Book Review: The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart by Leanna Renee Hieber

21 Oct

ImageIn this sequel to Darker Still, Natalie and Lord Denbury are back and on the train out west to escape the magical and demonic goings-on that they left behind in New York. But they can’t stay long; soon after arriving, Denbury runs into a man who seems to think he’s still the demon. And Natalie starts having dreams again, this time about her friend Rachel, who appears to be dealing with some ghostly nuisances of her own. Meanwhile, Denbury must face down one of the scariest men of all… Natalie’s father.

Just for reference, I gave Darker Still 4-5 stars. I gave this one two.

My problems with this book aren’t entirely down to the author, I don’t think. The whole thing read like huge chunks had been taken out and the transitions had been forgotten about. Here are my complaints:

1. Timeline. From the first few chapters I was incredibly confused about how much time had passed. The book picks up right where the last one left off–Natalie and Denbury are on a train out of New York. We’re given very little indication about how long it takes the train to travel halfway across the country, and it seems like the pair are halfway across the country for a matter of hours. In which case, why was everyone panicking quite so much when they returned?

2. What was the point of going out west anyway? When this pair got on the train at the end of Darker Still, I was so excited for the sequel because I assumed the next book would be taking place out west. And yet, they were there for all of a few minutes and then back they trotted to New York. Everything that happened out there could have just as easily have happened in New York, and honestly, I don’t think they really tied it all back together at the end, either.

3. The romance. Okay, so I mentioned this in Darker Still as well, but the romance is just over-the-top. I mean, for something set back in the day with an upstanding gentleman who intends to make this woman his wife and a middle-class girl who must have some standards, they go a little too far for my taste, and anyway, it all seems practically irrelevant to the overall storyline. It would have been far more interesting if they were at each other’s throats for most of the book and loved each other at the end.

4. What was the point of Nathaniel? When they get back from New York, Denbury runs off to London to sort out his affairs and sends a message to Natalie telling her to go meet up with Nathaniel. Honestly, the only thing that came out of that really was that she then had a dream about kissing Nathaniel which Denbury walked in on and he was momentarily upset but swiftly got over it. Attempt at love triangle? I have no idea. And then he didn’t show up until the very end of the book after that.

5. Maggie was useless again. I wrote about my misgivings about Maggie’s place in the story in my review of Darker Still and said “maybe she’ll have more of a point in the sequel.” I suppose she did, but all was not revealed until the very end, and even then it seemed like it could be cut.

6. The plot took place in too many different settings, over too short a period of time, with too many plot points that went largely undeveloped. It was like the author was juggling far too many apples at once. I saw two main strands of plot: people are trying to create Frankenstein, and the demon is back. I think these two were supposed to be intertwined, but they weren’t. They were simply separate, a little convoluted, and disappointing.

I honestly can’t say much in way of good about this book, except that it has a good prequel. Darker Still is well worth the read (you can find a link to my review at the top of this post). I mentioned in it that it didn’t seem to need a sequel, and I maintain that. I highly recommend reading Darker Still if you’re interested in historical ghost story type books, but be warned: you might be disappointed in the sequel.

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One Response to “Book Review: The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart by Leanna Renee Hieber”

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  1. 2013: A Year of Reading in Review | More Than One Page - December 26, 2013

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