Reviewed by Mandi
I’ve enjoyed the heck out of this historical paranormal series. It took some convincing to start this series, as ghosts are not a favorite of mine (and they were the premise of book one). But many recommended this author so I read it and I’ve loved them so, so much. This book can be read as a stand alone but the hero has had page time previous to this book and I do recommend you read the others.
Bo is a Chinese immigrant, having worked for Winter, (hero from book one) a Swedish immigrant for many years. Winter is a bootlegger, providing San Francisco with all of its illegal liquor. He has become very wealthy because of this. Bo started out doing random jobs and as Winter’s driver, but has now become his very trusted assistant. Winter considers him family.
Winter also has a sister named Astrid. Astrid has just started college at Berkley, but isn’t happy being away from home. She has had a crush on Bo (and he her) for as long as she can remember. But it’s complicated. First, Winter would probably kill Bo if he even looked at Astrid with lust in his eyes. And Bo is Chinese and not wealthy, two things that society frowns upon. It’s illegal for them to get married. But Bo loves Astrid so much. And she loves him!! And there is angst and lusty glances, and adorableness that erupts and I could barely stand it!!!
I haven’t even mentioned the paranormal/mystery aspect of this book. Both Bo and Astrid do not have magical powers but a yacht crashes into Bo and Winter’s pier one night, and it’s a yacht that has been missing for a year. The passengers have weird face paint on and don’t remember their own names. When Bo and Astrid go snooping around, Astrid picks up a turquoise idol and acquires some kind of odd aura around her. They take the idol with them, and then the bad guys want it back. There is danger and a well done mystery surrounding this idol. I’d say the magic portion of the book is less than the rest of this series, which was fine with me because I wanted the focus to be on the romance.
Bo and Astrid both are just adorable. This romance is so well written. They are just smitten with each other, but race and status keep them apart. Both are smart and mature. And stubborn. While they each have experienced sex, the intense attraction and feelings they have for each other are very raw and powerful. They dance around each other to start, both to scared to admit the true intensity of their feelings. Heck – Bo even pleasures himself to a dictionary –
Upon forcing himself to shake off the druggy haze of the pain pill, he’d remembered a word he overheard Astrid saying when she’d been confessing to Le-Ann in the Moons’ parlor: My feelings for him a sempiternal.
He had no idea what that meant. But like anything else he didn” tknow, he sought the education he required between the pages of his humble library. He was able to sound the word out and find it in his battered Webster’s.
Sempiternal: eternal, everlasting.
My feelings for him are sempiternal.
That did it. He was probably the only man alive to masturbate after reading the dictionary. Clearly his self-control was in shambles.
They finally address it and they give each other permission to see where their lusty thoughts will take them
Bo wants to protect Astrid, and be there for her. His romantic gestures are sincere and adorable – like the watch he gets her with this inscription:
The engraving read: One day, three autumns.
A Chinese idiom that Bo had taught her years ago. It meant, When you miss someone, one day apart feels as long as three years.
Astrid pressed the watch to her breast and promptly fell apart.
Astrid is up for adventure and a little bit of a hot head. I really enjoyed her. She is so full of life and energy and so kind and sweet. I could have read another 300 pages about this couple without getting bored. Jenn Bennett has a terrific voice. She really dives deep into her characters and takes the reader right along with her. I find myself so invested in her world and her characters. And the romance is so rich and sexy. I just love it.
The paranormal mystery may have fizzled a little bit at the end, but overall a solid book.