Sophia, 17, and her younger sister Kate, 15, are desperate to leave their horrific orphanage. Orphans, unwanted and unloved, they nonetheless dream of coming of age elsewhere, of finding a better life, even if that means living on the streets of the brutal city of Ashton.
Sophia and Kate, also best friends, have each other’s backs—and yet they want different things from life. Sophia, a romantic, more elegant, dreams of entering court and finding a noble to fall in love with. Kate, a fighter, dreams of mastering the sword, of battling dragons, and becoming a warrior. They are both united, though, by their secret, paranormal power to read other’s minds, their only saving grace in a world that seems bent to destroy them.
As they each embark on a quest and adventure their own ways, they struggle to survive. Faced with choices neither can imagine, their choices may propel them to the highest power—or plunge them to the lowest depths. ~Goodreads Blurb
Two sisters both so alike in their gift and yet so different in their dreams. They both long to be safe and happy, but the forms that these take will send them on an adventure that neither of them could imagine leaving the House of the Unclaimed. From the streets to the palace, Sophia longs to win safety in the halls of the most decadent, but will she aim too high and fall back to earth? Kate, the youngest, wants to be able to protect her self at all costs, but will her drive for strength and power cost her dearly?These two sisters, trapped in a life of servitude due to their status of Unclaimed, have been blessed by the gift of being able to read minds of those around them. For all their abilities, there seems to be little understanding of why this is such a scary thing. For some, the mind is their only safe place. These girls use their gifts to lie, steal, and con their way in life. Yet for all the lying, stealing, and barefaced treachery you can’t help hoping that one of them will catch a break.
Author Morgan Rice started this new series after the success of her series The Sorcerer’s Ring(a 17 book series.) Currently planned as a six book series, I have to wonder at why the story was broken up into such chunks. With each book under 200 pages, it is surprising that it was decided that stretching 6 books from what could easily be a nice trilogy was the way to go. After coming to the end of book 1, I felt cheated. The storyline just stopped. It was as if someone had simply taken the story and lifted off the first 186 pages. The story is nice and you get to the meat of the story pretty quickly, with the barest of world-building slapped on. It is an easy read and I would recommend giving them a read. My word of advice on this one though is to grab the second book so you don’t feel robbed. I am currently reading the second in the series, though if it drops me again at the end, I will not be carrying on. I am a great lover of cliffhangers but not a fan of books that simply stop. Fingers crossed for the second.
*This eBook was provided by Kobe Writing Life and NetGalley in exchange for honest feedback*
What happens when the line between the past and the present begins to blur...
Rachel Miller is on the cusp of a new life when she moves to Union Cemetery after marrying Adam, the 7th generation cemetery keeper. Though she's known him only twelve weeks, his tender love seems like a miracle of fate after her years alone.
On her first walk through the lush and silent grounds of her new home, Rachel discovers a stunning monument to Tillie Smith,who died in 1886. Reading the words carved into the stone, "She Died in Defence of Her Honor," Rachel is overcome by a powerful memory buried deep in her past.
A series of uncanny coincidences linked to Tillie Smith follows, setting Rachel on a journey that grows into an obsession: Why did the murder of a poor kitchen maid at the local seminary become a national sensation? Why were people in town trying to keep her from finding the truth? But most disturbing of all, why was Tillie reawakening a past Rachel chose to bury long ago. A past that could threaten her marriage.~Goodreads Blurb
Following the trend of many new books, the main character is first introduced to us through her husband’s occupation in the title. Instead of the focus being on this smart auctioneer/historian, we are introduced to her as the wife of the Cemetary Keeper. In the beginning, she is just barely that, as they have just been married. She has a secret and so does he. Instead of starting out this new path with a clean slate the author has decided that they should stumble through things trying to hide who they are and yet create a new life together. There seems to be a theme of new beginnings overshadowed by the darkness of hidden secrets of the past. Rachel, our main character, is drawn to a monument that the entire town seems bent on not talking about. Set in New Jersey, this small town full of secrets would not be out of place in the Deep South. Full of secrets and people insisting that “you should let things alone” it is no wonder that our lead is drawn into the history that combines the town’s past, her own, and perhaps even threatens the future she is so carefully trying to create.
Based on a true story, this is an excellent start for author Maryann McFadden to dip her toes into historical fiction. There is less time spent in the historical aspect and more time in the contemporary. While the search for the details of the case seems to be a bit too easy, I can understand how the fiction part of this can lend itself to an easier time. It would be a falt book if Rachel had to stop her search due to a fire or a flooded basement as many historians or genealogy researchers have had to do. This book brings up a lot of things that readers may find hard to read about but giving a voice to many college freshmen who find themselves victims during their first year is refreshing. It is nice to see that the women are seen as victims instead of fallen women. The push for mental health help is also refreshing in historical fiction where often the best path to relief is to seek revenge.
Even though it touches on several sensitive subjects, I would recommend this to readers who love contemporary fiction and are interested in historical fiction. There is very little that readers will need to know ahead of time, and the author does a great job of not only working explanations into the story line but also showing much of the details.
*This eBook was provided by Three Women Press and NetGalley in exchange for honest feedback*
Freelance Editor & Reviewer