Where she hooked me first was her writing. It feels atmospheric and haunting. It's like it called wildly and vividly to me. That sounds funny, I know, but there is just something about the words on these pages. They swept me away from the very first sentence and I was so not ready to say goodbye.
And then there's the characters! Lyn is our heroine who's fighting a battle of heartache, which is reiterated by the dreams she keeps having. But then when she gets to Castle Farm and meets all the rest of the characters, each of them made a deep impression as well. Even though we don't get the full description of each of their pasts, somehow they all feel fully fleshed out, with depths that I want to know more about. I'm not sure how Ms. Kearsley did it, but every character felt real and I could imagine them moving in the background, even though they may not have been in the particular scene I was reading.
Also the story itself was so compelling. I sped through the pages and could not bear to pause, especially in moments where I knew I had to. Somehow it kept playing in my head while I handled real life and once I picked it up again, I was immediately swept back in with no problem. I loved all the bookish references (helped a great deal by the fact that three of the characters are writers! :), and the mystery of trying to figure out if the things that happened were real or simply Elen's imagination. The dreams that Lyn keeps having and how all the mythical discussions played into what was going on just intrigued me further. I tend to be the type that doesn't figure out what's really going on until the characters do and I loved how all the different clues finally started coming together and making sense.
Seriously, I could gush for paragraphs more, but I will stop here and say only that I highly recommend this one. It's delightful, and with just the perfect amount of romantic tension, I really think you should read it! :)
"The playwright," I prompted him, ignoring Bridget.
"Oh right," He nodded, picking up the thread of conversation. "Well, you'll have heard the name, of course-he's rather more famous than my brother, and a good thing too, because old James is vain enough already-"
A new voice interrupted from the back door; a cultured male voice, instantly identifiable. "That's slander, that is." He let the kitchen door swing closed again behind him as he came into the warmth, his blue eyes finding Bridget first, then Christopher, and finally coming to rest on me. "Miss Ravenshaw, I presume." The familiar smile flashed, as James Swift came across to greet me, offering a hand streaked with red from the afternoon's shooting. "Don't mind the blood," he said, "I've just committed murder."