Monday, August 16, 2010
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 received The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker (for short Strangely Beautiful) as a review copy from the author and I couldn't wait for exams to be over so I could finally start it. And I have to say this book didn't disappoint. Okay I admit the start was a bit slow for my taste but after the first 50 pages I was so hooked I just couldn't pit it down. BF had to force me to stop in the train so I didn't miss our exit. Strangely Beautiful is a mix of historical and paranormal with a sweet touch of romance and that wonderful diversity caught my heart.
The story centers around Miss Percy Parker a very timid and shy girl with a rather shocking appearance. She's an albino and her pale exterior seems to frighten the people of that time. I think that nowadays she would still receive a lot of weird glances and stares but at that period people even more believed in the paranormal and all they see is a girl that looks like ghost and they act like she came to haunt them. Percy tries to stay in the background. She tries to avoid being noticed and she developed some skills to blend with the surroundings. But she is not a person who should be ignored. She was an intelligent mind and is one of the nicest and loveliest persons I ever read about. If you had her as your friend you would be really lucky. She is all in all a charming and good mannered girl.
And then we have the dark and delicious Professor Alexi Rychman. Oh my, this one is one I would like to have a professor. He seems to be untouchable and aloof but in his core he is as human as we all are. He is a controlled and very focused man. He knows what he wants and mostly has the exact route in his mind how to achieve it. No wonder he is the leader and mind of The Guard. He is a strong believer in science and fact and it sometimes collides with his job as paranormal investigator. How can explain something ghostly with science and logic. I loved to read about his inner struggle. His character and mind highly intrigued me but I have to say that there were some moments when I would have loved to hit him HARD but that's okay because after all he still is just a man.
The romance in Strangely Beautiful is nice and sweet with some lovely twists and turns. I felt like a cheerleader and caught myself telling the characters things like: Don't you dare thinking about that woman. Yes, perhaps I even screamed a bit from time to time but I just couldn't let some things happen. ;) The romantic part of the book is a bit tame but everything else just wouldn't fit the story and characters. And after all what happens was hot on it's own. *wink*
I was also really fascinated by Mrs. Hieber's side characters. You can really feel how much she likes to travel. Her characters are all special and really unique. You can see their life and their backstory but you never feel overwhelmed with the amount of information. That was really surprising for me. When I put the book down and thought about the story and characters I realized how much I learned in this book and I never felt like it was too much. I say that's great story telling.
The story is wonderfully strange and even though Strangely Beautiful is written in omniscient POV it never lost it's thrill for me. Every time a character made a mistake or thought something wrong I wanted to shake them and tell them how stupid that was. Okay perhaps I used more colorful words but I''m trying to behave.
Mrs. Hieber's writing is lyrical, full of emotion and passion. You can feel her love for the words and how much she enjoys writing. Her sentences just flow exactly right and they all warmed my heart. I think that made this book into something special for me. Strangely Beautiful is an amazing touching and emotional story with a thrilling paranormal mystery. Her characters jump of the pages and you will be unable to wait long to start book 2, The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker. I know I can't wait to learn how Percy's and Alexi's story will go on.
To learn more about Leanna and her books please visit her website here.
And you should check out Book Lovers Inc tomorrow. I will dual review Strangely Beautiful togther with Caroline aka pattepoilue.
Strangely Beautiful Series:
1. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker: goodreads
2. The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker: goodreads
3. The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess: goodreads