Sunday, July 28, 2013

Review: Crystal Gardens by Amanda Quick

Click here to buy the book on Amazon

Crystal Gardens is the first book in Amanda Quick's The Ladies of Lantern Street series and is a sub-series of her Arcane Society series, which I have been religiously following since 2006. Quick's commitment to the Victorian/Steampunk/Paranormal Romance world that she has created shows in each installment, as she continues to build this evocative, fascinating England full of "talented" individuals: she truly understands the abilities of her characters and has explored the limits of the genre that, I believe, she is at the forefront of.

Crystal Gardens is no exception. It begins with an attempt on Evangeline Ames' life, which she believes is intentional. It is fortunate that Evangeline Ames is renting a small cottage in Crystal Gardens, an estate owned by the Sebastian family -- and the current owner, Lucas Sebastian is in residence, investigating the mysterious death of his uncle, Chester, the former owner of the estate.

As a mystery, I love how Amanda Quick lays out the puzzle pieces in a clear and organized manner. Who is responsible for the attempt on Evangeline's life? Who killed Uncle Chester? What secrets are hidden in the Crystal Gardens? I love the procedural aspect of the novel -- how Lucas, Evangeline, and Lucas's step-siblings, Beth and Tony try to figure out all the questions that swirl around them. Amanda Quick ups the ante by introducing us to paranormal talents and a garden that emanates power ... and danger. The magical mixed in with the mysterious makes for classic Amanda Quick and fans will definitely not be disappointed.

My favorite part was the secondary story between Mr. Stone and Molly -- I loved seeing how two people with no psychical abilities cope with the adventures of their employers -- and, instead of feeling inferior, they manage to provide assistance using their own set of skills.

"Must be a bit strange to have some psychical talent."

"Mr. Sebastian says most people have a little," Stone said. "They just don't recognize it. He says they call it intuition."

"My ma says I have good intuition. Sometimes I just know things."

"So do I," Stone said. "I knew the first time I met Mr. Sebastian that I wanted to work for him."

"That's how I felt when I took the post with Miss Ames. I told myself it might lead to something much better."
- p. 289

I also love seeing how Amanda Quick develops the romances between her characters -- there is no grand declaration of love and no drama -- she works out the relationship in a very sensible way. At the end, what you will have are lovers who are also companions/partners. (Read Lucas and Evangeline's conversation in pages 371 - 372)

I did wish that Quick focused more on the Flint and Marsh agency and Evangeline's work with them. She teases her readers with glimpses of the agency does and the special people they hire. Let's see with the next book. ;-)

To find out more about Amanda Quick and her books, click below:


  1. Love Amanda Quick’s novels but have not read this new one as yet. However, I am quite intrigued to do so especially after reading your great review. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi, Connie!

    Would love to know which one of Quick's books is your favorite. I still have a soft spot for her older historical romances but I also love her newer ones that incorporate a bit of the paranormal. ^_^

    Have a great day!

  3. Now you test my memory! Well, I am also one who loves her older novels and “Ravished" and “I Thee Wed” come to mind. There are others I’m sure. Just remembering that it was an Amanda Quick novel that I liked is the easy part. Wouldn’t it be great to do a re-read of all of them to be sure of a favorite? Yes! I like that idea. :-)

  4. I remember Ravished! All those references to how big Gideon was. O_O

    Good luck with the re-read! ;-)



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