The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker

A good way to describe The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker is tense.  Not in a bad way, but in an anticipatory way.  You have the 6 Guards, chosen as children who have waited for their prophesized seventh member for almost two decades, the title character Percy Parker anticipating answers to the questions of who (or what) she is, the Darkness anticipating its return to chaos...and a timeless love waiting to be fulfilled.

No one person in the novel doesn't have something they are waiting for with bated breath.  As their lives progress and converge with Miss Percy Parker, the waiting is almost unbearable for some.  For others the waiting is an annoying burden to friendships and relationships they want to push farther.

I found myself drawn to Percy almost involuntarily.  Raised in a convent all eighteen years of her life, Percy would stand out for that alone, except she also has snow white hair and skin, eyes that glitter like diamonds and the ability to communicate with spirits.  Ok, and don’t forget the nightmarish dreams.  She couldn't help being different; she stood out no matter where she was or what she was doing.  For someone with a shy nature and anxiety over what others are thinking, I can well understand her hesitant approach to life.

The six Guards have a variety of personalities and sometimes they don't work well together.  I found myself liking Jane (or rather “Lucretia Marie O’Shannon Connor", an Irish lass given to dramatics and preferring her own company most often) and being greatly irritated by Rebecca.  She chastises their leader, Alexei, for being blind to other's thoughts and feelings, but she is guilty of the same!  Elijah and Josephine are amusing, while Michael is perhaps the biggest mystery to myself.

Alexei is definitely a stern man with a set ideal of behavior.  His approach to his duties as a Guard, to his hunt for Prophecy (used as a noun throughout, for their fabled 7th member) and his leadership are methodical.  He is a scientist by nature and would have contentedly remained so if not for the call to duty as a child.  I liked best that he didn't attempt to cover up the fact that he was a brusque man with little care for fools.

Watching the romance that the story both hinges on and dances around in a coy fashion kept me very interested.  I wanted to see if and when Alexei finally found his Prophecy, if Percy would find answers she sought, if other relationships not settled could be cemented.

I greatly enjoyed this book and look forward to the next of the quartet eagerly!

Book Blurb for The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker

The ghostly, Gothic Victorian fantasy begins!  First in the Strangely Beautiful quartet of novels...

What fortune awaited sweet, timid Percy Parker at Athens Academy? Considering how few of Queen Victoria’s Londoners knew of it, the great Romanesque fortress was dreadfully imposing, and little could Percy guess what lay inside. She had never met the powerful and mysterious Professor Alexi Rychman, knew nothing of the growing shadow, the Ripper and other supernatural terrors against which his coterie stood guard. She knew simply that she was different, haunted, with her snow-white hair, pearlescent skin and uncanny gifts. But this arched stone doorway offered a portal to a new life, an education far from the convent—and an invitation to an intimate yet dangerous dance at the threshold of life and death….

Night Owl Reviews Sep, 2009 5.00