Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

Darker Still is basically a love story between a girl and a painting. Also, the girl is mute. Also, there's a man trapped in the painting. Also, the mute girl gets sucked in the painting and visits the man. And while inside the painting, she can talk.

So, it's all a little bit weird. Natalie Stewart, the mute girl in question, narrates the story. She's incredibly sharp and witty. Being both a woman and unable to speak puts her at an extreme disadvantage for the time (1882). Natalie doesn't let anyone treat her poorly because of it, and she has a loving father who gave her the best education he could afford. Natalie becomes obsessed with the painting of Lord Denbury. He was a young man who simply vanished. Rumors circulate that the painting is haunted, and spiritualism being all the rage, Natalie's father acquires it for his museum.

Now, for more weird stuff. Natalie sees Lord Denbury in real life outside of the painting. He looks different somehow, wicked. Lord Denbury the painting tells her that whomever trapped him is wearing his body and using it to copycat Jack the Ripper. Natalie and Lord Denbury must work with her spiritualist friend Evelyn Northe to free him from his prison.

Darker Still was a fun gothic story. It's a nice change of pace to read about a character from the Victorian Age, and my thesis (For lack of a better word) was on spiritualism. As I already said, Natalie was a great narrator, and I like her spirit. She talks about pranks she would pull at school and how handsome some coworker of her father's is. She even pities the fact that he is engaged to some blind girl who can't appreciate his handsomeness. I'm definitely interested in seeing where a continuation of this book would go. I received a copy of Darker Still from Netgalley. It's available now.

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