My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: The Mad Morelands #1
Publication Date: December 26th, 2017 by Harlequin Books (first published October 1st, 2003)
PHENOMENAL read!!! I have a feeling I am going to run out of superlatives before I am through reading this entire series. I read the sixth book in the series first – because I received a review copy. I was so in awe of the writing, the story and the Moreland family in that book that I just had to go back and read all of the first books. Boy am I glad I did. I can’t think of a better introduction to a series than this book! I also now have the rest of the books in my reading queue so I can get them read before the next one comes out.
Stephen St. Leger is the second son of an Earl. He never expects and certainly didn’t want to inherit the title – but he has and now he’ll have to do his best by it. He had lived in America – Colorado – for the last ten years and had made a fortune in silver mining, now he had to sell out and head back to England – something he didn’t think he’d ever do. He didn’t leave on the best of terms with his older brother and it was all over a calculating, cold, self-centered woman. Stephen met her and fell in love (at least he thought it was love) and then when he proudly introduced her to his family, she promptly went after his brother because he had the wealth and title. Stephen and Roderick had harsh, hurtful words and Stephen left for America.
Upon his return to England, he spends several months at their country estate – Blackhope – in order to familiarize himself with the running of the estate and its tenants. At the end of the season, he heads to London to pick up his mother, sister, and his brother’s widow and return them home. What he finds when he arrives is chaos. His mother has been seeing a ‘medium’ and she is totally convinced that this woman can speak to the dead – specifically to Stephen’s dead brother. She invites this woman, her daughter and their ‘sponsor’ to come back to Blackhope with them. Before that happens, Stephen decides to attend a séance just to see how they work. While there, he grabs onto a woman who he is sure is an accomplice to the charlatan medium. His whole body jolts when his hand wraps around her wrist. They are thrown out of the séance and she is absolutely and completely furious with him – but gives him her card anyway.
Olivia Moreland is the daughter of a duke. Theirs is a very large, loving, and unconventional family. That unconventionality is what has earned them the epithet of ‘The Mad Morelands’. Olivia is incensed when one of the first things out of the mouth of the stranger who dared to grab her during the séance is a referral to her family as The Mad Morelands. She sets him in his place quite thoroughly, but she hands him one of her business cards. You see – she is an investigator whose mission is to expose all of those fake mediums who have invaded London in the last few years. They both leave and she never expects to see or hear from him again. Just imagine her shock when he turns up at her office the next day and asks to hire her.
She travels to Blackhope the following week and the strange events begin immediately. She has a vision upon arrival (all of the Morelands seem to have some special ability) and she is shocked. Nothing like that has ever happened to her before. The strange occurrences just continue and they keep you riveted – turning the pages as fast as you can read them. Is the villain a real live person or a ghost? Or – is it both?
I cannot recommend this book highly enough! It is an exciting page-turner – I couldn’t put it down once I started reading – and yes, that meant an all-nighter. I loved being introduced to the Moreland family and particularly liked Olivia’s Great-Uncle Bertrand as well as Stephen’s sister Belinda. I can’t wait to meet the rest of the Moreland clan in their own books!
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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”