Crystal Gardens (Ladies of Lantern Street Series #1)

Crystal Gardens (Ladies of Lantern Street Series #1)

4.2 124
by Amanda Quick

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Evangeline Ames has rented a country cottage far from the London streets where she was recently attacked. Fascinated by the paranormal energy of nearby Crystal
Gardens, she finds pleasure in sneaking past the wall to explore the grounds. And when her life is threatened again, she instinctively goes to the gardens for safety.

Lucas Sebastian has never been one

…  See more details below


Evangeline Ames has rented a country cottage far from the London streets where she was recently attacked. Fascinated by the paranormal energy of nearby Crystal
Gardens, she finds pleasure in sneaking past the wall to explore the grounds. And when her life is threatened again, she instinctively goes to the gardens for safety.

Lucas Sebastian has never been one to ignore a lady in danger, even if she is trespassing on his property. Quickly disposing of her would-be assassin, he insists they keep the matter private. There are rumors enough already, about treasure buried under his garden, and occult botanical experiments performed by his uncle—who died of mysterious causes. With Evangeline’s skill for detection, and Lucas’s sense of the criminal mind, they soon discover that they have a common enemy. And as the energy emanating from Crystal Gardens intensifies, they realize that to survive they must unearth what has been buried for too long.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Romance and the paranormal are neatly entwined in late 19th century England in the opening of the new Ladies of Lantern Street series from the prolific Quick (Quicksilver). Sent to the country to recover from the trauma of a murder attempt, psychic investigator and novelist Evangeline Ames is pursued by a hired assassin onto the grounds of an ancient abbey, Crystal Gardens, which have become the focus of an unusual surge of paranormal energy. Rescued by the owner of the Gardens, Lucas Sebastian, who has arrived to investigate the sudden death of his reclusive uncle and the dangerously increasing power of the Gardens, Evangeline finds herself drawn not only to the various mysteries but to Lucas himself, possessor of a dark paranormal talent of his own. While not a standout, the occult elements provide an original twist to a competent mystery plot with a dash of gothic flair and a traditional romantic pairing for a pleasant tale that will satisfy fans of gaslight paranormals. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
A psychic spinster meets her match in a dark, equally gifted stranger, in Quick's Ladies of Lantern Street series launch. Evangeline, of good breeding but approaching 30 and penniless, is deemed unmarriageable by Victorian society, but luckily she has not had to enter service or support herself as a governess. She is a paid companion, but for a most exclusive and remunerative agency, Flint & Marsh, which deploys clairvoyants as private eyes to the moneyed classes. Undercover in her dowdy disguise, Evangeline recently completed her latest assignment: exposing as a fortune hunter a young man, Douglas, who was courting an heiress. However, Evangeline wasn't expecting Douglas to exact revenge. (The two were not unacquainted in the past.) When she's forced to use psychic power to immobilize him, resulting in his death, Flint & Marsh sends her to a country cottage to recuperate (where she can devote some time to writing the melodramatic novels which are her real passion, at least until her landlord, Lucas Sebastian, comes along). When a London thug, Hobson, breaks into the cottage, knife at the ready, Evangeline manages to escape to Crystal Gardens, the mansion newly purchased by Lucas. As Lucas and his hired man Stone deflect the threat by luring Hobson into a menacing maze of carnivorous greenery, Evangeline cannot deny the powerful pull Lucas exercises on her, in both the paranormal and sensual realms. All too soon, however, an invasion of his relatives dampens the budding romance, as Lucas and Evangeline try to contain their ardor long enough to solve several mysteries—e.g., who murdered the former master of Crystal Gardens, Lucas' Uncle Chester, a reputed madman whose botanical experiments have run amok in the gardens? Who hired Hobson to kill Evangeline? Is there really Roman treasure buried on the estate? These questions are overshadowed by the book's main focus: ensuring that the course of true love is strewn with as many obstacles, psychic and otherwise, as possible. Delivers all that Quick fans swoon over.
From the Publisher
“A compelling, very romantic tale made memorable by its historical paranormal foundation, clever plot twists and a hero and heroine you can’t help but love.”—USA Today

“Danger-rich, paranormal-spiced…an absolute delight.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Cannily plotted.” —The Seattle Times

“Well-written with engaging characters.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Filled with danger and intrigue.” —Midwest Book Review

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Product Details

Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
Ladies of Lantern Street Series, #1
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt


The mufled thud of the shattered lock echoed like a thunderclap in the deep silence that drenched the cottage. Evangeline Ames recognized the sound at once. She was no longer alone in the house.

Her first, primal instinct was to go absolutely still beneath the covers. Perhaps she was mistaken. The cottage was old. The floorboards and the ceiling often creaked and moaned at night. But even as the commonsense possibilities flitted through her head, she knew the truth. It was two o’clock in the morning, an intruder had broken in and it was highly unlikely that he was after the silver. There was not enough in the place to tempt a thief.

Her nerves had been on edge all afternoon, her intuition flickering and flaring for no obvious reason. Earlier, when she had walked into town, she had found herself looking over her shoulder again and again. She had flinched at the smallest rustling noises in the dense woods that bordered the narrow lane. While shopping in Little Dixby’s crowded high street the hair had lifted on the back of her neck. She had felt as if she was being watched.

She had reminded herself that she was still recovering from the terrifying attack two weeks ago. She had very nearly been murdered. Little wonder her nerves were so fragile. On top of that, the writing was not going well and a deadline was looming. She dared not miss it. She’d had every reason to be tense.

But now she knew the truth. Her psychical intuition had been trying to send a warning for hours. That was the reason she had been unable to sleep tonight.

Cool currents of night air wafted down the hall from the kitchen. Heavy footsteps sounded. The intruder was not even bothering to conceal his approach. He was very certain of his prey. She had to get out of the bed.

She pushed back the covers, sat up quietly and eased herself to her feet. The floorboards were chilly. She stepped into her sturdy, leather-soled slippers and took her wrapper down o? the hook.

The assault on her person two weeks earlier had made her cautious. She had considered all possible escape routes when she had rented the cottage. Here in the bedroom, the waist-high window was her best hope. It opened onto the small front garden with its lattice gate. Just outside the gate was the narrow, rutted lane that wound through the dense woods to the ancient country house known as Crystal Gardens.

Out in the hall a floorboard creaked under the weight of a booted foot. The intruder was moving directly to the bedroom. That settled the matter. He had not come for the silver. He had come for her.

There was no point trying to silence her movements. She pushed one of the narrow casement windows wide, ignoring the squeak of the hinges, and clambered through the opening. With luck the intruder would not be able to fit.

“Where do you think you’re going, you bloody stupid woman?” the harsh male voice roared from the doorway. It was freighted with the accents of London’s tough streets. “No one slips away from Sharpy Hobson’s blade.”

There was no time to wonder how a London street criminal had found his way to Little Dixby or why he was after her. She would worry about those questions later, she thought, if she survived the night.

She jumped to the ground and stumbled through the miniature jungle of giant ferns that choked the little garden. Many of the fronds were taller than she was.

To think she had come to the countryside to rest and recuperate from recent events.

“Bloody hell, come back here,” Hobson howled from the bedroom window. “Make things difficult, will ye? I’ll take my time with ye when I do catch you, just see if I don’t. You’ll die nice and slow, and that’s a promise. Bloody little bitch.”

A string of savage curses told her that Hobson was finding it impossible to squeeze through the casement window. A tiny whisper of hope swept through her when she did not hear the pounding of footsteps behind her. Hobson would be forced to use one of the two doors in the cottage. That meant she had a little breathing room, time enough, perhaps, to make it to the only possible sanctuary.

There was no escape through the woods that bordered the lane. The moon was nearly full but the heavy canopy of summer leaves blocked the silver light that should have dappled the forest floor. Even if she’d had a lantern, she would not have been able to make her way through the dense undergrowth. She knew just how impenetrable the vegetation in the vicinity of the old abbey was because she had attempted to explore it during the day. The trees and undergrowth around the ancient ruins flourished in what the locals whispered was an unnatural manner.

She found the graveled garden walk and flew down it, the hem of the wrapper flapping wildly. She paused long enough to unlatch the gate and then she was out in the moonlit lane, running for her life. She knew that Hobson would see her as soon as he emerged from the cottage.

Heavy footfalls thudded behind her.

“I have ye now, ye silly bitch. Ye’ll soon get a taste of Sharpy’s blade.”

She risked a quick glance over her shoulder and saw the dark figure bearing down on her. She would have screamed but there was no point wasting her breath. She ran harder, heart pounding.

The ancient stone walls that protected the vast grounds of Crystal Gardens appeared impregnable in the moonlight. She knew from previous explorations that the massive iron gate was locked.

There was no point trying to run the length of the long wall to the front door of the sprawling country house. There was no time. Hob-son was gaining on her. His footsteps were closer now. She could hear his harsh breathing, or perhaps it was her own labored gasps that she heard.

She reached the back wall of the ancient abbey and raced toward the mound of overgrown foliage that concealed the jagged hole in the stone barrier. She had discovered the opening a few days ago and had decided to indulge in some discreet exploration before the new owner had arrived to take up residence. She could not help herself. Her sense of curiosity was linked in some ways to her psychical talent and the mystery of Crystal Gardens had fascinated her from the start. It was the reason she had chosen to rent Fern Gate Cottage instead of one of the other properties available in the countryside around Little Dixby.

The fact that the rent on the cottage was considerably cheaper than it was for the other suitable lodgings in the area had also been a factor. But she had discovered soon enough why the little house was a bargain. The locals feared the abbey and the woods around it.

She slammed to a stop in front of the concealing foliage and pulled aside a curtain of cascading greenery. The jagged opening in the stone was about two feet above ground level. It was large enough for a person, even a man the size of Hobson, to squeeze through. But if he did pursue her onto the grounds she might have a chance.

She looked back one last time. Hobson had not yet rounded the corner of the wall but he would at any second. She could hear him—his thudding footsteps and his ragged breathing—but she could not yet see him. She had a few seconds.

She put one leg over the broken stone and then the other and then she was inside the grounds of Crystal Gardens.

She caught her breath, transfixed by the eerie scene that surrounded her. She had seen enough of the strange gardens by day to know that there was something bizarre about the energy inside the walls and that the vegetation was not normal. But at night the paranormal elements were unmistakable.

The foliage on the vast grounds glowed with an eerie luminescence. In the very center of the gardens where the ruins of an ancient Roman bath were said to be located, the psychical light was as dark and ominous as a violent storm at sea.

She knew from the guidebooks that she had purchased from Miss Witton, the proprietor of the bookshop in Little Dixby, that Crystal Gardens was divided into two sections. The outer region in which she stood was called the Day Garden on the maps. It surrounded the walls of an elaborate maze, which, in turn, encircled the interior portion of the grounds known as the Night Garden.

In the nearly two weeks that she had resided in Fern Gate Cottage she had not ventured much farther into the gardens than where she was tonight. But she had seen enough to know that the peculiar nature of the atmosphere inside the walls would provide her with her best chance of escaping Sharpy Hobson’s knife.

There was a steady stream of curses as Hobson yanked and clawed at the foliage.

“No little whore gets away with making Sharpy Hobson look the fool. I’ll teach you to show some respect, see if I don’t.”

She looked around, summoning up a mental image of the layout of the gardens. The maze was the obvious place to hide. Her talent would very likely ensure that she did not get lost inside. But on a prior expedition she had discovered that a locked gate blocked the entrance to the labyrinth.

She started toward the gazebo. The graceful domed roof and the pillars glowed with a faint blue light that seemed to emanate from the very stone of which it was constructed. She hurried but she did not run. She wanted Hobson to see her.

He finally scrambled through the hole in the wall, grunting and swearing. She stopped and looked back, wondering how much of the paranormal light he could perceive. There was a shocked silence as Hobson took in his surroundings.

“What the flamin’ hell?” he growled. He rubbed his eyes.

Then he saw her and promptly forgot about the strangely luminous landscape around him. He yanked a knife out of the leather sheath at his hip and lunged toward her.

“Thought you’d get away from me, did ye?” he growled.

She whirled back toward the gazebo. Her goal was the darkly gleaming pond in front of the structure. With luck Hobson would not be able to see it until it was too late. Her senses told her that if he tumbled into the gleaming black pool he would quickly lose interest in her. There was something nightmarish about those waters.

She was so focused on her plan to lure Hobson to the pond that she was unaware of the presence of the man in the long black coat until he walked out of the shadows and into the moonlight. He stopped directly in front of her, blocking her path.

“Is it the custom around here for visitors to call at such an unusual hour?” he asked.

His voice was as dark as the obsidian surface of the pond and charged with a similar chilling power. It stirred all of her senses. In the strange moon-and-energy-lit shadows it was difficult to make out the man’s face clearly but there was no need to see him. She recognized him immediately. Indeed, she thought, she would know him anywhere. Lucas Sebastian, the mysterious new owner of Crystal Gardens.

She stumbled to a halt, trapped between Lucas and Sharpy Hobson.

“Mr. Sebastian,” she said. She was breathless and her heart was pounding. She struggled to identify herself, afraid he would not recognize her in the darkness, dressed, as she was, in her wrapper and nightgown, her hair falling around her shoulders. They had met only the one time, after all. “Sorry to intrude like this. Evangeline Ames, your tenant at Fern Gate Cottage.”

“I know who you are, Miss Ames.”

“You did say to call upon you if I had a problem. As it happens, I do have one.”

“I can see that,” Lucas said.

Hobson pulled up short. He made a slashing motion with the knife. “Get out of my way and ye won’t get hurt. I just want the little whore.”

Lucas regarded him with what could only be described as detached curiosity. “You are trespassing. That is a very dangerous thing to do here at Crystal Gardens.”

“What’s going on in this place?” Hobson looked around uneasily.

“Haven’t you heard the stories?” Lucas asked. “Everyone around here knows that these grounds are haunted.”

“Sharpy Hobson ain’t afraid of no ghosts,” Hobson vowed. “Won’t be hanging around long enough to meet one. All I want is this bitch.”

“What do you want with Miss Ames?” Lucas asked.

Evangeline was floored by Lucas’s matter-of-fact tone. It was as if he was only casually interested in Hobson’s reasoning.

“None of yer bloody business,” Hobson snarled. “But I can tell ye she’s worth a nice bit of blunt dead and I’m not going to let anyone get in my way.”

“You don’t seem to comprehend the situation,” Lucas said. “The lady is my tenant and therefore under my protection.” Hobson snorted. “I’m doing you a favor taking her o? your hands. The way I heard it, she’s a lying little bitch.”

“Someone hired you to kill her?” Lucas asked.

Hobson was starting to appear uncertain. Matters were evidently not proceeding the way they usually did when he went about his business.

“I’m not wasting any more time talking to you.” Hobson leaped toward Lucas, knife ready to slash. “Yer a dead man.”

“Not quite,” Lucas said.

Energy, dark and terrifying, flashed in the atmosphere. Evangeline had just time enough time to realize that Lucas was somehow generating it and then Hobson was shrieking with raw, mindless panic.

“No, get away from me,” he shouted. He dropped the knife and clawed at something only he could see. “Get away.”

He whirled and fled blindly into the gardens.

“Damn it to hell,” Lucas said quietly. “Stone?”

A second figure glided out of the shadows. “Here, sir.”

The voice sounded as though it emanated from the depths of a vast underground cavern and, like Sharpy Hobson’s voice, it carried the accents of the London streets.

In the strange light provided by the subtly glowing foliage Evangeline could see that Stone suited his name. He was constructed like some ancient granite monolith and looked as if he would be just as impervious to the elements. The moonlight gleamed on his shaved head. The shadows and the eerie luminescence around them made it difficult to estimate his age but he appeared to be in his early twenties.

“See if you can grab Hobson before he blunders into the maze,” Lucas said. “Whatever you do, don’t try to follow him if he gets that far.”

“Yes, sir.”

Stone broke into a run, moving with a surprising lack of noise for such a large man.

Lucas turned back to Evangeline. “Are you all right, Miss Ames?”

“Yes, I think so.” She was still trying to calm her rattled senses and rapid pulse. “I don’t know how to thank you.”

A high-pitched, keening scream echoed from somewhere deep in the gardens. The unearthly cry iced Evangeline’s nerves. She stilled, unable to breathe.

It ended with horrifying suddenness. Evangeline was shivering so violently it was all she could do to remain on her feet.

“Sharpy Hobson,” she whispered.

“Evidently Stone did not get to him in time to prevent him from entering the maze,” Lucas said.

“Is he—?” She swallowed and tried again. “Is he dead?”

“Hobson? Probably or he soon will be. It’s unfortunate.”

“Unfortunate?” she managed. “That’s all you can say about the man’s death?”

“I would like to have questioned him. But as that does not seem likely to happen, you and I will talk, instead.”

She tried to compose herself. “Mr. Sebastian, I’m not at all sure what to say.”

“There will be nothing complicated about our conversation, Miss Ames. You will come inside with me now. I will pour you a glass of medicinal brandy for your nerves and you will tell me what you are doing here in my gardens at this hour of the night and why a man with a knife was trying to murder you.”

“But that’s what I’m trying to tell you. I have no idea why Hobson attacked me.”

“Then we must reason it out together.”

He shrugged o? his coat and draped it around her shoulders before she could summon up further protest. When his fingers brushed the nape of her neck a thrill of awareness stirred her senses. The heavy wool garment was still warm from the heat of his body. She caught a trace of his masculine scent. It caused her senses to flare in a way that she had never before experienced.

Stone appeared. “Sorry, sir. He saw the open gate and ran straight inside. Probably assumed it was a way out of the gardens.” “I’ll deal with the body later,” Lucas said. “I wish to speak to Miss Ames first and then I will escort her back to the cottage.”

“Yes, sir. Will you be needing anything else?”

“Not at the moment.”

“Yes, sir.”

Stone moved into the shadows. Evangeline watched him disappear. She was starting to wonder if she was caught up in some bizarre dream. Perhaps she was hallucinating. It was not beyond the realm of possibility, she thought. Her employers and her friends were convinced that her nerves had been badly strained by the attack two weeks earlier. Perhaps they were right.

Lucas’s powerful hand closed around her arm. The shock of the physical contact made her flinch. Her talent was still flaring wildly and it was linked to her sense of touch. She could perceive Lucas’s aura now quite clearly. The fierce bands of ice-and-fire energy took her breath.

“Relax, Miss Ames,” he said. “I will not hurt you.”

There was nothing in his aura to indicate that he was lying. She was safe enough, she decided, at least for the moment. She pulled herself together and lowered her tpsychical senses.

“This way, Miss Ames.” He steered her around a large bush. “Watch your step. There are a number of hazards on the grounds, including those roses.”

The power she had glimpsed in Lucas’s aura warned her that he was probably a good deal more dangerous than anything in his strange gardens.

Sharpy Hobson had stopped screaming but she knew that she would hear the echoes of his last, horrifled cries in her nightmares for a long time to come.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“A compelling, very romantic tale made memorable by its historical paranormal foundation, clever plot twists and a hero and heroine you can’t help but love.”—USA Today

“Danger-rich, paranormal-spiced…an absolute delight.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Cannily plotted.” —The Seattle Times

“Well-written with engaging characters.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Filled with danger and intrigue.” —Midwest Book Review

Customer Reviews

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Crystal Gardens 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 124 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, but the nook version is missing lines at the bottom of a lot of pages. This is very aggravating!! I would have given it a higher rating if not for that.
lanlynk More than 1 year ago
Paranormal suspense romance. Great read. The interaction between the male and female leads is good. Just enough humor to keep the story on the light side, but plenty of adventure and mystery too. The plot was well-constructed, the story and relationships detailed. Yes, there's a measure of predictability, but I read this author because I can rely on her style and characterization. I'm looking forward to the sequels. In repsonse to another review here: My Nook copy did not have any issues; there were no lines missing at all.
SharonRedfern More than 1 year ago
Evangeline Ames wakes up to the certainty that someone is breaking into her house and it quickly becomes apparent that it is not just a random burglary and she is in danger. Evangeline is forced to leave the cottage she is renting and try to get help from her landlord who lives in the estate next door, Crystal Gardens. Once on the property she is startled to find him and his manservant out on the property. The estate is an eerie setting suffused with paranormal energy and the burglar soon meets an unfortunate end in the strange maze situated in Crystal Gardens. Lucas Sebastian is the owner of the Gardens, having inherited from his uncle Chester. Lucas believes his uncle was murdered and has come to the estate to investigate. He and Evangeline make an instant connection on many levels. Evangeline has come to the village to recuperate after being attacked by a male acquaintance. Lucas recognizes that she has paranormal abilities as he does and they both work to help victims of criminal activities. This first night begins a story of attempted murder, treasure hunting and an unusual romance. Add three investigating women, curious siblings, a garden full of dangerous, possibly man eating plants, and you have a page turner in this book. I have to mention that the mysterious pools on the estate are HOT in more ways than one! Having read all of the Arcane Society series and subsequent books, I enjoy the fact that this new trilogy continues the paranormal theme. Lucas and Evangeline have abilities that they can’t categorize but know are real. Lucas has despaired of ever finding a woman who would be able to live with his abilities. Evangeline has been betrayed by love before and keeps men at a distance. Their abilities are a common bond that helps cement the relationship. Ms. Quick does a great job incorporating elements from earlier books that have been discovered and investigated by Arcane and others and placing them in this story as new and unexplainable. An example is a paranormal infused lantern and crystals that are a mystery to Lucas and Evangeline. She has also made the Crystal Gardens themselves a character in the story with a life of its own. The characters from the next two books make an appearance and whet the reader’s appetite for the next story. I for one can’t wait.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you were missing lines, it is because you do not have it set on Publisher' s Default Settings. When you have the font on your personal preference setting, it cuts off lines sometimes. Don't know why, but wanted everyone to know how to fix it. GREAT BOOK! BUY IT!
lovetoreadAR More than 1 year ago
Really liked this, what I'm assuming is another installment of the Arcane Society series, the Lantern Lane ladies. The characters were very emotionally and developmentally rich as always. And I did love the introduction of a sort of J&J organization back in the day with a twist. Evie and her friends were so interesting, and I liked the idea of female agents and undercover work, with that touch of psy talent. And Lucas, the ever charming darkly powerful figure. Troubled, strong, loyal and loving. The clash of wills was fun, I love reading as they bandy wills back and forth, but of course each knowing they're done for. They supply each other a much needed peace and solve mysteries that have preyed on them both. And we visit again the other talents and find out more of how things in the future series play out. Plant energy and even water energy, what dull crystals really mean power wise and what they seem to be able to do, and why does glass seem to dampen it? The science, the romance, the adventure, everything is there rolled into a very exciting and enjoyable package. I was particularly touched by what Lucas did for his stepmother and how Evie just knew. They aren't just connected, it's as if they can read each other's thoughts and hearts. Another great book by the author to add to my collection of favorites.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading all of the Arcane and Harmony novels, this one seemed to try to do too much. The characters' paranormal abilities were a compilation of so many previous characters and why no mention of the Jones' or Arcane Society? If I had no previous knowledge of the other books, this would have been more enjoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome author to be sure. I promise you will be sucked in to the paranormal world before you blink twice. Most fasinating mystery writings i have ever read asolutly excited to see where Jayne Ann kreazt takes us next dont forget tofine her on facebook . One of very few authors that take time to spend with her fans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is not the best book ive read by this author. It seemed like so much of it was rushed or assumed. The possession of talents just seemed ho hum. Everyone has them. No big deal. It also seemed like these talents were a lot more omnipotent than in her other books. The characters seemed to be able to do whatever they wanted with no ill effects. Overall the book was entertaining. I love this authors use of the paranormal and romance. I just wanted more time spent developing the story. It was a very busy book.
Phyllis_L More than 1 year ago
It was a good read, for the most part. It felt like it could have been smoothed out some and the bits of backstory woven in more effectively along with the various clues and themes and so on. Not the best Quick I've read, but fun and engrossing nonetheless.
LelRaven More than 1 year ago
Good book but not my favorite of Quick's. The lack of connection to Arcane when placed in seemingly the same era and world is slightly annoying but can be overlooked. I would be interested in more books covering the women of the agency Evangeline works for, especially if a connection to Arcane is developed. My Nook book had nothing missing.
kimba88 More than 1 year ago
Crystal Gardens is the first in a new trilogy by Amanda Quick called the Ladies of Lantern Street. It’s a historical romance laced with paranormal elements. Quick delivers an action packed novel with characters that I quickly came to love. Filled with suspense, mystery, paranormal ability and a swoon worthy hero I was quickly swept up in the story. The tale begins with protagonist Evangeline Ames. She is writer and ladies companion who has taken time off to explore the paranormal energy surrounding Crystal Gardens after she was attacked in London. When someone breaks into the cottage at night she instinctively runs to the Crystal Gardens estate and runs smack dab into swoon-worthy Lucas Sebastian. His uncle has recently passed and he believes foul play was involved. He and his trusted employee Stone are now residing in the home. The gardens are a dangerous place and Lucas has his hands full with his uncle’s botanical experiments. The tale that unfolds was typical Quick and while familiar it captivated me none the less. Lucas Sebastian is a dark man who makes people uncomfortable. He has a strong psychical talent that he must constantly keep in check. While people fear him, Evangeline sees the hero under the wolf’s clothing. While he can behave like a boar, Evangeline begins to soften him. I found Evangeline to be delightful, witty and intelligent. She is a fictional romance writer, with absolutely no romantic experience beyond a kiss or too, so you can imagine the fun in that. We meet her best friends and the other ladies of Lantern Street when they come to visit. The three of them conversing had me giggling. We learn there is much more to these ladies. There were other characters that rounded out the cast and made the plot interesting. The plot contains mystery, suspense, romance and a healthy dose of paranormal. While it isn’t original fans of Quick are sure to enjoy it. We have the mysterious death of Lucas’s uncle and someone is trying to murder Evangeline. Putting all the pieces of the puzzle together was fun and I enjoyed the ride. Throw in a lost treasure, some colorful characters and a well paced story-line and I was highly entertained. The romance between Lucas and Evangeline was hot. From the moment they encountered each other the tension and electrical current running between them was obvious even to an outsider. Evangeline decided to base her hero in her novel on Lucas and considers a romantic tryst with Lucas to conduct research. She sees herself outside of his social circle and cannot imagine anything beyond that. She may lose her heart but she will have the memories. Lucas has other plans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not her best, but still an entertaining read. I enjoyed this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoy all her books. I read all her books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved The book when is the next one coming out
Masquerader888 More than 1 year ago
Another Thrilling Ride by Amanda Quick When I am looking for a good read, and a story that will delight, entertain and is guaranteed to have a happy ending I know I can never go wrong with Amanda Quick (AKA Jayne Ann Krentz). Crystal Gardens introduces us to the Ladies of Lantern Street trilogy; expertly blending romance, mystery and the paranormal into a thrilling and heartwarming tale of love, murder and wits against a gothic background. This book was a fun read that introduced strong characters, incorporated an intriguing plot, and set the scene for the next two books with brilliant ease. I loved getting to know the two main characters in this book. Connected from the first chapter, I enjoyed seeing their relationship grow and bloom throughout their adventure. Lucas, a dark and mysterious character, was a great and stalwart hero and I enjoyed seeing both his intelligence and his honor woven through this work. Evangeline showed both spunk and determination, I found her a fascinating female…blending and balancing her chosen vocation with her gifts, she was fun to watch though out this tale. The setting on this book, incorporating both botany and the paranormal, imbued it with an ambiance that was truly unique. Adding more dimension to a tried-and-true romance plot, it expanded the scope of the story, taking on a life of its own. All in all it was another wonderful book by Ms. Quick to which I give a very happy four stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fast moving, interesting plot with a few surprize twists.
BeachRead245 More than 1 year ago
Thank you to Lydia Hirt and Amanda Quick for the privilege to review this great book. This book will start off the International Chick Lit Month for 2012. Synopsis: Evangeline Ames came to Little Dixby for rest and relaxation so she could focus on her writing career. She is taking a break from her regular job as a paid companion working for the Lantern Street Agency. Little did she know that her life would be in danger from a previous case. Lucas Sebastian has also come to Little Dixby on a different matter to investigate the death of his uncle Chester. They become involved in an investigation in a case of murder and attempted murder. Will Lucas accept the help of Ms. Ames and her associates? There is also this garden that has supernatural energy that hides many secrets. Can Lucas untangle the secrets of the garden? My Thoughts: I am not usually a fan of the paranormal genre. I felt this book was well written. The novel was easy to read. The plot was great! I felt it had a lot of good twists and turns. This story did not have the typical period restrictions that are often focused on women. The only problem with this novel is the slow part in the beginning of the story. The setting of this novel is Victorian England era. I thought this setting was an interesting choice. In this time period, if you did not get a husband then you were considered a spinster. Then there was also less no opportunities for employment other than as a governess or paid companion. The fact that the paid companion was often in the background lends itself to the plot of a woman being an able investigator. I feel that it is quite possible for a woman to also be an investigator. I wonder where this series will go? The Crystal Gardens is the first novel in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read
samsontinker More than 1 year ago
Fun story, quick paced, and wonderfully told
goldieinaz 9 months ago
As usual, Amanda Quick proves to be a great author. Loved the story line and the characters. Highly recommend this book.
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