The Barnes & Noble Review
Jayne Ann Krentz, writing as Amanda Quick, spins an exciting historical romantic thriller set late in the reign of Queen Victoria. It stars Venetia, a young spinster, down on her luck but nonetheless determined to engineer her own future as a photographer -- and her own ravishment. She decides on Gideon Jones, who supervises the treasures of Arcane House, a secretive organization. The interlude goes well -- so well, she is distressed to learn, that he has died. Venetia establishes a photographic practice in London as a widow under the name of Mrs. Jones; then her "husband" turns up, looking remarkably well.
Quick is clearly having a great time here, as she balances the awkwardness of Gideon's resurfacing against the new romance of a supposedly married couple and the watchful eyes of the Polite World -- and a plot to kill anyone remotely connected to the mysteries of Arcane House. Ginger Curwen
Writing as Amanda Quick (Lie by Moonlight, etc.), Jayne Ann Krentz offers another spirited Victorian romance, light on Victorian, heavy on romance. Photographer Venetia Milton supports her brother, sister and maiden aunt while keeping secrets: her late father's bigamy, her paranormal gift for seeing people's auras ("like looking at a negative image of the world") and her more-than-willing ravishment by client Gabriel Jones. Heir to a generations-old clandestine association of alchemists, scientists and dabblers in psychic phenomena, Gabriel has a few secrets of his own. After his servants report his death to authorities to confound his enemies, grieving Venetia begins posing as his widow, with Gabriel soon showing up on her doorstep very much alive. Miffed, she consigns him to the attic, but their chemistry quickly reignites; while tracking down one murderous, blackmailing thief after another, they steal opportunities for fervent encounters in the garden, in the carriage, in the society's mansion and at home. But the evildoers still want Gabriel's family secrets-and now they want Venetia as well. Women masquerade as men and criminals masquerade as aristocrats in a society so full of disguise that not even second sight provides much protection. But with Quick's stylish dialogue, compelling secondary characters and near-operatic denouement, fans won't need or want it. (May 9) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Venetia Milton is an extraordinary photographer because she has some extraordinary senses. But unmarried women cannot go into business in society, so Venetia concocts both a marriage and a widowhood to Gabriel Jones, her one-time lover. Rumors of his demise are greatly exaggerated, however, which brings a whole new set of complications to Venetia's life. Anne Flosnik skillfully narrates this historical romance; her voice is deep enough to make Gabriel clearly male, with all the strength and fortitude that implies, but light enough that Venetia is definitely a young woman, capable but bound by societal strictures. Flosnik's range of British accents complements the characters nicely, from housekeepers and tradesmen to members of the upper class. She handles the earnestness of children with sweet innocence, and the villains, if not obvious, are certainly not sympathetic. A typical Quick novel that is only enhanced by Flosnik's reading.-Jodi L. Israel, MLS, Salt Lake City Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Quick (Lie by Moonlight, 2005, etc.) takes us to the waning days of Queen Victoria's reign, adding some clever feminist touches and a dollop of premarital sex. The theft of a notebook from the newly discovered, 200-year-old laboratory of Sylvester the Alchemist lies at the heart of this nimble historical romance. After the theft, Gabriel Jones, a member of the Arcane Society founded by Sylvester, transports his other relics to the society's isolated headquarters for safekeeping. Comely photographer Venetia Milton is invited to Arcane House to record the top-secret objects, and handsome Gabriel seems the perfect partner for her private plan to rid herself of her virginity without jeopardizing her social standing in Bath. A spirited virgin in her late 20s (and she's psychic too!), Venetia has no hopes of marrying, charged as she is with supporting her siblings after the death of their parents. She has no problem seducing Gabriel, but he fully intends to marry her, in order to tame an atavistic brutality he's afraid he harbors. Some menacing thugs lurking in the bushes outside Arcane House temporarily separate this unlikely pair; whoever stole the notebook is also a killer, and in order to elude him, Gabriel goes underground, faking his own death. He hadn't counted on Venetia taking advantage of this death to claim status as his widow and becoming a hit in London as a portrait photographer. Things turn sticky when Gabriel re-materializes, and the couple has to make awkward appearances together as man and wife. As part of this cozy ruse, Gabriel is installed in the attic of the Milton residence, thereby ensuring the acquaintances of Venetia's 16-year-old sister Amelia, winning younger brotherEdward and well-intentioned Aunt Beatrice. Polished, proficient romantic suspense.
Praise for Second Sight
“Clever dialog, well-handled paranormal elements, and an intriguing plot merge with Quick’s lively wit in this thoroughly entertaining romance.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“A clever and entertaining tale about secrets...With her witty dialogue, multidimensional characters complete with eccentricities and psychic abilities, clever plotting, and generous humor, the perennially popular Quick has penned another surefire winner.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Polished, proficient romantic suspense.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Delightful Victorian romantic suspense with a touch of the paranormal...a quick-paced fun thriller.”—Midwest Book Review
“It doesn’t take ‘psychical abilities’ to see this one’s a winner...Second Sight is the opening book in the ‘Arcane Society’ series, and if it’s any indication of what’s to come, the series may be one of Quick’s best.”—The State (Columbia, SC)