Title: THE ARCHITECT OF SONG
Author: A.G. Howard
Pub. Date: August 15, 2016
Publisher: A.G. Howard
Formats: Paperback, eBook
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 17+.
I was really excited to jump into this book when I got it. I love Howard's writing (and am a huge fan of her Splintered series) so I was certainly expecting to love this. And while it was totally different than what I experienced in her young adult series, I was pleasantly surprises at the tone and overall plot of this story.
I will be honest and say I didn't read the blurb to this book. I didn't really care what it was about, just that Howard wrote it! So I kind of jumped in blind. And when it started I was happy to find it had a historical theme to it. I don't often read historical books so I was interested to see where it went. And then all of a sudden there was a paranormal element and I was hooked! Just the premise of a friendship/relationship with a ghost was super intriguing to me!
Juliet is a great heroine. I really adored that her disability, her deafness, did not hold her back. She is relatable and even a bit ahead of her time in her ways of thinking. I like that she did not allow herself to be pushed around despite being a woman in the time during which this book took place.
Hawk is our ghost. Though he doesn't know this information at first. And he cannot remember anything about his life. He and Juliet are determined to find out exactly what happened to him and how he died. Along the way, they uncover many truths, including those about Lord Thornton, the gentleman who is attempting to buy her childhood home and court her at the same time!
I enjoyed watching the relationship between Hawk and Juliet bloom. I was really curious as to how Howard would make things work between them but she did find a way. However, Lord Thornton complicates things with a bit of a love triangle. And then when the relationship between Thornton and Hawk is revealed, BAM, that's really a kicker!
Howard's descriptive ability is really wonderful. It was easy for me to see each scene she painted on the page and each character she revealed with her words. Her characters developed and grew allowing me to bond with them and gain their trust. And the supporting characters really did lend so much to the story.
My only issues with this book was the pacing. I did find it slow at times. I really thought there were areas that were drawn out more than they needed to be, scenes that could have been eliminated to tighten the flow and make the story move. It made it a bit hard to see where the story was going.
Told in first person point of view, Howard paints a true picture of what it was like to be a woman in a age when men really ruled the world. A woman trying to find her place and make sure she has a place for herself when she is all she has left.
A.G. Howard was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. She always wondered what would've happened had the subtle creepiness of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a child.
When she's not writing, A.G.'s pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.
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