Review of “Crystal Gardens” (Ladies of Lantern Street #1) by Amanda Quick

Quick, Amanda. Crystal Gardens. 2012. New York: Jove, 2012. ISBN-13: 978-0-515-15299.  Hardcover List Price: $25.95 Paperback List Price: $7.99

4 stars

Combining elements of different subgenres of romance doesn’t always work, but Krentz/Quick made it work in this novel, which pairs two people with “psychical” abilities, seamlessly combining historical, romantic suspense, and paranormal.

In contrast to some of the other romantic suspense books I have read in the past, the hero and heroine both have distinct and separate problems which do not connect, other than the fact that they each assist each other in unraveling their respective predicaments. Evangeline faces someone who wants to kill her, and this is what brings her almost literally to Lucas’ doorstep, but Lucas is also unraveling the circumstances of his uncle’s mysterious death and the disappearance of the former housekeeper, who was his uncle’s lover. I did feel the resolution to the Evangeline murder plot was a bit hastily concluded, especially after forgetting about it for quite a lot of the book to focus on the Gardens and the treasure, which I felt could have been a much more interesting conclusion.

Lucas and Evangeline had much more chemistry than the couple from the previous AQ book I read, and the intimate scenes between them were much more believable, with or without them being under the influence of the Gardens’ magic. And of course, we again meet another great cast of characters. Beatrice, Evangeline’s friend, who works with her at the private inquiry agency is the only other character to my knowledge who has a book, but I would love to see her expand on these characters a bit more. Does Judith get a second chance at love? And I would love to see more of Tony and Beth.

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