Crissy and I both were dying to read this new book from Jordan L. Hawk so we decided to do it as a Buddy Review. As you will see from our reviews below, we both totally adored it and gave it 5 stars! We wrote our reviews independently but had many of the same thoughts about the book. Enjoy!
After his family lost their fortune to a fraudulent medium, Henry Strauss is determined to bring science to the art of seances and ghost hunting. He has finally succeeded in developing equipment he knows will revolutionize the supernatural world, not to mention prove science’s superiority over human mediums, but he can’t get anyone to believe in him. When he gets a request from Dominic Gladfield to pit his Electro-Séance equipment against a medium to see who can expel the ghosts from Reyhome Castle first, it seems like the perfect opportunity to prove his inventions are superior.
Vincent Night, along with his partner Lizzie, is the medium selected to face off against Henry. Vincent is the real deal, but he is also terrified to step back into the job. After a ghostly possession gone bad led to the death of his mentor, Vincent has no interest in any more ghost hunting. But he and Lizzie need the money, and so he reluctantly agrees to join in the contest.
When the men meet at Reyhome Castle they are instantly at odds. Henry is sure Vincent and Lizzie are frauds and is determined to prove his machinery is superior to human mediums. After the terrible experience with the trickster who stole his family’s money, Henry can not let himself believe that Vincent’s motives are pure. For his part, Vincent sees Henry as confident, but arrogant, and it is clear to Vincent that though Henry means well, in some ways he is out of his league with his reliance on science and refusal to recognize the human element in the process.
As the men get to know one another, however, they both begin to form a grudging respect for the other’s work. Vincent see that Henry actually has some good ideas, and some of his inventions could be quite useful. He also sees the way Henry treats his cousin, a young girl of mixed race, and recognizes what a good soul Henry truly is. Henry comes to realize that Vincent is not a fake, that he is a true medium and really wants to help people. As the respect and attraction grow between the men, they start to build something together. But the ghosts at Reyhome Castle are not to be trifled with. There is a deep evil brewing there and a spirit that is definitely looking to harm them all. As Henry and Vincent work to rid the castle of ghosts, they may find that none of them make it out alive.
OMG, this book was so fabulous you guys! I really had no idea what to expect here, but Jordan L. Hawk has created a story that is thrilling, terrifying, romantic, and so exciting I could barely put it down! Restless Spirits has classic horror elements, with this group of people all gathered in a remote home and something sinister brewing. Somehow Hawk has created this brilliant combination of horror and romance, with some mystery rolled in that gives us a story that is just amazing.
So there are so many things to like here. First off, as I mentioned, this story is incredibly exciting. I really could barely put it down as things heated up along the way. The story slowly builds, things seemingly innocent and safe, and as the story continues it unveils the true horror that lives in the Castle. We have vengeful ghosts, a remote house filled with secret passageways, characters who are not all what they seem, and at least one human who is up to no good. It all comes together into a fast paced, truly exciting story that I could hardly put down as I raced through it.
This story is set in the 19th century New York and so we get an interesting setting and time period here. It creates a nice clash between the science and the spiritualism, with each of our heroes representing an opposing camp. The story sets the men up at odds with one another, and at first they can’t even begin to see the other’s viewpoints. But as Henry and Vincent get to know one another, they come to appreciate not just the other’s point of view, but also the person inside. Vincent sees Henry as a man who cares for and protects his cousin, even as society frowns on the fact that she is of mixed race. He is brilliant and determined to use his talents to help people he thinks are being taken advantage of. Yes, at times his certainty he is right ends up getting Henry in trouble. But Vincent can see what a good person he is inside. For his part, Henry does not want to let himself believe in Vincent. His conviction that mediums are shams comes from his painful past, and so it is hard for him to accept that there might be people out there with true talent. But as he gets to know Vincent, Henry comes to believe and support him. I loved seeing these two men who start out so at odds find their way to common ground. There is so much more below the surface for each of them, and I really enjoyed discovering it over the course of the book.
Restless Spirits is the first of a series and I am so excited to see where the author takes things for these men. The story ends perfectly, setting us up for more adventures between the men and I can’t wait. I loved Vincent and Henry and absolutely love this world Hawk has created. There are some really lovely themes here as well about the importance of being open and accepting of different types of people, and about the how it is good to step out of your comfort zone and try to see other’s points of view. Overall this one was just fabulous and I most highly recommend it.
P.S. I totally love this cover. Quirky and fun, not to mention gorgeous.
I freaking loved this story. Oh my God! Okay. I’m almost embarrassed to say this is my first Jordan L. Hawk book, but it won’t be my last. I was hooked from the very beginning. And let me say that’s a feat when it comes to period pieces, because I’m not known to be a huge historical fan—though paranormal is right up my alley. Plus I’ve heard amazing things about this author so of course I had to jump at the chance to read this book. I’m so glad I did.
Even though the world of psychic abilities and ghosts that the author has created is so huge and the story spans a great deal, this story is very character driven. And I very much love that. The contrast in the characters are so vast. From personality to class to race, Hawk explores every aspect of a person in nineteenth century America—the fair and unfair. In Henry, she presents a man who is known as a bit of a quack in the psychic community. He is bound and determined to prove his machines are superior to the frauds of the psychic community. And in Vincent, she presents a man who is afraid of who he is because of what has happened to him in the past. I love how this story brings not only these two men together, but open up their way of thinking to the other. Henry is completely stubborn and immovable when it comes to his ideas. And Vincent… well, Vincent is a bit of a rogue. Geez, the man is all sex and passion and sweetness.
I could go on all day about the entire cast. If I wasn’t a fan of Lizzie in the beginning—with her imperial air and matronly protectiveness of Vincent, not to mention her nagging and pushing him to move on—I was by the end. And ohmigod is she not the greatest of the great. Then Jo, Henry’s niece, is just plain precious. She’s practically been through hell and back, but you can’t help but love her. She’s brilliant and independent and lovely for what she’s been through. I’d tell you about the others, but we’d be here all day.
I even like how the author gives life to the ghosts and their story. And holy cow—their story is as nauseating as it is scary. Hawk does a wonderful job balancing out the paranormal world with the romantic side of this story. I was never wanting for either, but I always wanted more of both for the simple fact that they were both so good. The anticipation that is encountered in this story—either through the investigation or with Henry and Vincent—is nearly palpable. I was addicted.
By the end, I wondered how everything could come together—how could the ghosts be banished? How could Henry and Vincent and Henry have a happy ending? I began to worry, but there was really no use. The story ended perfectly and with an opening for more stories to come.
I am a fan. Consider me a Jordan L. Hawk convert. I will definitely be trying out some of her historical pieces from her on out. I loved this story and can’t wait for the next book. It’s a fabulous ghost story mixed with mystery and romance. Not to mention the perfection of the characters. I am in love. I highly recommend Restless Spirits by Jordan L. Hawk.