Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Review of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by L.R. Hieber


The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber

I love reading the unexpected. I love reading something that is beautifully written. And, I love funky paranormal business. This book, which is beautifully, beautifully written, totally unlike anything else I have ever read, and chock full of great paranormal scenes, is a unique addition to the world of "historical paranormal gothic romance"? Not exactly sure how to categorize this baby, especially since I think the romance in this book is probably the weakest part.

Let's start with the good stuff. Leanna Renee Hieber (tres romantic name, n'est-ce pas?) can write with the big boys. Her voice is lovely, her prose is excellent. I don't remember the last time I read something so well written. Bravo, Ms. Hieber! She does a remarkably good job building the suspense in this book, as well as weaving the paranormal aspect into the story line. Percy Parker, an albino cast-off from a convent, is a one-of-a-kind heroine, truly unique. But it felt as if she spent most of the book in a muddle, confused about who she is, what she is supposed to do, what her visions really mean, etc. etc. Right up to the last page she is still confused. Professor Alexi Rychman is the ultimate gothic hero, complete with sweeping black cape. Hieber's imagery describing her hero is excellent! Dark, brooding, intense. Awesome! His band of cohorts has a nice chemistry, and they are definitely intriguing.

Unfortunately, Percy and Alexi's relationship creeped me out a little bit. She is only 18/19 years old, and his student. Their "love" felt more like a teenage infatuation on her part, and a strange, unexpected fascination on his part. The few times they kiss (and when Alexi is struggling with a physical attraction to her) were the only times in the book I felt the narrative became strained and awkward. Their "love" worked better on a metaphysical level.

My biggest concern with the book was the "black" moment of Percy and Alexi's relationship, and its resolution. Alexi is horribly cruel to Percy, and she is devastated beyond belief. After all this intense melodrama and the subsequent over-the-top paranormal climax, Percy regains consciousness and forgives him so easily, it's fairly ridiculous. A few lines of dialogue and they are professing their love for each other. Oh well!

I wanted to post a snippet from one of my favorite scenes, when Percy is dancing in Alexi's office to Mozart's Requiem, with the ghosts surrounding her...

"Like a butterfly shedding its chrysalis, Percy tossed her shawl, glasses and gloves upon the desk and abandoned herself, as the spirits did, to the music, sharing a bond with them that went beyond colouration. Her skirts spun out around her." Love that simile!!!!

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker is strange, and beautiful, and a breath of fresh air in the romance industry. I am looking forward to reading more of Leanna Hieber's work. Grade: B+

Penelope

10 comments:

Fiction Vixen said...

This is not a book that would normally appeal to me but I've so many good things I think I may give it a try. Nice review. :)

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Ooooo nice review. I have this one waiting for me :)

Penelope said...

Hi FV! I'm surprised so many people liked this one...it is definitely not your ordinary romance novel. I love quirky stories, so it was right up my alley!

Penelope said...

Hey Juju...enjoy!

Smokinhotbooks said...

I could go one for hours on how much I loved this book. I didn't find the relationship creepy, probably b/c I was able to transfer myself into that time period and women in that time period married a lot younger then today.

Percy was a character that really stuck with me. I usually don't read gothic historical romances but I so enjoyed this story.

Great Review your scene pick makes me want to re-read this book again!

Penelope said...

Hey Smokin! I have actually read other books with a very young heroine and older hero which did not bother me, mostly because the heroine seemed mature for her age. Unfortunately, Percy seemed quite naive, innocent, and definitely infatuated with the professor. That's what made me a little uncomfortable. But I did think that the way their relationship unfolded through their "lessons" in his office was sweet. And I loved the scene when they waltzed together...that was lovely and romantic!

Amy said...

I've had this on my TBR for a while. Might be time to get to it... :-)

Penelope said...

Hi Amy! It is definitely worth checking out. Happy Reading!

lydia Storm said...

This sounds right up my alley! More books for the night stand...

Penelope said...

Hi Lydia...I think you will love this book. It has a lot of "atmosphere" just like your book!