Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A Brush with Shadows - Historical Mystery Review

Rating: Loved it!
Source: Publisher

July 1831. It's been fifteen years since Sebastian Gage has set foot in Langstone Manor. Though he has shared little with his wife, Lady Kiera Darby, about his past, she knows that he planned never to return to the place of so many unhappy childhood memories. But when an urgent letter from his grandfather reaches them in Dublin, Ireland, and begs Gage to visit, Kiera convinces him to go.

All is not well at Langstone Manor. Gage's grandfather, the Viscount Tavistock, is gravely ill, and Gage's cousin Alfred has suddenly vanished. He wandered out into the moors and never returned. The Viscount is convinced someone or something other than the natural hazards of the moors is to blame for Alfred's disappearance. And when Alfred's brother Rory goes missing, Kiera and Gage must concede he may be right. Now, they must face the ghosts of Gage's past, discover the truth behind the local superstitions, and see beyond the tricks being played by their very own eyes to expose what has happened to Gage's family before the moors claim yet another victim...

Genre: Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:
  I've been wanting to read this series for ages and this one sounded particularly intriguing.

My Impression:
  This series has been on my TBR for quite some time but other than it being a historical mystery series I really didn't know all that much about it.  Since this is book 6 I was a little concerned that it might be confusing but I really didn't find that to be the case.  Both Kiera and Gage have some complicated and unhappy backstories but I felt like I was given enough information (without the dreaded info dump) to be able to become invested in the characters and caught up in the story.

I'll start with the characters.  Kiera is an interesting lead.  In terms of logic, intelligence, and deductive reasoning she reminded me a bit of Laurie R. King's Mary Russell but Kiera is also a talented artist and is a bit more emotional (without being angsty).  Her delight in her relationship with Gage as well as the couples' love for each other is wonderfully evident and adds a sweet note at times but isn't sugary.  While Gage doesn't have the scandalous past that Kiera does his childhood was deeply unhappy and his relationship with his father is complicated and definitely not loaded with trust.  These are two characters who needed each other and are both so appreciative to have found each other.  The addition of Gage's valet and Kiera's maid adds the gossip from below stairs which frequently aids in the investigation as wells as a bit of humor as they most definitely have their own personalities and opinions.

The mystery is deeply personal to Gage as it involves not only his estranged family but his maternal family home which he has avoided for fifteen years.  The house itself had a very Rebecca feel with dark and narrow hallways and a hostile presence in the form of Gage's Aunt Vanessa - a more aristocratic and meaner version of Miss Danvers.  The tension is palpable and right from the start neither the reader nor Kiera can really tell who to trust.  Everyone has their own agendas and the secrets from the past are plentiful.  While the house did remind of Rebecca the writing style did not.  While I wouldn't say it's light and breezy it is fast paced and cleanly written.  It drew me in from the start and kept me turning pages - partly to spend more time with Gage and Kiera and partly to find out just what happened to Alfred and what is lurking in the shadows of Langstone Manor.

I expected to enjoy this one as I love historical mysteries, family secrets, and mysteries from the past but I was surprised by just how much I enjoyed it.  Right from the start the characters felt real and I found myself just wanting to read "a few more pages".  If you enjoy historical mysteries or mysteries in general this is a must read series!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Absolutely!  I'm looking forward to reading the first 5 books and will be anxiously awaiting book 7.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  Definitely!  If you enjoy historical mysteries - especially Laurie R. King's Mary Russell series or Jennifer Ashley's Kat Holloway series - than this is a must read.  I had no problem jumping in on this book if you don't want to go back to the beginning.


  1. I have heard a lot of good things about this series. Nice that one could jump into it and still be engaged but not confused. And Rebecca was the magic word. LOL

  2. I usually stay away from series because I have to keep up(lol), but this sounds really interesting. Glad you enjoyed it so much! Hugs...RO

  3. Love that you could jump in at 6 and feel at home in it. I like that an author fills us in without info dumping. I find I need it even if I have read previous books because of the forgettery apsect! I think I'd really like this one.

  4. This sounds really good. It's great you were able to jump into this series. I've been finding I can do that more and more with books lately. I'll have to add this one to my list.

  5. Oh yay! I had been eyeing this one but, yeah, being book 6 wasn't sure. Up the list it goes :)

  6. I think I would really love this one too! I can't wait to read it. Adding it to my wish list.