Just three years ago, Jennifer St. Giles was a welcome breath of fresh air with her American-set historical romances featuring classic Gothic overtones. My oh my, how the mighty have fallen.
So, just how do you take a good thing and pretty much ruin it in three short years? First of all, you move the setting to Victorian England. Secondly, you turn her Gothics into paranormals (and, oh, how I am growing to loathe that word). Third, you write a series starring three sisters, each with her own super-cool paranormal (and, oh, how I am growing to loathe that word) ability. And, just to make super-duper certain all your marketing bases are covered, you give those three sisters super-cool names: Cassiopeia, Andromeda, and Gemini.
About the only hold over from the Jennifer St. Giles I once enjoyed so much is the fact that this story is also told in first person. But, instead of the mature women who were our narrators and stars in her first two books, Gemini is an immature 19 year-old who, to put it succinctly, isn’t very interesting unless you’re also 19 or also immature.
And just what is Gemini’s paranormal (and, oh, how I am growing to loathe that word) ability? In the words of Dave Barry, I am not making this up, but she sees dead people. Really.
Gemini becomes convinced she can aid in the capture of a man St. Giles clearly wants us to connect to Jack the Ripper, so she stows away (yes, really) on the ship of the super-cool hottie for whom she’s long had a yen. Of course, he also has a yen for her, but he thinks she’s too young, not to even mention that he is also widely thought to be responsible for the deaths of men who served under him. (Of course, he’s not.)
As for the rest, three words will cover it: Yadda, yadda, yadda.
Nothing here is unexpected. Nothing here is fresh. Nothing here makes this book rise above right smack dab in the middle of the C range.
I don’t know if publisher pressures or the author’s own desire for commercial success – or a combination of the two – are responsible, but instead of a fresh voice working in a different setting we now have one more writer turning out average English-set historicals with paranormal (and, oh, how I am growing to loathe that word) elements. The loss, fellow readers, is ours.