This is a new series for Amanda Quick and although the Arcane Society is not part of the storyline, it is easily a spinoff since the theme surrounds deep psychical powers of the Ladies of Lantern Street in Victorian era. If you're not a fan of Ms. Quick's arcane stories then this is not for you. If you do enjoy them, this story is one of Ms. Quick's better efforts and tells an enhchanting story with a decent mystery, light danger, and sweet and sensual romance, but through it all, it is very much like the rest of her novels.
Evangeline Ames has powerful psychic talents and works for an exclusive firm, Flint and Marsh, on Lantern Street, where she is hired out as a private investigator under the ruse of being a paid companion. She also dabbles on the side as an author writing serial romantic suspense stories. Many of the ton hire out her services to ensure their daughters are not being courted by fortune hunters and Evie is very good at her job, except her last assignment almost got her killed. Taking a break to spend more time on her writing, Evie rents a cottage in the country to get away from all the stress, only to find herself the target of another attempt on her life. As she flees from a killer, she runs to the mystical Crystal Gardens neighboring her cottage and straight into the enigmatic Lucas Sebastian.
Lucas Sebastian is a very misunderstood gentleman of the ton who carries a deep dark power. He's recently inherited his uncle's country estate and the enchanted gardens that go with it. Suspecting that his uncle's death was not merely a heart attack, Lucas moves to the Crystal Gardens to try and catch a killer, but he gets more than he bargained for when he meets Evangeline and realizes her life is in danger.
For the record, I gave the story 4 stars because I did, in fact, like it and if you're new to Amanda Quick, she's an excellent story teller with sensual romance and witty dialogue. Evangeline and Lucas are a great pair and have some really nice chemistry and work well together to take on murder, mystery and the most challenging of all, family matters. Lucas is one of her best written heroes in a while, but if you've read all of her books like I have, then you'll find they are all so similar that it's hard to distinguish one from the other. Rich, powerful hero who has a history of madness in the bloodline, check, adorably naive spinster heroine who's curious about passion, check. It's one thing when an author is churning out paperbacks, but these are annual releases at published prices over $25 and quite frankly, as much as I love her stories, it's not worth the value. If you can borrow this from a friend or the library, you won't be disappointed, but I wouldn't throw this into the pre-order pile and I can't see myself rereading it either.