Friday, December 16, 2016

A Frost of Cares

Amy Rae Durreson
Dreamspinner Press
Reviewed by Nancy
5 out of 5 stars


Military historian Luke Alcott leaps at the chance to live in the seventeenth-century country mansion of Eelmoor Hall, home of the Royal Military School of Medicine, after being offered a job cataloging the school’s archives. Luke believes he chose the perfect place to start a new life and put his broken past behind him. But soon after settling into the old house, he hears strange noises—like footsteps—and he begins to suffer from terrible nightmares.

The only person Luke can turn to for help is the taciturn caretaker, Jay, a veteran of the Afghanistan war who carries an old battle wound. Together they try to understand Eelmoor Hall’s history and decipher what could be causing the haunting. As the weather grows colder and snow dusts the countryside, a child goes missing. Luke needs to deal with his own demons and learn to trust in love again if he hopes to face down the angry spirit and find the missing girl.

My Review

A delightful read by a new to me author that left me breathless and charmed in equal measure. This is a modern gothic novel set in England replete with a haunted country mansion, dusty archives, an unhappy ghost, an aloof caretaker, and a lonely man looking for a fresh start.

Jay McBride lost his leg in Afghanistan. Luke Alcott is losing hope that he will find his missing lover. Luke is offered a job by the Royal Military School of Medicine that involves cataloguing the school’s archives stored at Eelmoor Hall.

This story was interestingly told from Luke’s perspective a decade after the story’s events. Though he has achieved closure after learning what happened to Danny, and moved on to have a very loving relationship, Luke is still haunted by the Mistletoe Bride. His husband, Jay, believes that writing the story down will excise the ghosts in his head.

The men don’t like each other at first. Their friendship starts tentatively with lots of conversation, a home-cooked meal and lots of heat, including that caused by the green chilies. I loved how Luke and Jay work through their struggles together and develop trust and love.

“I don’t think it’s the things that happen to us that decide whether we’re broken. I think it’s how we choose to live with the things we can’t control.”

This is a romance first, and a beautiful one that takes its time developing. Luke and Jay may drive each other crazy at times, but there is no denying the chemistry between them. This is also a chilling, tense and satisfying mystery that wraps up neatly in the end.

I gobbled up this book in one sitting, flipping pages well into the night. It was beautifully written, dark, atmospheric, and as comforting as a warm blanket.