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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Monday, June 11, 2007

Second Sight by Amanda Quick

Second Sight (An Arcane Society Novel) by Amanda Quick. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2006. ISBN: 0-399-15352-7

Amanda Quick is a pseudonym for Jayne Ann Krentz, one of whose Seattle mysteries I reviewed not too long ago. This is an altogether different type of story, although it has the same light and carefree kind of tone that makes Krentz so eminently readable and popular. So what genre is this? I guess I'm going to put it in my “mystery and suspense” index, even though one could make a case for science fiction or fantasy, since the major characters possess “psychical” powers.

Venetia, the heroine, can see “auras” around other people, and Gabriel, the man of her dreams, if you will, can see in the dark, and can “see” the psychical residue left by people in rooms, on doors, etc., especially if they are gripped by some powerful emotion, such as an intent to do bodily harm to another.

The book is set in Victorian times, and to get back to a definitive analysis of the genre to which it belongs, it is essentially, and before anything else, a romance novel. The plot is classic romance. A woman (Venetia) accidentally finds herself having to pretend to be married to a man (Gabriel) even though she's not really been through a wedding ceremony, and in fact, had no intention of doing so.

She thinks Gabriel is dead, so assumes his name, and pretends to be his widow, since she is a professional artistic photographer, and in that day and age, an unmarried woman has many difficulties acting in a business or professional role, but a widow is so much more respectable. Only Gabriel isn't dead after all, and shows up, determined to play the role of husband. This is all after Venetia previously seduces Gabriel, so we know the two find each other attractive.

The plot centers around some alchemical formula that provides some magical powers or other, which someone is determined to steal, and even commit mayhem and murder, if necessary, in order to obtain it. Gabriel and Venetia work together to thwart and expose the killer(s). All the time falling more in love with each other, although Venetia naturally doesn't want to admit it. She doesn't want a man controlling HER life, thank you very much.

This is very much an adult romance novel, since there are at least three (to the best of my recollection) quite graphic, albeit tasteful sex scenes between the two reluctant lovers. Recommended for those who enjoy this sort of fare: lightweight, but entertaining romance/sexy/mystery/supernatural/historical thriller.

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