Monday is here again... At least it is now March so that is something positive right? Unfortunately here in Portland, March is roaring in like a lion today, and our weather is rainy and gray. Spring is right around the corner, according to the calendar that is. At least, I am seeing signs of green leaves. To perk us all up today, I have a fantastic post and giveaway, but before I get to that, indulge me for just a moment as I want to wish my dad a happy birthday! Happy Birthday, Dad! You have always been in my corner cheering for me! I love you! Hope you have a great day.....Okay, back to the post.... I have a terrific historical, paranormal book, Delia's Shadow by Jamie Lee Moyer. This is a book with ghosts set in San Francisco in the early 1900's. A fantastic read! I am delighted to have Jamie here today to guest post so let me introduce her:
Jaime Lee Moyer lives in San Antonio with writer Marshall Payne, two cats, three guitars and a growing collection of books and music. Her first novel, DELIA’S SHADOW, will be published by TOR Books in September 2013. Her novels are represented by Tamar Rydzinski of the Laura Dail Literary Agency.
Jaime has sold short fiction to Lone Star Stories, Daily Science Fiction, and to the Triangulations: End of the Rainbow, and Triangulations: Last Contact anthologies. She was poetry editor for Ideomancer Speculative Fiction for five years and edited the 2010 Rhysling Award Anthology for the Science Fiction Poetry Association. A poet in her own right, she’s sold more than her share of poetry.
She writes a lot. She reads as much as she can. Find Jamie on her website, Pinterest, Twitter and Goodreads.
Here is Jamie:
I'm a late bloomer when it comes to loving history. High school history was boring, dry stuff, composed of events and dates I could never relate to. I'd often wonder where the interesting parts were, the stories about real people and how they lived.
These days I get lost in books about the past, or poring through online historical archives of period photographs and newspaper articles. Back in the day, I didn't know what a primary source was. Now they excite me beyond reason.
—are set in what is know as the Edwardian era. This was the time period following Queen Victoria's death when her son, Edward VII, reigned in England. Everyone agrees that the Edwardian period started in 1901when Edward took the throne, but when it ended is up for debate. Dates range from 1910 when Edward died, to 1914 and the start of the Great War, to 1919 when the war ended.
A hundred years in the past is a far country, full of strange words and objects people today would have a hard time recognizing. Horse drawn cabs were as common as motorcars. Many people refer to the Edwardian era as the end of innocence. The Great War is to blame for that.
It was also the dawn of the modern age. That mix of innocence and reaching toward the future is what I love most the years 1901-1919, and what drew me to write about that time. Women were working to gain the vote and equality, and the fabric of society changed as a result. People dreamed of traveling across country on airplanes, or someday, flying all the way to Europe.
Stepping backward and making that time come alive for a reader was a challenge. I had to research everything that might be a part of my characters' lives, from clothing styles and furniture, to names of streets and what motorcars were available in any given year. Silent movies, magazines, nickel weeklies, popular songs, current events: I had to sift through all of that and find what would fit the story I wanted to tell.
I probably looked up thousands of words. Not because I didn't know what they meant, but to make sure those words weren't too modern, or that slang common to the 1910s didn't have offensive meanings today. I also viewed thousands of news photographs from the 1910s, all of which were the perfect window into the past.
Those photographs, and the accompanying stories in the newspaper, were invaluable. They let me see what people at all levels of society were wearing or talking about, what they thought was important or scandalous, and what was new and novel in any given year. The writing itself was a lesson in how language and speech patterns had changed in the last hundred years.
The people I'd always longed to know about were in the newspapers as well. Ordinary people and the cream of high society, inventors, scientists, and oh so many women whose stories are mostly lost to history. As I read and looked at pictures, my characters began to come alive and find their place in the story.
I want to thank Heidi for asking me to write a post for Rainy Day Ramblings. Talking about something I love doing is always fun.
Please note: All photos in this post are courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Click on the photos for credits.
Thank you, Jamie. I can tell you spent countless hours researching your book, and it shows. Fascinating stuff! I love this era, and I loved seeing it through your eyes. I can't wait for the next book! Now for one lucky reader, Jamie is offering a chance to win a copy of Delia's Shadow. To enter read the Contest Policies and then fill out the Rafflecopter. This is open to U.S. residents only. Good luck!
Here is my review:
Delia's Shadow(Delia Martin #1) by Jamie Lee Moyer
It is the dawn of a new century in San Francisco and Delia Martin is a wealthy young woman whose life appears ideal. But a dark secret colors her life, for Delia’s most loyal companions are ghosts, as she has been gifted (or some would say cursed) with an ability to peer across to the other side.
Since the great quake rocked her city in 1906, Delia has been haunted by an avalanche of the dead clamoring for her help. Delia flees to the other side of the continent, hoping to gain some peace. After several years in New York, Delia believes she is free…until one determined specter appears and she realizes that she must return to the City by the Bay in order to put this tortured soul to rest.
It will not be easy, as the ghost is only one of the many victims of a serial killer who was never caught. A killer who after thirty years is killing again.
And who is now aware of Delia’s existence.
Hardcover, 1st Edition, 336 pagesPublished September 17th 2013 by Tor
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Four stars: A dark, historical ghostly tale.
Delia is returning to San Francisco after three years. At her side is her constant shadow, a ghost who has been haunting her for the last six months. Delia can't tell what the ghost wants, she is a constant, haunting shadow. Delia left San Francisco as she was unable to bear the sight of all the ghosts roaming the city, remnants of the great earthquake and fire of 1906 that decimated the city. Upon her return, Delia is reunited with her best friend, practically sister, Sadie. Sadie is engaged to be married and excited to have Delia home at last. Unfortunately, Delia and Sadie are soon made aware of a horrifying danger in their city. Sadie's fiancé', Jack, and his partner, Gabe, are police officers hunting a serial murder. This killer has been in the city before, thirty years ago to be exact. Now he is back, and he is determined to taunt Gabe and Jack. Can Delia's ghost help them catch a killer?
What I Liked:
- This was a thrilling page turner set in San Francisco during the 1915 World's Fair. I loved the historical setting, the gorgeous writing and the terrifying murder mystery. This was an excellent blend of paranormal, historical and murder mystery. A little something for everyone.
- I loved the setting. San Francisco is just nine years removed from the great earthquake and fire that nearly destroyed the city and took countless lives. The city, though, refused to die, and from the rubble, a new city is emerging. Yet, there are plenty of reminders of what was lost. I was swept away into this bygone era, and I liked seeing the old blended with the new as the fair came to town with all of the high tech modern inventions. It was also interesting to learn a bit more about the city and how it recovered from the terror of the destruction. I liked that Delia was able to see all the ghosts that were haunting the city, it certainly got me wondering. I thought that Ms. Moyers did an excellent job with the historical setting, and her descriptions were lovely.
- At the heart of the story is a dark, terrifying and horrific murder mystery. A serial killer first haunted the city thirty years ago, murdering in a grisly manner. Then without warning, the murders stopped. Gabe's father was in charge of the investigation back then, and it haunts him to this day as he was never able to catch the killer. Now Gabe is following in his father's footsteps trying to catch the same killer because it soon becomes evident from the notes and the bodies that the killer is back. The murder mystery is engaging and scary. I was a tiny bit hesitant to turn off the lights after reading this late one night. Fair warning, some of the murder scenes are gory and a bit much to take in, but I thought the author did a good job by providing enough detail to scare, but not so much that it was over the top. Just keep in mind that it is a bit gruesome.
- To balance out the darkness, Ms. Moyer provides a couple of nice romances. Jack and Sadie are in love and eagerly planning their wedding at the beginning of the book. They are a fun and adorable couple, and they balance each other out perfectly. Their romance was a bright spot. Then there is the beginning of another romance which starts out as a bit of match making, and then moves into a firm friendship before unfolding into a romance. I liked that this was a slow going romance, especially since one of the participants was still haunted and grieving. It was perfectly paced and well done, and I liked watching the pair come together and then grow as a couple. Both the romances are a nice bight light amidst the darkness of the murders.
- Delia's shadow is a young, green eyed ghost who becomes stronger and stronger the more she interacts with Delia. Once her story is brought to light, it is heartbreaking. She plays a big role in the murder mystery, and I liked how the ghosts were a key part of the overall story. I also appreciated that the ghosts kept an aura of mystery about them. You were never sure of their intentions, they unknown factor definitely added to the overall dark atmospheric setting.
- This book is told with dual narratives: Delia in first person and Gabe in third. I enjoyed seeing things through both characters' eyes. Delia was fascinating because she was always seeing ghosts, while Gabe was at the heart of the murder investigation. I found I liked each of their voices equally. Aside from Gabe and Delia, there is a well rounded cast of secondary characters, with Isadora being my favorite. Dora is a gifted medium who is able to converse with ghosts and read images from items. She is lives a bohemian lifestyle and isn't exactly someone who goes with the social norms. She is glamorous and fascinating. I was also drawn to Annie, the African America maid, cook, and confidant who looked after and fed everyone and seemed to have her own way with ghosts.
- The book is perfectly paced, and I was never bored. With each killing, the danger mounts until it finally erupts into a deadly game of cat and mouse where the stakes are infinitely high. At this point, it is a rapid page turner to get to the finale. Thankfully, everything resolves at the end, though I did have a few unanswered questions that niggled at me.
And The Not So Much:
- After all the buildup and drama surrounding the killer, I was disappointed that I didn't have a clearer understanding as to his motives. There are a few hints, but not enough to satiate my curiosity. What exactly happened to him during those missing years? What did his father know and why did his father choose to protect him and lie for him? What was the significance of all the Egyptian hieroglyphs? I was expecting a big reveal, and unfortunately that doesn't happen. I wanted to know much more about what drove this monster.
- One story line that was left undone that bothered me was the whole thing with Jack's father. Why did he lie to Jack regarding his mother's death? What happened to strain the relationship between Jack's father and his real mother before she died? The whole situation with Jack's family was baffling, and I was left wanting to know so much more.
- Isadora easily sweeps in and steals the scene whenever she is steps onto the page. She is glamorous, alive, flirtatious and a talented spiritualist. I wanted to know so much more about her, and I was most curious as to how she learned to utilize her talents. She was skilled at being able control ghosts, on how to shield herself and her home from them, and she was able to divine information from them. I would love to know more about her past and how she became so skilled. In fact, I think a whole book from her point of view would be terrific.
- I was expecting a bit more resolution with the story line regarding Delia's shadow. Did the ghost move on and find her peace or is she lingering to watch over those she loves? I am hopeful to find out more in the next book.
Delia's Shadow is a strong debut novel. This is a well written, fast paced, exciting, historical novel that blends paranormal with murder mystery. The recovering San Francisco era 1915 provides a ghostly backdrop for a haunting murder mystery that just might tempt you to leave the lights on if you read this before bed. This is a dark tale balanced with a bright romance. For those of you who love a good ghost story as well as a page turning mystery this is definitely a book to consider. I will certainly be on board to read the sequel: A Barricade in Hell when it releases June 2014.
"But everyone had a shadow, perfectly normal people who never gave the bit of darkness following them a thought."
"Best friends didn't abandon each other in times of need or they were poor friends indeed."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.