New-Adult, Historical, Fantasy, Paranormal, Greek Mythology
eARC provided by author for review
My Rating 4 Stars
Haunted by a crushing fear of death, a young Victorian woman discovers the secret of eternal youth—she must surrender her life to attain it, and steal heartbeats to keep it.
In 1860 Surrey, a young woman has only one occupation: to marry. Senza Fyne is beautiful, intelligent, and lacks neither wealth nor connections. Finding a husband shouldn’t be difficult, not when she has her entire life before her.
But it’s not life that preoccupies her thoughts. It’s death—and that shadowy spectre haunts her every step.
So does Mr. Knell. Heart-thumpingly attractive, obviously eligible—he’d be her perfect match if only he wasn’t so macabre. All his talk about death, all that teasing about knowing how to avoid it…
When her mother arranges a courtship with another man, Senza is desperate for escape from a dull prescripted destiny. Impulsively, she takes Knell up on his offer. He casts a spell that frees her from the cruelty of time and the threat of death—but at a steep price. In order to maintain eternal youth, she must feed on the heartbeats of others.
It’s a little bit Jane Austen, a little bit Edgar Allen Poe, and a whole lot of stealing heartbeats in order to stay young and beautiful forever. From the posh London season to the back alleys of Whitechapel, across the Channel, across the Pond, across the seas of Time…
How far will Senza Fyne go to avoid Death?
REVIEW How far would you go to avoid death? Would you make a deal with the devil himself? Drink some magical potion to live forever, never changing? Well, Senza Fyne makes one heck of a choice to avoid the thing she’s most afraid of – death. I love the amazing writing of this story. And while I enjoyed that aspect, I was somewhat disappointed in the scarceness of Death himself.
Senza Fyne is a young woman of privilege in 1860 England. Beauty is as natural to her as green is to grass. She’s about to make her debut to society, and in turn, land herself a husband who is worthy of her. Well, that’s the plan her mother has for her only daughter. But when death is taking away the people she loves the most, she becomes increasingly panicked about dying. Enter knell, the mysterious – yet handsome – stranger, and he has taken up residence in Senza’s every thought. He knows her fear, and offers her an out of sorts, in exchange for her life force. By the time she realizes that all is not as it seems, it’s too late to take it back. And so begins the life of thievery for Senza, in the stealing of heartbeats from unsuspecting folk. Her heart no longer beats, so she has to take those of another.
I really liked the mystery of Knell. He swoops in with his dark charm and takes Senza by surprise. She was a fool to fall for it. I wish there had been more of him throughout the story. Instead, we have Senza narrating her way through time, never aging, always the same. She meets some interesting people throughout the decades. I love the historical aspects, especially the time that Senza spent in Whitechapel. Hello, Jack The Ripper is running rampant and she is a young woman alone walking those dreadful streets!! And just when she makes a friend and is about to leave, death comes a knocking. Not for her, but for some very unfortunate people. I really loved that scene at the end of her stay in Whitechapel.
I really wanted this to be much darker than it was. It was dampened down by Senza’s endless monologue about what was happening, had happened, or where she was. The book spanned more than 150 years, and there was city after city, country after country. The story is rather poetic, which I loved. The ending came as a shock. I didn’t know how it would all wrap up, but I wasn’t expecting Death to be so honest about why he chose Senza to begin with. It would have been nice to have more from his character throughout. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It makes one wonder about living life and dying respectfully. Recommended!