The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Pride and Prejudice, with a dash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
New York City, 1882. Seventeen-year-old Natalie Stewart's latest obsession is a painting of the handsome British Lord Denbury. Something in his striking blue eyes calls to her. As his incredibly life-like gaze seems to follow her, Natalie gets the uneasy feeling that details of the painting keep changing...
Jonathan Denbury's soul is trapped in the gilded painting by dark magic while his possessed body commits unspeakable crimes in the city slums. He must lure Natalie into the painting, for only together can they reverse the curse and free his damaged soul.
I have long been in love with Ms. Hieber's work, ever since I got to pet the ARC of her first novel. I have also gotten to meet this wonderful author in person a few times and Ms. Heiber is nothing less than sparkling. Sorry, I just really heart her. Anyway, on with the book.
The Goodreads synopsis says "The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Pride and Prejudice, with a dash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." I read Pride and Prejudice; I have long been in love with the debauched Dorian Gray, and the only contact I have had with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are the Beth Fantasky books and the movie The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
I can see the pieces of each novel in her work and even in some areas Ms. Hieber's novel feels like a tribute to these great classics, most especially Dorian Gray (who is one of my all time favorite characters). I loved the tribute factor in this book most of all. It felt a lot like the tribute factor in Northanger Abbey, not as clumbsy but still heartbreakingly beautiful.
Let's get into the characters. I adored Lord Denbury. He has a major role but he doesn't get a lot of action in terms of how much action Natalie gets throughout the book. I know it was hard for him to watch her be in harm's way but I loved that she is the front runner to saving HIM. Nice mix-up. I also adore Natalie she is a strong young women and a perfect role model to every young women who needs the strength to figure out who they are.
Some of the best parts of the book were the fact that it is written in journal style (there is word for it, I will look it up when I have access to a proper working computer). I felt a more intimate connection with Natalie through her journal. I loved the fact that Ms. Hieber gives us plenty for a sequel but doesn't leave us on a cliffhanger. I adored every bit of this novel and can't wait for the next one.
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