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After losing the family fortune to a fraudulent psychic, inventor Henry Strauss is determined to bring the otherworld under control through the application of science. All he needs is a genuine haunting to prove his Electro-Séance will work. A letter from wealthy industrialist Dominic Gladfield seems the answer to his prayers. Gladfield’s proposition: a contest pitting science against spiritualism, with a hefty prize for the winner.
The contest takes Henry to Reyhome Castle, the site of a series of brutal murders decades earlier. There he meets his rival for the prize, the dangerously appealing Vincent Night. Vincent is handsome, charming…and determined to get Henry into bed.
Henry can’t afford to fall for a spirit medium, let alone the competition. But nothing in the haunted mansion is quite as it seems, and soon winning the contest is the least of Henry’s concerns.
For the evil stalking the halls of Reyhome Castle wants to claim not just Henry and Vincent’s lives, but their very souls.
I used to think I was a big fan of historical novels. I like the idea of them (still, a lot), but reading m/m for nearly two years now, I’ve found them sort of depressing. I mean, let’s face it: it’s not like same-sex couples from back in the day can live openly and/or happily, and that knowledge always makes me a little sad and apprehensive.
And then there was Jordan L. Hawk. The lady seriously has a way with making my worries disappear. It’s not that the issue is downplayed or incorrectly/inaccurately dealt with, it’s just that her stories are so front-and-center; it’s all about the characters and the mystery and the love. Yup, it’s rather easy to let go and enjoy her words, so…woo-hoo!
Early 1900s-era inventor Henry Strauss is convinced all mediums are frauds, and he’s created the technology to prove it. Vincent Night, a medium—of course—is competing with Henry to help exorcise a haunted house of its ghosts in a high-stakes competition of man vs. machine.
Restless Spirits is set up nicely. From the start, I understood the struggle was real for Henry. Even though I wasn’t sure what happened to him, it was obvious he took his job seriously and that somewhere in his past something had gone terribly wrong to turn him into A Man of Science™. Vincent has his own set of motivations for coming out victorious against Henry.
Hawk weaves trepidation and mystery like nobody’s business. The house is haunted, but by whom, and why? And what other forces are working against Henry and Vincent? Could there be more than just ghosts in the house, trying to sabotage them?
I loved the diversity in this book! Vincent is part Native American, swoon; Henry is a stuffy WASP. Even though they seem completely mismatched based on their professional backgrounds, together they were magic. What I really enjoyed about Restless Spirits, aside from Henry and Vincent, were the secondary characters. Henry’s niece Jo, of African descent, and Vincent’s business partner Lizzie were incredibly well-drawn and rich and complicated. Lizzie especially, for reasons I’d love to share and discuss but can’t because…spoiler. They made this book a complete pleasure to read, and I can’t *wait* for the next installment so I can have more of their story, too.
Speaking of which, when I started reading, I swear I missed the bit about this being the first in the series. That said: happy for now ending. Meaning…I lost my mind when I finished and maybe had a temper tantrum. Maybe. ;-) Yes, there’ll be more books (thanking my lucky stars), and I can’t wait to see where Henry, Jo and the Electro-Séance machine plus Vincent and Lizzie end up next.