'Til Death Do Us Part
The author of the New York Times bestseller Garden of Lies returns to Victorian London in an all-new novel of deadly obsession. Calista Langley operates an exclusive "introduction" agency in Victorian London, catering to respectable ladies and gentlemen who find themselves alone in the world. But now, a dangerously obsessed individual has begun sending her trinkets and gifts suitable only for those in deepest mourning--a black mirror, a funeral wreath, a ring set with black jet stone. Each is engraved with her initials. Desperate for help and fearing that the police will be of no assistance, Calista turns to Trent Hastings, a reclusive author of popular crime novels. Believing that Calista may be taking advantage of his lonely sister, who has become one of her clients, Trent doesn't trust her. Scarred by his past, he's learned to keep his emotions at bay, even as an instant attraction threatens his resolve. But as Trent and Calista comb through files of rejected clients in hopes of identifying her tormentor, it becomes clear that the danger may be coming from Calista's own secret past--and that only her death will satisfy the stalker...
Til Death Do Us Part is a gritty Victorian era set novel. I love stories set in that time frame because it’s a realistic change in how society treated women and where seances and the obsession with the dead really took off. It’s such a grim, dirty feeling era and I can’t help but be obsessed with it. This book really hit all the right buttons for me and if you like detectives, murder and mystery then this is the one for you too.
Although women were given some rights, it was still a trying time for them. A self proclaimed spinster, Callista runs her own matchmaking business. Although, she does keep it discreet, because some might think it a step above a brothel. Her life seemed to be going well for her, until she starting getting strange gifts from an anonymous person. This is where I found the story interesting. I actually learned a bit about memento mori gifts. Safety coffin bells being the most bizarre thing I’ve ever read about. But oh, so cool. Callista’s chance meeting with the brother of one of her clients proves to be a good thing for her. A fiction writer, whose detective stories are hot sellers, agrees to help her solve the mystery.
But of course that does come with near death encounters with a lunatic with a knife and the fear of constantly being watched and stalked.
This was such a fun book, full of interesting dialogue and intense foreboding. I did figure out the identity of the killer or actually, had my suspicions which proved to be correct, mid-way through the book, but it was fun to take the clues and try to figure it out like the characters in the books were doing. There is romance in this story as well, which did lighten up the mood a bit and I found it the perfect balance. Give me more of these kinds of stories and I’ll be a happy reader.
*I was given an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
She belonged to him.
He was locked inside a cage the size and shape of a coffin. A dark thrill heated his blood like a powerful, intoxicating drug.
When the time came he would purify the woman and cleanse himself with her blood. But tonight was not the time. The ritual had to be followed correctly. The woman must be made to comprehend and acknowledge the great wrong that she had done. There was no finer instructor than fear.
He huddled inside the concealed lift, listening to the sounds of someone moving about in the bedroom on the other side of the wall. There was a narrow crack in the paneling. Excitement sparked through him when he caught a glimpse of the woman. She was at her dressing table, adjusting the pins in her dark brown hair. It was as if she knew he was watching and was deliberately taunting him.
She was passable in appearance, but he had seen her on the street and had not been particularly impressed with her looks. She was overly tall for a woman and her forceful character was etched on her face. She was dangerous. It was all there in her unnerving eyes.
The woman rose from the dressing table chair and moved out of sight. A moment later he heard the muffled sound of the bedroom door opening and closing.
He slid the cage door aside and opened the wooden panel. The wall sconce had been turned down low but he could make out the bed, the dressing table, and the wardrobe.
He moved out of the lift. The heady exhilaration he always experienced at such moments roared through him. With every step of the ritual he came closer to achieving his own purification.
For a precious few seconds he debated where to leave his gift. The bed or the dressing table?
The bed, he decided. So much more intimate.
He made his way out through the tradesmen’s entrance and slipped, unseen, into the gardens. The gate was still unlocked, just as he had left it.
A few minutes later he was lost in the fog. The weight of the knife in its sheath beneath his greatcoat was reassuring.
The ritual was almost complete.
The woman with the unnerving eyes would soon understand that she belonged to him. It was her destiny to be the one to cleanse him. He was certain of it. The connection between them was a bond that could be shattered only by death.
Posted by arrangement with Berkley Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Jayne Ann Krentz, 2016.
Jayne Ann Krentz is the author of more than fifty New York Times bestsellers. She has written contemporary romantic suspense novels under that name, as well as historical and futuristic romance novels under the pseudonyms Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle, respectively. Learn more at jayneannkrentz.com and connect with her on facebook.com/JayneAnnKrentz.