Rating: 3.5 stars
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As a psychometric, Mason is never sure if the items he touches will send him wheeling into a vision of the past. Try though he might, he has no control over the ability. His coping mechanism has been to limit his contact with the outside world and to wear gloves whenever he must leave his home. Though it’s far from a perfect solution, Mason is confident enough that he can actually make the trip to Kedgewood, where his great granduncle has left him a house. Mason decides to lodge at the local B&B where he meets a kind, if meddling, woman known as Aunt Annalise. But Mason is only in town for a few hours before his psychometry begins to wreak havoc. In short order, he’s had more visions than in the past year. That doesn’t bode well for possibly moving into his great granduncle’s house. And yet, the house itself feels strangely comforting. When he meets Annalise’s nephew Elijah, Mason finds another temptation to stick it out.
Elijah has always loved coming to Kedgetown to visit his aunt. He’s less thrilled with the local supernatural council and their rigidity, but he’s never had reason to stay very long. Then he meets Mason. Despite warnings from the council and his own werewolf pack about strictly maintaining the secrecy of werewolves and the entire supernatural world alike, Elijah can’t help but want to share with Mason. First, Elijah offers to help Mason clean up his great granduncle’s house. Then, he starts to fall for Mason. Before long, Elijah begins to suspect Mason isn’t a normal human, but a psi with some kind of ability, and he’s ready to help Mason figure out how to cope. As they spend more time together, cleaning the house and getting acquainted, it’s clear that Elijah and Mason share a deep attraction to one another. There’s just one thing…the house Mason inherited has a storied history of its own. The lovers must figure out if they can reconcile their wants with the needs of the house.
Postscript is the first book in Anne Barwell’s new Kedgewood series. The story is largely centered around thirty-somethings Mason and Elijah, but shot through with, well, let’s call it the business end of great granduncle Lewis’ own romance. There was an interesting mix of present day story featuring Mason and Elijah getting to know each other and Lewis and his lover Cyrus falling in love. In addition to the dual romances, the house itself occupies a strange space. On the one hand, some supporting characters very obviously regard the house as its own being. On the other hand, the actual experiences Mason and Elijah or Lewis and Cyrus have in the house don’t seem to reinforce that idea. So with dueling love stories, a house that is more than a house, and a cast of characters that are so long-lived that lines are blurred between the present and the past, it all works to make this story a little more difficult to follow than I think it could be.
Take Mason and Elijah, for example. To me, these two are (or were supposed to be) the focal point of the story. Yet so many major milestones in their relationship get glossed over or skipped entirely because the story shifts away to what happened in the past between great granduncle Lewis and his lover, Cyrus. One specific example is how Mason doesn’t have control over his psychometry. In the past, he attempted suicide because he felt so helpless. Elijah offers to help Mason learn how to control it, even though it’s painfully clear that paranormals like Elijah and psi like Mason are not bound by the same rules. Yet Elijah is inexplicably the key to Mason being able to control his ability. Not only that, but Mason’s ability to avoid getting a vision when he touches a storied article goes from zero before a Lewis/Cyrus flashback to 100 after that flashback. The same time skip happens when Mason and Elijah graduate from shyly admitting they are attracted to each other to full-on, totally consummated couple. I considered Mason and Elijah the main characters, but their first time being intimate is skipped in favor of getting to see Lewis and Cyrus—who I view as decidedly supporting characters—having their own intimacy. This treatment of the two timelines really felt like it unnecessarily muddied the waters about who the MCs in this book actually are.
Despite the frustrations I had with where the story focused the action, I thought it was very interesting how these two timelines do and do not mix. At first, it feels like this is a pretty cut-and-dry case where Mason and Elijah read a magical journal that details what was happening with Lewis and Cyrus almost 100 years ago. But then Mason realizes some of the people Lewis and Cyrus were interacting with are the same people in town that Elijah has been introducing Mason to. Mason has a slow awakening to the idea that there are a lot more people who have abilities than his family, and much different ones at that. And the longer Mason and Elijah spend together, reading a journal that catalogs the lives of previous residents of Mason’s uncle’s house, and cleaning up Lewis’ house, the more it becomes clear that there’s something strange going on at the house. Mason and Elijah begin to wonder if the house is haunted, though that idea can’t possibly hold water because they both know what it’s like to interact with a bona fide ghost. Still, there are strange things happening more often in the house and because no one who might actually know what’s going on (because it’s clear several people in town know exactly what is going on) will talk to Mason or Elijah, all they can do is go by their gut instinct: the house is safe, even if they sense other presences within the walls.
Overall, I think this book is an ambitious attempt at mixing several different paranormal tropes with romance. Personally, I found the overall effect a bit messy and unfocused. That said, this first book in the series is surely putting down the foundation for future books. I was disappointed how often the story shifts away from Mason and Elijah’s relationship and timeline, but I am interested to see where the series goes.