Paperback, 376 pages
Published April 19th 2011
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Thriller
My name is Amelia Gray. I'm a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I've always held fast to the rules passed down from my father. But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.
It started with the discovery of a young woman's brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I've been hired to restore. The clues to the killer and to his other victims lie in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret. Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy. To warn him would be to invite them into my life. I've vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next.
It is hard to find the words to fully convey the experience Ms. Stevens brings us in her novel, The Restorer. To say that I loved it would be true, but it wasn't just that I loved this book. It was that this book was so powerful that it fully engaged me--all my senses were attuned while I was reading. There were sights and smells and feelings that washed over me while I read this. It was languid in parts, eerie in others, and there was more than one occasion where I gasped out. I was thrilled while I was read this, saddened by the hauntings of the ghosts and the secrets the Graveyard Queen carried with her, creeped out by the murders, and gripped the story as a whole. Every word read like liquid honey, and I lapped it up.
Amelia was a character I was immediately drawn in by. Intelligent, yet haunted by her secrets and the knowledge that she must always be careful not to invite ghosts into her life, she seemed an isolated character. But there was also a vitality about her that I admired given her lot in her life as someone who see ghosts, but never ever interact with them. Her choices seem natural and honest enough--she cannot turn her back on the murder investigations, yet she knows full well she is inviting danger into her life, and perhaps opening doors that are better left closed to the dead. I'm haunted still by the way Amelia speaks of actions she has taken as though they have had repercussions we do not yet see. Repercussions she regrets.
|Book Two in The Graveyard Queen series|
I'm also haunted by John Devlin's character. The fact that he is haunted, and that his ghosts are trying to communicate with Amelia disturbs me. Yet I also find him a darkly compelling character. He is clearly drawn to Amelia, and Amelia is drawn to him despite the fact that everything she has ever been taught tells her to stay away from Devlin if only because he is haunted. Will their attraction ever blossom into a romance? I've no idea. I hope that he finds peace, but as to what part he will play in Amelia's life I could only guess at. I do hope to see him in later novels, if only to know what happens to him and his ghosts.
What really caused my heart to race in this novel was the murder plot. It drew these characters together, set Amelia down a path I doubt she even fully realizes yet and had my full and unwavering attention. I was horrified at times, mesmerized at others by the on going investigation and outright shocked at some of the plot twists I did not see coming. A read that is rich in imagery and emotion, this one that will be not easily be forgotten long after the final words are read.