Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Restorer (Graveyard Queen #1) by Amanda Stevens

I was lucky enough to win a signed copy of Amanda Stevens' book, The Restorer, and the luck just continued when she also sent me a signed copy of the sequel, The Kingdom.  I have wanted to read these books for a while now so I jumped at the chance to read them when they came in the mail.  Here's the cover and Goodreads blurb:

My name is Amelia Gray. I'm a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I've always held fast to the rules passed down from my father. But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.It started with the discovery of a young woman's brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I've been hired to restore. The clues to the killer--and to his other victims--lie in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret. Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy. To warn him would be to invite them into my life. I've vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next.
This book was not at all what I was expected.  I wish that I could be a cemetery restorer.  There is a hands on class in headstone restoration that is offered every couple of years and I really want to take it.  My husband has ancestors in a local graveyard that was restored in the 1970s but is once again falling into disrepair.  I want nothing more than to keep the cemetery in immaculate condition for not only my husband but for my children.  I've always loved cemeteries.  They are so calm and peaceful.  You can learn so much from the lives of all of those buried there.  The monuments and plantings are not only gorgeous but they tell a story.  My husband's great great great grandmother died young, leaving small children alone with her husband.  Great great great grandfather put only two thins on her headstone: his nickname for her, Dollie, and I love you.  His grief was so great that he sent the children to be raised by relatives and he never married again.  He died in the state home after losing his mind to senile dementia.  It's a sad story but also a love story for the ages.  Cemeteries aren't just places where we bury our dead but where we can learn from their lives.  Amelia Gray is a woman after my own heart.  She also loves the quiet and the peace that one can find in a graveyard.  She's brave and interesting.  I just love Amelia.  John Devlin is interesting because he is such a mystery.  Why is he haunted?  What is Amelia going to do about him?  What SHOULD she do about him?  The mystery in this book is great because the reader is kept guessing right up until the end.  I hate a mystery that has little mystery as you can see the ending from a mile away.  All in all, this book was epic and will remain one of my all time favorites.

You can find out more about Amanda Stevens and her work on her website, on Twitter, on Facebook and on the Graveyard Queen website.  You can click here to add the Graveyard Queen series to your Goodreads.  I give this book 5 Fairies for an amazing read that made my love of cemeteries even stronger, a feat my husband had not thought possible!

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