immediately devoured it. There was no casual reading for this one.

Summary from the author:   With radiant, snow white skin and hair, Percy Parker was a beacon for Fate. True love had found her, in the tempestuous form of Professor Alexi Rychman. But her mythic destiny was not complete. Accompanying the ghosts with which she alone could converse, new and terrifying omens loomed. A war was coming, a desperate ploy of a spectral host. Victorian London would be overrun.  Yet, Percy kept faith. Within the mighty bastion of Athens Academy, alongside The Guard whose magic shielded mortals from the agents of the Underworld, she counted herself among friends. Wreathed in hallowed fire, they would stand together, no matter what dreams or nightmares—may come. 

 My Thoughts:   The second book in the series had me held nearly as intently as the first. Stress on the nearly. While I adored the continuation of the story, there were a few bits that drove me crazy. The tap danced across my reading pet peeves time after time. Luckily, other bits soothed me and kept my general adoration for the story intact.  To be brief, Percy, who is finally coming into her power both literally and figuratively, does the thing that peeves me the most. She continually refuses to share knowledge, information, thoughts, and even translations with the rest of her team. This is distressing for several reasons, but's her job! Her position in the group, and all of the major paranormal happenings revolving around her, rely on her being able to translate and share information with the group. However, she rarely does this.  I's great for suspense building and totally in character with the types of novels this one is inspired by....but......frustrating!!!!  Also, Alexi seems to morph from a strong willed, focused professor to raving, controlling, cavemen in the span of a wedding. Sheesh! There are ways to be alpha without actually running roughshod over your woman.

The cover for this novel seems to have followed the almost trend. There is a great background, title, and color.....but then they just had to throw in some eyes. I find this creepy. I can logically understand what they are referencing , but floating eyes are just not my thing. Happily, I don't have to look at the cover while reading!

This book was actually the catalyst for my reading the series. During Ms. Hieber's


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