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Strangely Beautiful Paperback – April 26, 2016
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About the Author
LEANNE RENEE HIEBER’s first novel, the Prism Award-winning The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, is a foundational text of gaslamp fantasy and was recently reissued in a revised, author’s preferred edition, as Strangely Beautiful. Perilous Prophecy, the second book in the Strangely Beautiful series, also won the Prism Award (when first published as The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess). It has been editing and revised for Tor’s publication.
Hieber’s other novels include The Eterna Files and Eterna and Omega, as well as Darker Still, a critically-acclaimed YA novel. All of Hieber’s books take place in a single, paranormally-blessed universe, and characters from one series have been known to make cameo appearances in others.
Leanna Renee Hieber lives in the New York City area, where she frequently leads ghost tours.
Top customer reviews
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Beautiful scenery, and enchanting descriptions will sweep the reader away to the Victorian age. A sweet and sexy romance set in a gas light fantasy that will keep the pulse pounding till the final page.
When she meets Alexi, her terrifying mathematics professor. Though wickedly attracted to him, she knows her feelings can never become more than fantasy but yet she is strangely drawn to him, and he to her. Though gifted at languages, she cannot grasp math to save her life. Alexi begins tutoring her in math and slowly she reveals her nature to him….she discovers she is not alone in the world, like her Alexi can also see the ghosts who haunt the city.
Recognizing his growing regard for Percy and her strange talents, Alexi cannot help but wonder if she is the prophecy that was foretold to The Guard many years before. He takes his information about Percy to the other Guard members and they warn him the vision which appeared to them all those years before warned of an impostor and to beware of a false prophecy.
I was really excited to read this book, I had it down to read for part of the Steampunk Reading Challenge I was participating in but it seemed more like para-romance and gaslight fiction…or even a modern gothic romance, rather than steampunk and I was right. But either way I just really wanted to read the book….I needed another epic para-romance to tide me over until the next Sookie Stackhouse book comes out in May and since I love a good gaslight/gothic para-romance, this just jumped out at me…..and I was NOT disappointed
I had my reservations when I started the book, as I was a little confused by the whole prophecy thing and wasn’t sure what the role of The Guard was….were they ghostbusters, were they exorcists, what was their function? And I wasn’t sure how the whole Jack the Ripper storyline was going to fit in with the book…but I was quickly hooked on the story and could hardly put it down all weekend it was so good!!
Hieber nailed the Victorian gothic romance tradition….the dark, brooding Alexi who seemingly locked his heart away forever….the unrequited love in The Guard group….the dark mystical, gaslit city that was Victorian London. It was all beautifully done in classic gothic romance, bravo!
I think what I loved most was her portrayal of Alexi. In an era that emphasized duty rather than passion, Alexi is the quintessential tormented…forlorn, brooding leader of The Guard. He is unique, clearly a leader whose charisma demands attention…he is also honorable and devoted to his profession…..but his greatest asset is also his prison. Though he longs to love, he does not feel he can let anyone in without hurting them so he locks his heart away….quietly wasting away doing his duty but at the same time suffocating in loneliness.
The term frigid defined the Victorian era….and like so many Victorians, Alexi does his duty unquestionably but yet can’t help but wonder what he is missing. Where is the passion, the love, the romance….the life? Until someone turns on a light inside him. For me he was truly an accurately depicted gothic hero.
The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker was certainly that…..strangely beautiful. A seductive, luminous, ethereal tale surely to bring a smile at times to the readers face, and sure to light a burning blue light inside us all. If you are a fan of para-romance novels or fantasy/gaslight fiction this is a must read!
There is so much I enjoyed about this book that it’s hard to convey in a review suffice it to say I will be reading the next book as soon as I can!
There is so much to love in this book: a haunting Victorian setting, a brooding hero, simmering tension, explorations of faith and myth.
If you love Victoriana, if you love Harry Potter, if you love Byronic heroes, if you have a romantic heart, get this book right now. If you don't fulfill these prerequisites, get this book anyway.
There is something special about this story. I rarely read a book more than once (so many books, so little time), but I keep returning to this one, and it keeps giving. Not only a wonderfully entrancing tale, this book book is haunting, and its story and characters follow me even when I have (reluctantly) put the book down.
I can count on one hand the number of books that have straight up given me chills, and Strangely Beautiful joins their number today. The combination of heart-wrenching sacrifice and heart-warming love... The boldly woven mythology and magic and historical paranormal set her works apart.
A truly wonderful book and the inclusion of extra scenes in this particular addition was an added delight.