Series: Haunted Hearts Legacy #1
Published by Golden Orb Press on 2016-08-15
Length: 425 pages
Reviewing eBook, Audiobook from My Book Shelf
Reading Challenges: Audiobook Challenge 2017
A lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower - intertwine in this love story that transcends life and death.
For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.
To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.
International and NYT bestselling author, A.G. Howard, brings her darkly magical and visual/visceral storytelling to Victorian England. The Architect of Song is the first installment in her lush and romantic Haunted Hearts Legacy series, a four book gothic saga following the generations of one family as - haunted by both literal and figurative ghosts - they search for self-acceptance, love, and happiness.
New Adult: Recommended for ages 16+
The Architect of Song by A.G. Howard is a heart-breaking read about a young girl and the ghost she falls in love with. I was a little skeptical about if I’d enjoy this book, but I’m glad to find that I was wrong. I enjoyed every word, and even days after finishing, I am still thinking about the characters. I have a soft spot for historical fiction and I loved that this was set during the Victorian period. It made for a wonderful gothic romance!
Juliet is 19 and burying her mother when the book begins. (Dark beginning, yeah?!) I have to respect this character. She is deaf from an illness as a child, but she doesn’t let her disability hinder her. If anything it strengthens her. She notices things that others with hearing miss, like how someone’s eye twitches when they lie or how two characters like each other but are oblivious to the other, that sort of thing. But Juliet is lonely and grieving the death of her mother. This makes her vulnerable, something she isn’t usually.
There are two men in this book that create a love triangle of sorts: a ghost and a Lord. The ghost is known only as “Hawk” after Juliet stumbles across his grave and takes a flower that is growing there. The petals of the flower allow her to see Hawk. Hawk is roguish, has a temper, and has spent many years alone in his purgatory. He has no memories and it’s up to him and Juliet to find out what happened to him. Juliet is drawn to him because for the first time since she lost her hearing she can hear him. I think this makes her ghostly companion a big temptation.
Then there’s Lord Nicolas Thornton. Like Juliet, he has his own disability, a bum foot, and his earnest appraisal of Juliet endears him to me. However despite Juliet’s instant attraction to the Lord, she wants to despise him. Why? Because he plans to buy her estate AND wants to marry her. She thinks he has ulterior motives, yet his every action towards her she reads as truth. She doesn’t see any outward signs of deception which leaves her questioning her own judgment. Thornton is my favorite of the two love interests. Hawk is just too much of a gamble as he doesn’t have his memories and Thornton’s every action toward Juliet is one of a smitten, love-struck fool.
So how are these two tied together? Well for starters they look an awfully lot alike. So much so that when Juliet sees Thornton for the first time she believes her wish to make Hawk alive again has come true. The beauty of this tale is that I can’t answer this question wholly without spoilers. The author has woven a story filled with intrigue, deception, love, and despair. I loved the magical realism of Hawk’s ghost, the interweaving of paranormal and real life, and the slow-build romance between the main characters. I liked how the author slowly revealed the mysteries surrounding Hawk’s death, how he is tied to Thornton, and how Juliet plays a role in their lives. It kept me guessing right to the very end.
I wound up listening to this book and I have to say I loved the narrator. Gemma Dawson is brilliant. Her inflections and her subtle changes in voice kept me intrigued. I even dreamed about Juliet’s voice after listening the first night. It was well-paced and for once I didn’t listen on 3x speed 😀
Overall I really enjoyed this book! A.G. Howard is a master story-teller, creating beautifully flawed characters and twisting plots that are unpredictable. If you enjoy gothic romance, Victorian-era fiction, and a little ghostly-love, I highly recommend you grab a copy and read asap!