Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber
Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: November 8th 2011
ARC Received through NETGALLEY
The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Pride and Prejudice, with a dash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
New York City, 1882. Seventeen-year-old Natalie Stewart's latest obsession is a painting of the handsome British Lord Denbury. Something in his striking blue eyes calls to her. As his incredibly life-like gaze seems to follow her, Natalie gets the uneasy feeling that details of the painting keep changing...
Jonathan Denbury's soul is trapped in the gilded painting by dark magic while his possessed body commits unspeakable crimes in the city slums. He must lure Natalie into the painting, for only together can they reverse the curse and free his damaged soul.
Darker Still is told from pages of Natalie’s (main character) diary. She takes you on a very dark and mysterious journey and tells you how she even came across the painting of Lord Denbury. Without knowing why, or how, Natalie is drawn to the painting. It isn’t until Natalie begins to see things in the painting that the story actually gets interesting. At first she thinks she is losing her mind, but soon she finds out that there is a lot more to the painting then she thinks. Lord Denbury, who disappeared off the face of the Earth, is actually alive and trapped inside the painting. He has been trying to get someone’s attention and when he realizes Natalie has caught all of his little clues, he thinks finally someone can help him. That is when everything just gets even crazier. Natalie can enter and leave the painting anytime. And to make things even better, she can actually talk while inside the painting. Natalie is a mute and hasn’t said a word since her mother died. When she hears her voice again for the first time, it was a little sad to read. You can’t help but feel bad for her. After meeting Lord Denbury and hearing his story, Natalie decides that she is going to help him get out of the painting. Only thing is he was put inside the painting by magic, and Natalie knows it won’t be easy.
Darker Still is an original and dark historical story full of magic, suspense, mystery and romance. I normally don't read historical stories, but I was intrigued by the whole idea of Darker Still. I haven’t read anything like it before and I am really glad that I got the chance to read it. I also felt that I really got to know Natalie through her diary entries. Natalie was a very strong person with a thick skin. She knew she was different and that others would never look at her the way that she wants, but she never let that bring her down. There really isn’t much I can say about Lord Denbury besides that he was every girl’s dream of the “perfect man.” He was smart, kind, and such a romantic…even when he wasn’t trying to be.
The only thing I had an issue with, is that I thought some parts dragged. They were important to the story in some way, but it did move a little slow at times.
Overall, I enjoyed Darker Still and I recommend it. It has unique characters and a fantastic plot. Plus, Leanna Renna Hieber has a way of storytelling that will leave you wanting more.
3.5 out of 5 Stars!