The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal by K.J. Charles

The Secret Casebook  of Simon Feximal

(No Series)

A story too secret, too terrifying—and too shockingly intimate—for Victorian eyes.

A note to the Editor

Dear Henry,

I have been Simon Feximal’s companion, assistant and chronicler for twenty years now, and during that time my Casebooks of Feximal the Ghost-Hunter have spread the reputation of this most accomplished of ghost-hunters far and wide.

You have asked me often for the tale of our first meeting, and how my association with Feximal came about. I have always declined, because it is a story too private to be truthfully recounted, and a memory too precious to be falsified. But none knows better than I that stories must be told.

So here is it, Henry, a full and accurate account of how I met Simon Feximal, which I shall leave with my solicitor to pass to you after my death.

I dare say it may not be quite what you expect.

Robert Caldwell
September 1914

“A story without an ending is an unbearable itch to the reader.”

I'm gaga over K.J. Charles, I admit it. Love most of her stuff, especially Think of England and the trilogy for The Magpie Lord. Even if this wasn't a favorite like those, it was hard to put down.

A good book, non-conventional as it's told in the space of earlier cases worked together. It starts with a letter where the protagonist promises to tell his history with the infamous Simon Feximal, a paranormal investigator who reached fame through stories and reputation. The story involves some of their cases together, a few out of order, highlights of their career, and of course the romantic relationship that developed between the two. As the 'author' himself states, most of the stories are when they were younger and strengthened by youth, looking back on the starts and that magic of beginning relationships.

This book was sweet, and wonderful, and interesting - but it made my heart hurt a little at the end. I think this is the main reason it didn't reach higher star status. The writing style was great as always, the stories well told, the characters loveable, but there was this bittersweet tragedy that I felt when closing the cover. I saw it coming in advance for some reason, some foreshadowing I guess, and I ended up dreading it. It's not an unhappy ending, but there's just something about it - a touch of sadness about life's realities - that just got to me somehow. Hard to shake off.

I love how K.J. Charles throws together conflicting characters who match each other because of their differences. Simon is serious and glorious, Robert at first bumbling and adorable but later loyal and constant. There's also some side characters who work well, especially Simon's sister.

Some spicy stuff that goes on for sure, but the intensity - as always with KJ Charles talented hand - comes from the heart and emotions. The first story is the best in terms of sizzling bedroom chemistry, loved it. Each story was intriguing because - hello! - ghosts and paranormal stuff.

There's a pain about this one, but it's a great read regardless. Their relationship is so sweet, so close, and endures through the ages. It's touching and realistic. Through thick and thin, age and trials, they endure. Despite whatever sadness I felt, that their love conquers all, climbing from young excitement to aged comfort, is the most inspiring of emotions. Again, Bravo. So far I haven't read any story of hers that wasn't a "keeper."

   Book Quotes:

“In writing Simon's stories, I have written myself out of my own life.”

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