24 October, 2012

Gothic/Gaslamp Wednesday Review: The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart by Leanna Renee Hieber

For Natalie Stewart, a normal life has never seemed so far away. Her only solace, Lord Jonathan Denbury, is wanted for murder. To clear his name, Denbury must return to England and assume the role of his demon doppelganger. 

But Natalie begins to doubt his true motives, especially as a new gentleman begins whispering in her ear. Natalie and Denbury may be able to visit each other in their dreams, but they can't escape the darkening shadows. 

spontaneous explosions, friends turned enemies and dangerous secrets revealed, there's still a demon who has Natalie's scent, and someone is trying to resurrect the ultimate evil.

It's funny that I happened to read THE TWISTED TALE OF MISS NATALIE STEWART just before I read another gothic tale. Perhaps, after reading this wonderful addition to the DARKER STILL series, I still had a taste for a good gothic mystery. Regardless, this book continued the tale of Natalie Stewart and her love, Jonathan Denbury. having been rescued from the painting that he was trapped in, the two embark on a journey (figuratively and literally, at points) to find and uncover the villain they can't seem to shed. I've already slightly spoiled DARKER STILL, the first book in the series, and to avoid major spoilers for both, I won't speak too much on the plot.

However, Natalie has regained her voice, which makes her part in discovering more about the demon that walked about as Jonathan slightly easier, as now she can talk to her confidantes and help Jonathan don the personality of his demon doppelganger. In DARKER STILL, Natalie is an intelligent young woman, and rather unlike the truth of a majority of Victorian women. She has a freedom that is seldom contained, and a sharp mind that the reader gets to experience more of in THE TWISTED TRAGEDY OF MISS NATALIE STEWART.

What I like about Leanna Renee Hieber's writing is that is has little touches here and there that seem to go beyond one-dimentional research. There is an authenticity employed in the dress, the speech, and the personalities that seem impossible for someone who could never have experienced Victorian or Gaslamp society themselves.

THE TWISTED TRAGEDY OF MISS NATALIE STEWART was all that I could hope for in a follow-up to DARKER STILL. Everything that I liked about the characters from the first book has perfect continuity in this one. Hieber knows how to spin a great tale, where the setting is just as important as the story, and she captured my interest with the unusual tale of Denbury and Natalie. Starting out as a tribute to the Dorian Grey idea, the series has gone beyond what most know about the "picture". Hieber has molded and twisted the idea into her own with great success.

Book Rating:
4 Stars

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About The Author:
Author, actress and playwright Leanna Renee Hieber grew up in rural Ohio inventing ghost stories. She graduated with a BFA in Theatre and a focus in the Victorian Era from Miami University. She began her theatrical career with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and began adapting works of 19th Century literature for the stage. Her one-act plays such as Favorite Lady have been published, awarded and produced around the country. Her novella Dark Nest won the 2009 Prism Award for excellence in the genre of Futuristic, Fantasy, or Paranormal Romance.

Her debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, first in her Strangely Beautiful series, landed on Barnes & Noble's bestseller lists, was named a favourite of 2009 by 14 book blogs, won two 2010 Prism Awards (Best Fantasy, Best First Book), the 2010 Orange County Book Buyer's Best Award (Young Adult category) and is currently in development as a musical theatre production with Broadway talent on board. The Strangely Beautiful series has been translated into several languages and was selected for hardcover editions via Rhapsody and SciFi Book Clubs. The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess, the prequel in the series, won the 2012 Prism Award (Best Fantasy).

DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul, first in Leanna's Gothic Historical Paranormal saga for teens (Sourcebooks Fire), hit the Kid's/YA INDIE NEXT LIST as a recommended title by the American Booksellers Association. Seventeen Magazine said of DARKER STILL: "This chilling tale will draw you in and keep you guessing until the very last page!" The book has been praised by Shelf Awareness, The Chicago Tribune, Pixie Magazine and more. DARKER STILL will also be translated into several languages and has been selected for a SCHOLASTIC edition as a "highly recommended" title.

Leanna's short fiction has been featured in anthologies Candle In the Attic Window and the upcoming Willful Impropriety: Tales of Society and Scandal, "Too Fond"; a forthcoming short for Tor.com and Queen Victoria's Book of Spells: Tales of Gaslight Fantasy (March 2013, Tor).

Represented by Nicholas Roman Lewis, Leanna is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She is proud to be a co-founder of the original Lady Jane's Salon Reading Series in New York. Leanna was named the 2010 RWA NYC Chapter Author of the Year.

A member of Actors Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, Leanna works often in film and television on shows like Boardwalk Empire and is thrilled to be playing a principle role as Deputy Kellion in the forthcoming web-series Auror's Tale. When not writing or on set, she's busy telling ghost stories, frequenting Goth clubs, corset shopping, channeling Narcissa Malfoy, wandering graveyards and generally adventuring about her adopted hometown of New York City, where she resides with her real-life hero and their beloved rescued lab rabbit.

Website | Blog | Twitter | GoodReads

This book was provided by Around The World ARC Tours, in exchange for my honest review only

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