Appearances don't always reveal the truth. Grace Latimer knows this better than most. Illusions of commitment and comfort have her trapped—until bohemian adventurer Nick Heysham charms his way into her world. Commissioned to recover a Great Exhibition architect's missing designs, he persuades her to assist in his research. The mystery of the Crystal Palace seduces Grace, and once she discovers clues about a forbidden Victorian love affair, she's lured into the deep secrets of the past…secrets that resemble her own.
As Grace and Nick dig into the elusive architect's illicit, long-untold story, the ghosts of guilt and forbidden passion slip free. And history is bound to repeat itself, unless Grace finds the courage to break free and find a new definition of love…
Summary & Cover taken from Goodreads.com
Length: 264 pages (E-book)
Source: Review Copy
Available Formats: E-book
Publication Date: August 4th 2014 by Harlequin E
If you had asked me to read a book that takes place in two very different times a few years back I probably would have turned you down. I wasn't much of a fan of the whole split timeline thing back then and I suppose it's because to me I find that that the story has to be just so to really work for me and in the Crystal Cage I loved the way the author used this style of story telling.
For me though, because there are two stories being told that are bound so tightly together that I often find it hard to describe the story without giving to much away so if I'm to brief it's all because I try not to stick spoilers in my reviews.
As you've gathered I'm a huge fan of how this story turned out. When I first got the invite for the book I was so excited, I loved the premise but thought that it would actually be a bit of a lighter read (nothing wrong with a light Historical), but The Crystal Cage had much more substance to it and that was a major factor if not the major factor that made me such a fan.
There was more than just a love story in this 264 page volume, there were two love stories in fact and a pretty well fleshed out mystery that had it's fair share of plot twists that kept me on my toes and I liked that Grace and Nick had a bit of a treasure hunt on their hands when it came to the lost architectural plans. I like how both history, mystery and romance were mixed together the way it was because it made the characters all that much more likeable.
Grace, I found was a little bit of an enigma for a good bit in the book. I didn't not like her but she was like a riddle that I had to figure out, and I enjoyed that she had layers to her character, just like Nick. I also very much enjoyed Alessia's character as well since she was a large part of the story as a whole and how all the characters were different and played off each other.
While it wasn't a light read, it wasn't too heavy and I enjoyed the pace at which the story moved. I didn't once get bored and managed to polish this one off in a couple glorious hours of relaxing. As a debut, I'd say that the author Merryn Allingham is an author that I'm going to have to watch out for in the future because her story telling was wonderful.
My father was a soldier and most of my childhood was spent moving from place to place, school to school, including several years living in Egypt and Germany. I loved some of the schools I attended, but hated others, so it wasn’t too surprising that I left half way through the sixth form with ‘A’ Levels unfinished.
I became a secretary, as many girls did at the time, only to realise that the role of handmaiden wasn’t for me. Escape beckoned when I landed a job with an airline. I was determined to see as much of the world as possible, and working as cabin crew I met a good many interesting people and enjoyed some great experiences – riding in the foothills of the Andes, walking by the shores of Lake Victoria, flying pilgrims from Kandahar to Mecca to mention just a few.
I still love to travel and visit new places, especially those with an interesting history, but the arrival of marriage and children meant a more settled existence on the south coast of England, where I’ve lived ever since. It also gave me the opportunity to go back to ‘school’ and eventually gain a PhD from the University of Sussex. For many years I taught university literature and loved every minute of it. What could be better than spending my life reading and talking about books? Well, perhaps writing them.
I’ve always had a desire to write but there never seemed time to do more than dabble with the occasional short story. And my day job ensured that I never lost the critical voice in my head telling me that I really shouldn’t bother. But gradually the voice started growing fainter and at the same time the idea that I might actually write a whole book began to take hold. My cats – two stunning cream and lilac shorthairs – gave their approval, since it meant my spending a good deal more time at home with them!
The 19th century is my special period of literature and I grew up reading Georgette Heyer, so when I finally found the courage to try writing for myself, the books had to be Regency romances. Over the last four years, writing as Isabelle Goddard, I’ve published six novels set in the Regency period.
Since then, I’ve moved on a few years to Victorian England, and I’ve changed genre too. The Crystal Cage is my first novel under the name of Merryn Allingham. The book is a mystery/romantic suspense and tells the story of a long-lost tragedy, and the way echoes from the past can powerfully influence the life of a modern day heroine. The next few Allingham books will see yet another move timewise. I’ve been writing a suspense trilogy set in India and wartime London during the 1930s and 1940s, and hope soon to have news of publication.
Whatever period, whatever genre, creating new worlds and sharing them with readers gives me huge pleasure and I can’t think of a better job.
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