“With every fiber of my being, I yearned to be normal. To glide through my days at Iverson without incident. But I’d have to face the fact that my life was about to unfold in a very, very different way than I’d ever envisioned. Normal would become forever out of reach.”Lora Jones has always known that she’s different. On the outside, she appears to be an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl. Yet Lora’s been keeping a heartful of secrets: She hears songs that no one else can hear, dreams vividly of smoke and flight, and lives with a mysterious voice inside her that insists she’s far more than what she seems.
England, 1915. Raised in an orphanage in a rough corner of London, Lora quickly learns to hide her unique abilities and avoid attention. Then, much to her surprise, she is selected as the new charity student at Iverson, an elite boarding school on England’s southern coast. Iverson’s eerie, gothic castle is like nothing Lora has ever seen. And the two boys she meets there will open her eyes and forever change her destiny.
Jesse is the school’s groundskeeper—a beautiful boy who recognizes Lora for who and what she truly is. Armand is a darkly handsome and arrogant aristocrat who harbors a few closely guarded secrets of his own. Both hold the answers to her past. One is the key to her future. And both will aim to win her heart. As danger descends upon Iverson, Lora must harness the powers she’s only just begun to understand, or else lose everything she dearly loves.
Filled with lush atmosphere, thrilling romance, and ancient magic, The Sweetest Dark brilliantly captures a rich historical era while unfolding an enchanting love story that defies time.This book starts out with Lora, without memory, as a 10 yr. old child on the streets of London. Soon after, with the charity of nearby folks, she finds her way into an orphanage. A few years later and as war looms Lorna finds herself with an opportunity for learning at a privileged boarding school. She also finds herself amongst someone else just as strange as herself. This kicks of the start of figuring out who she truly can become.
Reading more like a historical YA I slid into the lyrical writing of the author and found myself at the beginning of a mystery. The mystery of Lorna. Not just who she was and where she came from, but what she was. I loved the writing, but still felt a bit apart from the characters even though I liked them from the beginning. Still the writing itself engaged me.
The writing isn't the only thing that engaged me, but the mystery of Lorna. Why she perceives things in the way that she does, where she came from... what it all means. During the mystery a letter suddenly appears becomes quite confusing. It seemed to have no part in the tale. You wonder about the editing, but it seems purposeful. As frustrating as this was, as confusing as it was, it also made me curious. Trusting the author I knew it would be of import and slowly the pieces came together. As the parts came together so did my connection to all the major players in the mystery. The letter also finds it's place of import. I also found myself not wanting to put the book down.
I give this book 4 stars. I really enjoyed Shana Abé's writing. Although this book ends fully and feels like a standalone, it is actually part of a series and I can't wait to read the next installment. I'm now on the lookout for other books by this author as well.
I received this eARC from the publisher and NetGalley and no compensation for my review was given.