REVIEW by Dolly: Crystal Gardens by Amanda Quick – Release Date 4/24/12 (@Fidget78)

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.

Oh the joy of being a book blogger.  Jena was lucky enough to get an ARC of Crystal Gardens by Amanda Quick and tweetheart that she is, she sent it to me.  Jayne Ann Krentz with all her pseudonyms is one of my favorite authors.  Her books are interesting, different and in my opinion funny.

Crystal Gardens is the beginning of a trilogy, A Ladies of the Lantern Street Novel.  Writing this novel as Amanda Quick means the time period is in the past, and one of the few historical paranormal authors I read.  New readers to Amanda Quick might think her books are too quirky and weird.  Old timers like me would do just about anything to get their hands on one of her novels.  It amazes me that Ms Quick can switch up the time periods in her novels without compromising the characters and the storyline.
Evangeline Ames is a paid professional companion who is hiding out in the countryside after she was attacked in London.  Her attacker, well, I can’t go there without spoilers, sorry.  Evie is fascinated by the paranormal and rents a cottage close to Crystal Gardens.  She continually sneaks into the Gardens to study them.  Thank goodness she does because another murder attempt sends her fleeing into the Gardens for safety.  Much to her surprise and relief, she meets her landlord, Lucas Sebastian roaming the grounds.  Lucas and his man send the attacker fleeing into the maze of the Garden.  The Sebastian family has a history of being “different”.  And that’s all I’m going to say on that.
Amanda Quick has a gift for writing strong female leads even in the time period of ladylike correctness.  Her heroines are smart, likable and just a bit naughty.  The love interest is usually smart, intriguing, and somewhat alpha, but not overpowering.  The mystery of her novels is not a deep dark secret from the reader.  Usually you can figure out the villain but reading how the villain is caught is part of the fun of the books.  The conversation and interaction is the other good part.  The novel moves along at a good pace with some family angst thrown in for tension.
Now, I’ve gone back and read some of the other reviews to see if I missed something or need to address anything.  Here’s my take.  Ms Quick has a tendency to reuse certain words in her novels; that may irritate some new readers.  If you’ve read her previous works, it’s something you come to expect.  That’s her quirky side.  As a fan of Ms Quick, I just accept it and move on.  It has no bearing on the storyline.  It’s a trademark so to speak.
This is by no means my favorite novel but it did just what I expected it to.  It kept me entertained and provided many smiles.  I’m looking forward to the next two installments.
My rating:  4 Stars 
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