Author: Jenn Bennett
What I’m Talking About:
Having truly enjoyed the first story in the Roaring Twenties series, Bitter Spirits, I was both excited and a little anxious about the second novel, Grim Shadows. As it turns out, I liked it just as much. This time, we get to know the younger Magnusson brother, Lowe, who’s taken his older brother’s knack for illegal activities in a different direction by forging (not entirely) lawfully obtained Egyptian antiquities and passing them off as originals to various interested parties. In addition to bringing back the Magnusson clan, we’re also introduced to Hadley Bacall, an “oddball” museum curator whose only desire is to be named her father’s successor as head of the antiquities department at the museum where she works.
Lowe is definitely my favorite character in Grim Shadows, his playfulness and apparent absence of any real caution masking a deeply rooted cynicism and pervasive self-loathing. Part of what makes Lowe so entertaining, however, is that his unspoken observations, about Hadley’s physical attributes, in particular, are hilariously similar to those of an eighteen-year-old boy. Of course, once Hadley demands to be treated as if she were a man in terms of the quest they’ve undertaken, Lowe shrugs off any sort of filter at all. While he is, technically, a grown man, Lowe is in no way an adult in the beginning of the story, preferring to evade the consequences of his actions by any means necessary rather than own up to making them in the first place. Yet, his desire to make things right, combined with his ardent hope for something more with Hadley, made me want things to work out for them very much.
Hadley is yet another entirely unique character, and can be quite intimidating in her own right. Well-educated, isolated, sometimes feared, and rightfully bitter about the lack of opportunities afforded her despite her qualifications, she has little tolerance for anything remotely frivolous. Not only does she have to contend with the unceasing biases against her, especially given the time period and her field of expertise, she has a very real curse to bear. Her relentless grip on her self-control is exhausting, but it’s her best defense, which makes Lowe an extremely dangerous ally, not to mention the most fascinating man she’s ever met.
One of the things I was most pleased about was that Ms. Bennett continues to multitask exceptionally well in Grim Shadows. Filled with interesting historical and mystical details, it’s at once a ghost story, a treasure caper, as well as a murder mystery. Hadley and Lowe are well matched in knowledge as well as passions, Lowe’s own close brushes with darker forces making him a good balance for Hadley’s secrets. Grim Shadows moves quickly, with both Lowe and Hadley growing more desperate to solve the puzzle they’ve been tasked with as the story progresses.
Grim Shadows was not only a well-written and conceived follow-up to Bitter Spirits, but was a lot of fun to read. Hadley and Lowe are wonderful together, and I found it impossible not to get caught up in their journey. The Magnusson family, made even better with the addition of Aida, were a pleasure to see again, providing not only important insight into Lowe’s personality, but some welcome doses of comic relief as well. Overall, Grim Shadows is a solid addition to the series, and I’m very excited to see what Ms. Bennett has planned next.
My Rating: A- Enjoyed A Lot
About the Book:
Archaeologist Lowe Magnusson is packing something everyone wants. The djed amulet, a priceless Egyptian artifact, will fetch Lowe a hefty paycheck from one of San Francisco’s wealthiest. But when the handsome Swede runs into his patron’s uptight daughter, what he once considered easy money becomes a maddening complication…
Cursed with deadly spirits as her constant companions, curator Hadley Bacall must keep calm to hold her dangerous specters at bay and prevent them from lashing out at anything—or anyone. Trouble is, Lowe is driving her crazy, but her father needs the artifact he’s transporting. While Hadley can feel the amulet’s power, she can’t fathom the destruction—or the desire—it’s about to stir up.
Series: Roaring Twenties #2
Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance
Format(s): paperback (352 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: NetGalley/Publisher
Grim Shadows (Roaring Twenties #2)
Reviews in the Series:
Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett (Roaring Twenties #1)