Sunday, October 2, 2011

Texas Gothic

I was sucked into this gripping, funny novel from the moment I opened it, and I had that "Where has this author been all my life?" feeling as I read.  I knew right away that I'd just discovered a new favorite author, and isn't that just the best feeling?

Amy Goodnight has agreed to take care of her aunt's ranch in Texas while her aunt takes her first vacation in years.  Amy's sister Phin is there to "help" her, but Phin is always absorbed in her various esoteric experiments, so Amy ends up doing most of the practical chores around the place.  She tries to act as though everything is perfectly normal, but the fact is that her family is anything but.  They are a family of witches, each with their own specific skill set, but Amy tries to present a normal front to the rest of the world.

Keeping up appearances isn't easy, though, when a powerful ghost shows up, determined to communicate with Amy.  She is terrified, beset by disturbing childhood memories that made her turn away from her supernatural abilities in the first place.  But as the situation escalates, involving outsiders (including a handsome, highly annoying cowboy from the neighboring ranch, an archaeological dig, and a team of ghost-hunting grad students), it becomes clear that the situation is not only dangerous, but risks exposing all the secrets Amy has been striving for so long to keep hidden.

What a fun, quirky, creepy novel this is.  I loved Amy and her bizarre family, particularly the interplay between her and her sister Phin.  The supernatural aspects are skillfully woven into a story with engaging characters, a solid mystery, romance, and plenty of humor interspersed with spine-tingling moments.  This is my first book by Rosemary Clement-Moore, and I'm delighted that she has several others out there, which I've already added to my list.  Fans of Nina Kiriki Hoffman will be sure to enjoy this one - it has that same character-driven, contemporary/fantastical feel to it, and it really hit the spot as my second read for this year's R.I.P. Challenge.

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore (Delacorte Press, 2011

Also reviewed at:
Bibliophile Support Group:  "It's sexier, deeper, ghostier Nancy Drew-like fun! It's crackling with tension - both the sexual and the paranormal - and I was glued and totally invested in both the characters and the plot!"
The Ya Ya Yas:  "Overall, I liked Texas Gothic but didn’t love it. Mostly because I was lot more interested in the Phin-Mark romance than Amy-Ben, which I never completely bought into."

4 comments:

  1. The title and cover would have made me stay far, far away from this one. I read the first paragraph of your post in my feed reader and knew I had to stop, and come read the entire post here. You have made me do a complete 180 on whether or not I'd read the book. (throwing in the word "witches" helped, a lot too!) It's not on my goodreads wish list!

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  2. I love your hair!!! I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. Poking around, looking for other reviews to link to, I get the impression that people enjoy her series as much as or more than this one, so I'm going to try that next.

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  3. This book looks rather good. Thanks for reviewing it! I had never even heard of it before.

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  4. Kailana - I think I just read the description of it when it was on my library's recently ordered list, and it sounded like fun. I like when I pick up a book on a whim and it turns out to be unexpectedly good!

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