Delia's Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer

(Delia Martin, #1)
Published Sept. 17, 2013
Gothic, Paranormal Romance

A dark, romantic fantasy set against the backdrop of San Francisco devastated by the Great Quake

It is the dawn of a new century in San Francisco and Delia Martin is a wealthy young woman whose life appears ideal. But a dark secret colors her life, for Delia’s most loyal companions are ghosts, as she has been gifted (or some would say cursed) with an ability to peer across to the other side.

Since the great quake rocked her city in 1906, Delia has been haunted by an avalanche of the dead clamoring for her help. Delia flees to the other side of the continent, hoping to gain some peace. After several years in New York, Delia believes she is free…until one determined specter appears and she realizes that she must return to the City by the Bay in order to put this tortured soul to rest.

It will not be easy, as the ghost is only one of the many victims of a serial killer who was never caught. A killer who after thirty years is killing again.

And who is now aware of Delia’s existence.

Delia’s Shadow promises quite a bit: Victorian Society; Human-Ghost Interaction; Gothic ambience; Paranormal Mystery. While the book delivers all it promises, it holds back a bit at the same time.

Delia is returning home to be reunited with her childhood friend who is about to be married, and her surrogate mother who is on the eve of her deathbed. She’s not returning home alone, though – a ghost is trailing her, encouraging her to return home for reasons Delia can’t figure out. Meanwhile, Sadie’s fiancĂ© Jack and friend Gabe are on the hunt for a serial killer who has been terrorizing the small town.

The story is a great concept. It has a lot going for it. The ambience is potent, and I could almost feel the fog on my face as I was reading the flashback scenes. I loved the psychic and she turned out to be my favorite. The gothic theme is used strongly and without shame. I do love how the plot is intertwined with so many secrets and how these connect to the characters in surprising ways.

Issues arise with the characterization. They didn’t seem convincingly, too good to be true, especially the police force. Delia and Gabe’s relationship also rang false since neither were convincing. As it typical with Gothic romances, the rushed love is usually unrealistic and without much buildup for that special connection. Also, for the house being full of ghosts, it was surprisingly non-eerie. I would forget about them being there unless the author mentioned it after a while. More could have been done with them.

While the mystery stayed a mystery, it was intriguing enough, but I feel the mystery was dropped too soon and fell off. The villain is a creative twist by identity, but I wish it could have been discovered a little later. It isn’t gory, although deaths are tragically felt.

I think one of the scenes that will stay with me the most is when the ghosts send Sadie on a vision, and Teddy looks at her once they arrive before evaporating into a cloud of dust. Beautiful stuff. You could certainly feel the haunting, paranormal elements swirling around.

There is one more thing to mention: weird POV struggles. It’s not unusual to have two points of view, one male and one female, but never when that’s done does it switch from first person point of view to third. Each section is labeled by the name Gabe or Delia, and when in Gabe’s head it was “He said…”, but when it’s Delia, it was “I thought…,etc.”

It’s the first of the series. I’m not sure where it will go from here, but I’m curious. And surely I’m not the only one who has massive cover love?

An enjoyable novel but ultimately parts of the ghost story are a little lifeless.

Copy Provided by Publisher for Review

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