Leanna Renee Hieber
You can read the Goodreads summary here.
It's 1880 in New York City and a famous painting has just arrived and is the talk of the town - a painting of a young man, Lord Denbury, who is suspected to have drowned in England. Yet there is something so lifelike about the painting. When mute Natalie sees the painting she's immediately drawn to it and when she notices the details in the painting are changing she knows something is up. Denbury's soul is trapped in the painting and he wants Natalie specifically to save him.
It hit me within the first three pages - Darker Still is a beautiful novel. It gives off an air of sophistication, it's written so well with such great language. In addition to that, I thought the formatting of the book was brilliant. The book starts with missing person case notes and continues on with the diary of Natalie, submitted as evidence in the case. I loved reading the story through Natalie's diary entries - it really helped the story be personal. Of course, the ending case notes were just as charming.
Charming. That's a really great word to describe the book as a whole.
I particularly enjoyed the spiritualism aspect of the book. The spiritualist movement in the United States has always fascinated me. The history throughout the book was so interesting and I can't think of a better time period for the book to have taken place. I think if it took place today, it would have been really cheesy.
Of course, the character of Jonathan was one of the best parts of the book. A gentleman through and through and at the same time gorgeous and just, well, dreamy. He was a classy guy, yet at the same time the chemistry between Natalie and him was palpable.
Darker Still is out today. Five stars! An amazing book with a gorgeous cover to match. Add it to your Christmas wishlist right now, or go out and get a copy. I'm not kidding. What a lovely piece of literature. I'll be checking out any future sequels for sure.