Monday, 22 August 2011

Photographs & Phantoms by Cindy Spencer Pape




Brighton, 1855

As a member of the Order of the Round Table, Kendall Lake is overqualified to be investigating strange phenomena at a seaside photography studio. But since the photographer is related to the Order's most powerful sorcerer, Kendall reluctantly boards a dirigible to Brighton.

Amy Deland is haunted by a shadow that appears in some of her recent portraits. In each case, the subject died within days of the sitting. Does she have her grandmother's gift of foresight, or has she somehow caused the deaths?

As Kendall and Amy search for answers, their investigation draws them together in a most improper way—but it seems the evil presence in the studio is determined to keep them apart...

For a lovely little historical read that won’t cost you anything but the time it takes to download and read it, try Photographs & Phantoms. At 20 thousand words, there is a treat in store where it “feels” much longer—which is a good thing because I enjoyed it a lot and didn’t want it to end.

The sights of Brighton were vivid in my mind because I’ve been there, so it was a great bonus to discover the book is set there. I loved the “old” feel, the clothes, the people, the way they behaved. One person gave me the creeps, but I won’t reveal who that is because it’s a major plot spoiler. As well as Kendall and Amy, there are a few secondary characters who enrich the book with their presence, not to mention the unusual (for me, anyway) plot.

My fave scene of all was when Amy is in Brighton proper and has to make sure she keeps tabs on those with her. Something happens, and it was one of those moments where everything begins to slot into place and you slap yourself because you didn’t see THAT coming!

Also, I mustn’t forget the reason why Amy does “improper” things with Kendall. It made me feel sorry for her that she had to live in a time where you couldn’t just do things like that if you had the urge. Their interaction, both sexual and non, is a joy to read, and watching them grow together throughout the tale brought a smile and left me satisfied.

“Heading down for a snack, are you?…”

“A black serpent, but the eyes are human, or once were.”

…a far more serious lad, peppered her with questions about the processes of photography.

Moving as jerkily as an automaton, she picked it up and held it against her smooth, white throat.

What a little treasure! For a book you can read in an evening and get totally caught up in what’s going on, and also the unravelling of a mystery, plus Amy’s discovery of what her body can do/give her when with a man, try Photographs & Phantoms. P.S. Kendall is yummy.



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