By Amanda Stevens
I saw a few mentions of this book around and thought it looked interesting — a woman who restores cemeteries for a living and sees ghosts. I love characters with odd jobs and well, ghost stories are always for me. After a slight bit of wrangling between NetGalley and my Nook, I found myself tied to the book until the last page.
Amelia Gray has spent her life in cemeteries. Her father was a caretaker of several cemeteries in South Carolina outside of Charleston and she would spend her days with him helping to clean, restore, and appreciate the calmness that came with hallowed ground. When she is still quite young, she sees her first ghost which prompts her father to give her the rules: never look at them, never make eye contact, and never let them in. Amelia follows these rules closely which leads to a lonely life but one that isn’t plagued by ghosts. As an adult, she adheres to the rules until the day she meets Devlin — a local police detective working a murder that just happened to take place in the cemetery Amelia is currently restoring. Unable to pull herself away from Devlin, a man haunted in too many ways, Amelia finds herself breaking one rule after the other until the ghosts begin to close in on her.
There was something so intriguing about Amelia. She wasn’t a character who made rash decisions but when she can’t pull herself away from Devlin the story starts to get good. She’s not a trusting person by nature, and even if she can’t say for certain that she trusts Devlin, she can’t reason with herself to stay away. As for Devlin, there are too many things wrong with him that in some ways you don’t want the two to get together but they have a good chemistry which adds to the story. Although, this is far from a love story and the love element itself if really narrow which I liked. Amelia has too much baggage to get involved and frankly a cemetery restorer seems to have more appeal as a lone character and if you read this, you’ll see what I mean by that statement. Her baggage consists of ghosts and some odd family history which perplexed me when it wasn’t revealed but this is a series so I knew that was going to happen at some point and was all right with it.
The ghosts. I have to give props to Stevens here because I think she did a fine job in making ghosts creepy again. I love a good ghost story but sometimes I feel as if every description of a ghost is cold — and yes, she did follow some standards here, icy fingers, hair standing up on the back of the neck — but what got me was the way they looked at her knowing full well she could see them. Each time Amelia encounters a ghost there is a stare down moment when they wait for her to acknowledge them which she doesn’t do making it all the more tense as she forces herself to look through and purposely not fall into their gaze.
Several loose ends are left hanging by the end but I was ok with it as I usually am with a book in a series. Although I do think the book can stand on its own which is a plus. The Restorer is the first book in the Graveyard Queen series and I will be waiting for the others. I do feel I need to give a fair warning out though — if you’re not a lover of ghost stories, this book can be creepy and may induce wanting to sleep with the lights on if you’re easily freaked out about things like ghosts. Although, that’s part of the fun isn’t it? 🙂 For those on the creepy side, I recommend this one.
I downloaded an ebook copy of this book from NetGalley.