Reviewed by Helyce
The Gravedigger’s Brawl was such a wonderful surprise! I have to admit, I chose to read it simply because it’s written by Abigail Roux and well, I don’t have to think twice about reading anything written by her. I had reservations though as I am not a fan of spooky reads and I especially dislike ghost stories because I don’t like to be scared! Halloween might be one of my favorite holidays, but you’ll never catch me going through a haunted house unless I’m being dragged, kicking and screaming through it! But while there is a ghost and a haunting, there is also history-both fact and fake-and a cast of characters that you will fall in love with.
Dr. Wyatt Case is a museum curator. He eats lives and breathes anything that is historical in nature. He thrives on research and being in the museum is one of his most favorite places to be. But if he doesn’t come up with an idea for a new exhibit to bring in more business, he’ll be out of a job.
When Noah, Wyatt’s co-worker and friend, drags him out to lunch one day, he jumps at the chance to escape the board members looking for him. Wyatt is immediately suspicious of Noah’s actions, but Noah assures him that nothing is going on; just lunch at a place he’s heard about. When they arrive at The Gravedigger’s Tavern, Wyatt is charmed by the old fashioned Victorian ambiance of the place. When he steps inside it’s almost like going back in time.
It’s not long before Noah is introducing Wyatt to the bartender, Ash Lucroix. There is a quick attraction between these two and things move really fast. But all is not as it seems and when Ash is attacked and suffers a concussion, rumors of ghosts and hauntings become too real. Weird things start happening to Ash both at work and at home, freaking Ash out and putting a strain on his and Wyatt’s budding relationship. Wyatt does what he does best and researches the tavern and the people who’ve owned it in the past, but can he solve the mystery and save Ash in time.
I don’t even know where to begin. This story is so much more than the romance between Ash and Wyatt. From the beginning I was pulled into the story, its historical elements, paranormal feel and outstanding cast of characters keeping me on the edge. Ms. Roux does such a good job of blending everything all together; I just didn’t want it to end.
Wyatt and Ash are adorable together. I was half in love with Ash from the moment the author describes him and notes his eyes lined in kohl and his tongue piercing. They had that whole opposites attract thing going on. Wyatt is certainly taken in by the look and feel of the Gravedigger’s Tavern and he’s certainly intrigued by Ash’s style. These two are sexy hot together and when things start to get weird for Ash, Wyatt is right there to see him through it even though he’s thinking that Ash might be suffering from more than just the after effects of a concussion.
While there is a romance, the meat of the story, revolves around solving the mystery of the ghost who seems to have attached himself to Ash. This entity is definitely evil and that is what is most difficult to deal with because Ash is anything but evil. He tries to tough it out for a bit, but when things start to escalate, he starts to stress out and Wyatt and Ash’s friends begin to really worry for him.
If worrying about Ash weren’t enough, Wyatt is in the middle of creating an exhibit that revolves around ghosts and spirits at the museum in an attempt to save his job. Interestingly, it’s while he’s researching that he makes the first connection that begins to help solve the mystery of who exactly is haunting Ash.
The secondary characters have huge roles in the story as well. While there is definitely the romance developing between Ash and Wyatt, we meet Ash’s co-workers Ryan, Delilah and Caleb. There is a small side romance between Caleb and Noah which is kind of presented as a serious, existing relationship. I was fine with having to make this assumption, but I would have liked to get to know both Caleb and Noah better. Additionally, I believe that Ryan and Delilah are a couple. It’s hinted at in actions and words. These characters have a lot of page time, but by the end of the story I didn’t feel like I knew them any better than just on the surface.
What happens with Ash toward the end really had me on the edge; more so, probably, because I was reading at night, alone, in my silent family room. I couldn’t even guess at this point how the author was going to solve the mystery and have Ash come out the other end whole. It is exciting and heart stopping, but very worth all the stress.
I really enjoyed the historical elements noted in the story. The author has some notations at the end of the book where she clarifies what is factual from history and what was fabricated to enhance the story. I loved that she did this. There are ties to New Orleans and Paris and her intricately woven tale was truly well done.
It might be wishful thinking, but I felt that ending was just a bit open-ended. I’m hoping that means there might be a sequel because I did not have enough of this enjoyable cast of characters.