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About Amanda DeWees
Atlanta author Amanda DeWees wrote her doctoral dissertation on 19th-century vampire literature, the perfect training (although she didn’t realize it at the time) for writing Victorian gothic romance novels. These include With This Curse, which won the 2015 Daphne du Maurier Award for historical mystery/suspense, and Sea of Secrets, a reimagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet that won the 2012 RONE award in mystery. Her other works include the Ash Grove Chronicles, a young adult paranormal romance series set in modern-day North Carolina.
Besides writing, Amanda's passions include theater, movies, costume design, and Chris Evans, not necessarily in that order. Visit her at www.amandadewees.com for book extras and other delightful diversions.
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When innocent young Oriel Pembroke is disowned by her cruel father in 1855 and takes refuge at the sumptuous seaside estate of Ellsmere, she doesn’t expect to fall in love with the brooding young duke, Herron—or to find her fragile new happiness tainted by his suspicions about the death of his father. Did his uncle truly murder the late duke, or is Herron’s grief tipping into madness? As Oriel tries to uncover the truth, she learns that there may be a shocking secret in her own past... a secret that could put her own life in danger.
Sea of Secrets is a haunting return to the traditional gothic romance as perfected by Barbara Michaels and Daphne du Maurier, as well as a fascinating take on Shakespeare’s Hamlet reimagined for a Victorian gothic setting. Find out why Oriel’s story was awarded the 2012 Reward of Novel Excellence and has been hailed as “a beautiful and suspenseful novel that is a pure pleasure to read” (InD’Tale Magazine) and “a haunting, gripping saga that will keep you flipping the pages” (Gothic Romance Reviews). Whether you are a fan of historical mysteries, coming-of-age stories, or richly imagined women’s fiction, you won’t want to miss Sea of Secrets.
Includes book club discussion questions.
When Sybil takes the stage again, murder plays the leading role. In September 1873, actress and spirit medium Sybil Ingram is eagerly anticipating her marriage to dashing violinist Roderick Brooke. But the wedding plans are halted by Roderick's former lover, Julia de Lioncourt, who implores him to come to Paris to rescue her from a blackmailer.
Knowing how guilty Roderick still feels for killing Julia's husband in a duel, Sybil agrees to help Julia for his sake--even though it means becoming her understudy in a French melodrama. Worse, it's all too clear that the scheming diva wants Roderick back in her bed. When the blackmailer is found dead, can Sybil's abilities as a medium help her discover the truth before the killer stops her?
A delicious blend of historical cozy, supernatural mystery, gothic romance, and romantic comedy, the Sybil Ingram Victorian mysteries are perfect for readers who love dynamic Victorian women sleuths like Anna Lee Huber's Lady Darby, Penny Richards' Lilly Long, Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia Grey, and Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody. And be sure not to miss Sybil's other adventures: Nocturne for a Widow, A Haunting Reprise, and the short holiday stories "Christmas at Gravesend" and "Spectral Strains"!
Can a curse strike twice? In 1854, Clara Crofton was dismissed from her chambermaid position at Gravesend Hall for falling in love with the younger son of the house. When he died soon after in the Crimean War, she blamed the Gravesend Curse.
Now, however, she has the chance to return to the sinister manor in triumph through a marriage of convenience to Atticus Blackwood, the twin brother of her dead sweetheart. But as gentle as her new husband appears, Clara knows that he has hidden motives for marrying her. And when another death occurs, she fears that the curse has struck again...and that this time she will not escape.
With This Curse was awarded the 2015 Daphne du Maurier Award in historical mystery/suspense. It captures all the intrigue, romantic tension, and sumptuous Victorian atmosphere of gothic romance in the classic tradition, enhanced by the sly humor for which Amanda DeWees is renowned. And when you're ready for more romance and gothic adventure, be sure to read the thrilling sequel, Cursed Once More!
Includes book club discussion questions.
When Sybil returns to her London roots, the past comes back to haunt her. Actress-turned-medium Sybil Ingram is enjoying life in Paris with her new husband, violinist Roderick Brooke, when her past suddenly catches up with her in the form of her pushy little sister. Polly wants Sybil to help her become an actress--which means getting the blessing of their father, who is near death.
Back in London, Sybil's homecoming is chilly. Even worse is her reunion with her former mentor, Gerhardt Atherton, who is still falsely claiming that Sybil embezzled from the theater troupe. When Atherton is found dead, his business partner, Ivor Treherne, is arrested for murder.
But Sybil isn't satisfied that the police have unearthed the whole story. Matters reach a crisis when the drama in her family takes a supernatural form. As she turns to a fellow medium to help her banish a poltergeist and determine who really killed Atherton, Sybil soon realizes that someone is trying to silence her...perhaps for good.
A Haunting Reprise is the third full-length adventure featuring Sybil Ingram and Roderick Brooke. If you've enjoyed the combination of mystery, humor, romance, and the supernatural in Nocturne for a Widow and The Last Serenade, you won't want to miss this one! And be sure not to miss Sybil's Christmas adventures in "Spectral Strains" and "Christmas at Gravesend"!
--A Victorian woman photographer finds an unconventional way to save a man who is possessed by a malicious spirit ("The Rathburn Legacy")
--In pursuing her hobby of taking gravestone rubbings, a gentle spinster gets more than she bargained for ("The Woman Who Loved Dogs")
--On the night of a mysterious butterfly phenomenon, high school senior Gail must rescue a little girl and make big choices about the future ("On Shadowed Wings")
--A medium who senses emotion through fabric seeks the cause of two poisonings that prevented a wedding ("The Deadly Dress")
--Sybil Ingram and her husband, Roderick Brooke, solve mysteries involving restless spirits, reckless humans, and two orphaned children who may be possessed by the spirits of a dead governess and valet.
Author notes offer behind-the-scenes details on all of the stories. From the chilling to the charming, the stories in this collection are all unique and unforgettable.
"While you will find a great deal of wit, charm, and romance [here]...Amanda DeWees knows her way around a horror yarn and she has a few surprises waiting for you." --Charles R. Rutledge, horror/suspense author
Featuring stories by:
James A Moore
Stephen Mark Rainey
Charles R Rutledge
Mercedes M Yardley
And Classic Stories by:
Arthur Conan Doyle
1858: Heiress Eleanor Fairley marries Connor Blake, a heroic veteran of the Crimean War. Only after he takes her to the isolated estate of Sterne House does she begin to realize that he may not be what he seems—and that she herself may be no more than a stepping-stone to his true ambitions.
1860: Connor Blake, now a widower, marries penniless beauty Cecily Jaine. In the imposing surroundings of Sterne House, Cecily senses everywhere the presence of her predecessor. The more she learns about her husband’s first wife, the more she suspects that even in death Eleanor’s fate is closely entwined with her own...and that Cecily herself may be in grave danger from her husband.
In the tradition of Amanda DeWees' award-winning gothic romantic suspense novels With This Curse and Sea of Secrets, A Dangerous Observer alternates between the stories of Eleanor and Cecily, two women separated by time but united by the enigmatic man they both married—and the house that keeps their secrets.
She went in search of her past… and found danger in the present. Former seamstress Clara Blackwood seems to have found happiness at last. Now a blissfully married baroness, she is mistress of a grand estate. But soon a mysterious summons shatters her contented life.
Clara grew up believing that her mother’s family had disowned them. But now the grandmother she never knew is on her deathbed and anxious to disclose vital family secrets before it’s too late—for Clara’s unborn child may be cursed with a horrible fate.
When Clara and her husband, Atticus, arrive at dismal Thurnley Hall, they find intrigue brewing. Her boorish uncle, Horace Burleigh, is greedy for her wealth and desperate to protect the family’s mysteries. Superstitious fear of Atticus torments the hulking Romanian servant, Grigore, and even the soft-spoken young ward, Victor Lynch, may have secret motives for getting close to Clara and her husband.
When her grandmother dies under suspicious circumstances, Clara feels compelled to investigate. And when Atticus vanishes mysteriously, she must draw on all her strength and determination to find him before his time runs out… before her life can be cursed once more.
Fans of the Gothic romances of Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, and Barbara Michaels won't want to miss this thrilling, romantic sequel to With This Curse, in which Clara faces new challenges and dangers. Just Book Talk gives Cursed Once More five stars and calls it “another exciting adventure . . . [with] a rich cast of spooky and strange characters.” And be sure not to miss Nocturne for a Widow, in which Clara's former employer, vivacious actress Sybil Ingram, is plunged into adventure in a haunted house in the Hudson River Valley.
Nocturne for a Widow (book 1): Sybil retires from the theater and stakes a claim on Hudson Valley haunted house, where she investigates a mystery and locks horns with a dangerous rogue named Roderick Brooke.
“When Soft Voices Die” (short story): Sybil must use her newfound abilities as a spirit medium to solve the mystery of a speechless ghost.
The Last Serenade (book 2): When Sybil and Roderick travel to Paris to rescue his former mistress from a blackmailer, they find themselves mixed up in a murder. Can Sybil’s skills as a medium solve the mystery—and help Roderick finally free himself from the ghosts of his past with Julia?
“Her Silks and Fine Array” (short story): Sybil cuts her honeymoon short to help an old acquaintance rid her home of a ghost with a taste for fashion.
A Haunting Reprise (book 3): When Sybil returns to London to see her dying father, her reunion with her former mentor, Gerhardt Atherton, ends in betrayal and murder. Sybil must call on an old acquaintance to help her identify the killer and thwart a poltergeist.
“Spectral Strains” (short story): As Christmas approaches, Roderick falls under the spell of a haunted violin. Fortunately his old friend Professor Hartmann is on hand to help Sybil solve the mystery and free Roderick from the ghostly influence.
“Christmas at Gravesend” (short story): Sybil and Roderick travel to Gravesend Hall to spend Christmas with Sybil’s former seamstress, Clara, now a baroness. But when there are screams in the night and a mysterious white figure roams the corridors, Clara and Sybil must work together to solve a mystery and bring a broken family back together.
“One Good Turn” (short story): Sybil and Roderick help a governess who believes that her young charges are being possessed by the spirits of two former servants. You may think this story sounds familiar, but prepare for it to take a turn!
The Sybil Ingram series is a delightful fusion of romance, mystery, humor, and period atmosphere, with a dash of supernatural spookiness. It’s perfect for readers who love smart, feisty Victorian women sleuths like Deanna Raybourn's Veronica Speedwell and Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody. Once you’ve made Sybil’s acquaintance, you’ll want to read all of her stories--and with this collection, it’s easier than ever before!
The ghost may be the least of her problems... Vivacious actress Sybil Ingram looks forward to a life of security when she leaves the theater in 1873 to marry a wealthy American. But when he dies on their wedding night, she finds herself a penniless widow. Her only legacy is Brooke House, a Gothic revival manor in the wilds of the Hudson River Valley. However, the eerie mansion comes with two tenants. One is a hostile ghost. The second, and far worse, is former violinist Roderick Brooke--the most insolent, dangerous, maddeningly gorgeous man she's ever met.
As Sybil and Roderick engage in a battle of wills--and wits--an even greater threat arises: the mysterious queen of local society, Mrs. Lavinia Dove. For reasons that Sybil can't imagine, Mrs. Dove is determined to have Brooke House and Roderick for herself... if necessary, by deadly means.
Nocturne for a Widow is a delightful fusion of gothic romance, mystery, and romantic comedy, perfect for readers who love dashing Victorian women sleuths like Deanna Raybourn's Veronica Speedwell and Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody. And be sure to explore Sybil's continuing adventures in The Last Serenade, A Haunting Reprise, and the short stories "Spectral Strains" and "Christmas at Gravesend"--now available in one convenient collection!
In this short novella of about 80 pages, when governess Medora Yates sets out for mysterious Hawksclaw House in the dying days of 1856, she has no idea what is in store. Hired to care for her employers’ young son, she arrives in Yorkshire to find the boy too sick to meet her or Gerard Redfern, the new tutor. When surly Mr. Hawksclaw abruptly announces the next day that his son has died, Medora and Redfern know that there is far more to the matter than he is telling them.
Was the child murdered, perhaps even by one of his parents? Or is the story of his death a lie to conceal something else just as sinister? Medora and Redfern decide to investigate, but their task is a difficult one. The boy’s fragile, grieving mother is in no position to help them, and the servants are unwilling to confide in the newcomers, especially Mrs. Hawksclaw’s loyal maid, Constance, whose fate is entangled more closely with that of her employers than anyone knows. Along the way their investigation will unearth dark family secrets, past tragedy, and the true fate of the heir of Hawksclaw... all of which will culminate in an astonishing act of redemption.
Readers who enjoy the Victorian mysteries of Anne Perry and Barbara Michaels, as well as those who have come to love DeWees’s Victorian romantic suspense novels such as With This Curse and Sea of Secrets, will relish The Heir of Hawksclaw.
In December 1873, Sybil’s former dressmaker, Clara Graves—now a baroness—invites Sybil and Roderick to celebrate Christmas at Gravesend Hall, notorious for being cursed. Anxious for her old friend, Sybil is quick to accept. Though Clara insists that nothing is wrong, once the revelers are snowbound, there are cries in the night and an eerie phantom lady walking the halls. But though Sybil is ready to come to grips with a ghost, not all is as it seems...and when she and Clara team up to solve the mystery, they find a way to bring a heartbroken young mother the best Christmas gift she could imagine.
Bonus story: In “When Soft Voices Die,” Sybil encounters an unusual ghost in a Hudson River Valley home just after the events of Nocturne for a Widow.