Ghosts are real.
At least that’s what Alice Monroe believes long before the end of this read.
But then, I believe it too!
The introverted gamer and geek-girl is happy with her new position as live-in caretaker for the Strande Estate. Once home to illusionist, Julian Strande, the four-story mansion is now a public attraction featuring tours and magic shows.
Alice isn’t put off by the rumors of people disappearing, unexplained accidents, or of the mansion being haunted by Strande himself, but when things not only go bump in the night, they talk… and touch, her fear is outweighed by curiosity and excitement. Julian Strande is haunting his home and he’s a little creepy and a lot pervy. The things he does to her shouldn’t be possible, and… she shouldn’t enjoy it.
However, as she grows closer to the mansion’s current owner, Charles Mensonge, Alice is conflicted. Julian will not be denied, but she’s falling in love with Charles, the arrogant, controlling magician’s great-grandnephew… and the spitting image of him.
When Alice confesses her love for Charles to his uncle, things settle down, but not for long. The mansion, its mazes, and Julian’s mysterious disappearance one hundred years ago become obsessions for her and the pragmatic puzzle-solver doesn’t realize her search takes her closer to Julian and his plans for their future.
Great read that pulled me in from the beginning. The author’s attention to detail made the Strande Mansion a formidable character that had me doodling on a scratch to see the things described.
Alice and Charles are weird… but in a good way. She smoothes his sharp edges and he pulls the withdrawn loner from her comfort zone. They’re a cute couple and have good chemistry even though I knew despite his candid, abrupt personality, Charles wasn’t telling Alice everything.
And then there’s Julian, a one-hundred-fifty-year-old, self-centered ghost with an attitude. Being dead doesn’t stop him from lording over the mansion, dispensing his brand of punishment when people annoy him, much like the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera. The author calls this read villain romance and she nailed it as Julian veers off into psycho-land, flipping between a caring, attentive lover and a harsh dominant. A sleeping Alice doesn’t hear the secret he whispers in her ear, but she’s sharp and will figure it out. Right?
You won’t have to suspend belief for this paranormal tale. Julian Strande will convince you it’s real and not an illusion. Trust me.
Check back next Friday for my review of book 2, Ghosts and Liars. You’re not ready for this! 😀 😀