A horticultural fantasy
Crystal Gardens by local author Amanda Quick is the first in a new trilogy, the Ladies of Lantern Street. Each of the Ladies of Lantern Street novels focuses on women who are employed by a hired companion agency. While they appear to be hired out as paid companions, the ladies actually use their specialized psychic powers to solve mysteries. Have I lost you? Keep reading—the gardens will take prime focus, I promise.
Crystal Gardens is the story of paid companion and budding novelist Evangeline Ames. She's come to the small town of Little Dixby to focus on writing her novel. Unfortunately she was followed from London and is attacked in her rented cottage. She flees in the middle of the night and takes refuge in the Crystal Gardens. She has heard the villagers speak warnings of the dangers that lurk within, but she takes a risk that pays off. Eluding her attacker, she is then discovered by the owner of the property, Lucas Sebastian. He offers to help her figure out who sent the attacker after her, and why.
Lucas's deceased uncle, the former owner of the Crystal Gardens, was rumored to have gone mad trying to improve the properties of the plants in the gardens. No one really knows what makes the plants glow—yes, glow— but the stories of missing intruders are still told in the village. Most people are smart enough to steer clear of the gardens, but the legend of buried Roman gold is enough to lure a few people past the gates despite the rumors that the grounds are haunted.
What may first appear to be a romance wrapped in a mystery and sprinkled with the paranormal is actually a fantastic novel surrounding the creation and growth of the weirdest garden I have ever encountered in literature. You will be fascinated by the horticultural possibilities in Crystal Gardens.
If you enjoy the paranormal aspects of this book, you may also enjoy titles in the Arcane series, written under the two nom de plumes of the author Jayne Ann Krentz : Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle. I've always been a fan of her works but these novels have reduced me to counting down the days until the next book is released...and I couldn't be happier.
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