The Love Talker - Elizabeth Peters

(No Series)

Laurie has finally returned to Idlewood, the beloved family home deep in the Maryland woods where she found comfort and peace as a lonely young girl. But things are very different now. There is no peace in Idlewood. The haunting sound of a distant piping breaks the stillness of a snowy winter's evening. Seemingly random events have begun to take on a sinister shape. And dotty old Great Aunt Lizzie is convinced that there are fairies about -- and she has photographs to prove it. For Laurie, one fact is becoming disturbingly clear: there is definitely something out there in the woods -- something fiendishly, cunningly, malevolently human -- and the lives of her aging loved ones, as well as Laurie's own, are suddenly at serious risk.

Having been a die-hard Barbara Michaels fan for years, I was almost reluctant to read her Elizabeth Peters persona. I know they're more popular but I thought that the changes would turn me off a bit. After reading The Love Talker, I'd recommend it as a good place to start for anyone else making the transition. Supposably this book is the closest to her Barbara Michaels style while still being a little different.

Since the story borderlines on the paranormal, but it never goes there, I can't help but think that if Peters had followed the story of the hypnotizing evil fairy this book would have turned out better. If she used the Michaels name (as so many reviewers have already said this seems more like a Michaels book than a Peters), and the supernatural angle to it's full force, it would have a bit more oomph in the long run.

Baffling and strange, The Love Talker focuses on fairies so much at the beginning I feared it was borderline fantasy. Nothing wrong with that I suppose, but I never find much fantasy I enjoy. For some reason my mind has trouble wrapping around some of the more odd concepts, so when it does read that it just shuts off interest, perhaps to avoid a headache from thinking so hard? How sad. :)

It took me a few days to return, but when I did the book had decided to pick up pace and become more familiar. The main character is the typical strong heroine type, a sharp wit and intelligent determined, not fearful but not overly bold to the point of being unrealistic. There wasn't the usual love interest until the end, that aspect was a little more dilute than other works. Still, I never guessed the ending romantic triangle, which came as more of surprise than the mystery itself. For some reason I guessed who the assailant(s) was, even if I was surprised by one of the accomplices. I couldn't figure out the reason though so it's all still good.

The aunts and uncle were a little weird, with Lizzie being out there she was sometimes migraine inducing. Doug was cute and the typical male hero on the novel. There were enough red herrings to fool the reader, and each eccentricity only added to the novel's appeal. The end show-down was ballsy enough to succeed, and the wrap-up was bittersweet (even if it wasn't adumbrated enough)

The Love Talker held more humor than some of the other books I've read by her, cleverly placed irony that bought the book a special flavoring. I laughed out loud more than once, the book using a humor that complimented but didn't overshadow the story. Pacing was a little slow at first and it takes awhile to build up steam, but this isn't abnormal with Michaels/Peters. Very little violence and no creepy, real suspense factor, but a very good mystery nonetheless. I'm thrilled my expectations of the Peters name brought about the same coziness felt in the gothic mysteries from Michaels; now I get to read more from a beloved author, just under a different name - how could it get better than that?

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