Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sample Reading #4: Lessons After Dark by Isabel Cooper

This is a new feature on my blog called Sample Reading. This is where I will talk about book samples that I've gotten online. I'll read the sample and will answer the very important question:

Will I buy it?

This past week, I had the pleasure of reading Isabel Cooper's debut novel, No Proper Lady and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Now I am considering whether I should buy her second book, Lessons After Dark. (I was lucky to get her first book on sale but the second book was released just a few months ago and is still at regular price.)

The Blurb:

For years, Gareth St. John put his supernatural talent for healing in service to the British Army. Now he’s the doctor at Englefield, a very unusual new school that helps people with special “talents” learn how to hone their abilities. He thinks he’s equal to the challenge; he’s not so sure he can handle one of his colleagues.

Olivia Brightmore became a fake medium to support herself after her husband died, but her unexpected master of real magic led her to become Englefield’s newest teacher. Gareth’s scorn for her and her past makes her try and keep him at arm’s length, but somehow she can’t quite resist the urge to get under his skin.

Faced with students who can’t control their powers, the suspicions of the outside world, and something... strange... in the forest beyond the school, Gareth and Olivia must learn as quickly as they teach: about the world, and about each other.
- from Isabel Cooper's website

I got the sample from: Amazon, Kindle
# of Pages: First 3 chapters (13 pages) of a 44-chapter book

My impressions: I love how Isabel Cooper starts the story and introduces the characters -- in gradual increments rather than one long information dump.

Olivia is a widow with meager resources. She's been hired by the Grenvilles to be the new teacher at Englefield. Olivia is not a very confident woman and battles insecurities constantly in the first 3 chapters.

Her impression of the facade of the school reflects her anxieties: seemed to loom against the cloudy evening sky, full of unpleasant possibilities.
- p. 1

She's very good at tucking small bits of Olivia and Gareth's past into the present action. In this instance, it is revealed the state of Olivia's finances (or lack thereof):

She looked at Olivia's bag dubiously and didn't ask where the others were. Olivia knew she was blushing and smiled quickly to cover it up. "I try to travel lightly," she said.
- (She = Violet, the maid) pp. 2-3

Gareth St. John is the school doctor. His leg pains him and he still hasn't completely let go of his memories of the past.

I love the idea of a school that teaches talented children how to use their gifts properly. It reminds me somewhat of the X-Men and Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters and I'm excited to meet the students of Englefield. In how many schools would you hear the sentence: "She's on the ceiling, sir, and she can't get down." - p. 6

Price: $5.79 on Amazon for the Kindle edition, $6.99 for the print edition
Will I buy it? I bought it right after I finished reading the Sample and I'm very excited to read it! (I've committed to read 3 books before July ends so this book will come after those.)

I think I will be following this series from now on. ^_^


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