Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication date: June 24th 2014
My rating: 3.5 stars
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Author of the beloved Half Moon Hollow series of vampire romances (Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs), Molly Harper has created a standalone paranormal romance in which a dilapidated haunted house could bring star-crossed lovers together—if it doesn’t kill them first!
When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”
But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.
But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.
I’ve always been drawn to scary stories, even when I was much younger. I’m not sure why because I’d usually end up scared out of my wits and unable to turn the lights out at bedtime. These were times I was very grateful to have shared a room with my sister! As a grownup I still love a good thriller, so the thought of vengeful ghosts, and spine chilling encounters, had me giddy to pick up Better Homes and Hauntings. Add in a big, beautiful, spooky mansion as the setting, and some romance and I was happy girl!
Landscape artist Nina Linden is on her own after getting shafted by her business partner, Rick. She’s thrilled to have landed the lucrative Whitney Mansion renovation knowing the results can make or break her. With the stakes so high, Nina doesn’t let the house’s haunted reputation deter her. She doesn’t plan on being distracted by romance, but Declan the good looking, wealthy and sweet owner is too hard to resist. But bigger things are at play and the house seems intent on using both Declan and Nina to reenact past tragic events, and bring to light the identity of a murderer. Can they solve the past mysteries before the sinister spirits do actual harm? You’ll have to read it and find out!
The Crane’s Nest on Whitney Island was isolated and a ferry ride away from civilization making it a perfectly spooky setting! It was also packed with Molly Harper’s signature humor and one-liners that make you giggle, but surprisingly there were a lot of scary scenes that may make you think twice about shutting off the lights at night after reading.
Declan and Nina’s romance was sweet and at times very passionate. Even though Declan was a multi-millionaire, he was unassuming, nerdy, and adorable. He’s taken with Nina right away, especially because his wealth doesn’t seem to faze her. Being too trusting, Nina had gone through some rough times. And so I was pleased she finally had someone like Declan who cared and wanted to protect her, especially with Rick still lurking about. This girl needed some happiness.
I enjoyed Better Homes and Hauntings, but I had some issues with the many POVs. The description makes it seem that this a story focused on Nina and Declan, but that is not the case. We also have Jake, Declan’s best friend and architect, Cindy, owner of the cleanup crew, and Declan’s cousin Dotty, a novelist. They all have pretty substantial story threads. Add in the past characters and mystery, and there’s a lot going on. I feel like it was a little too much and the story would’ve benefited by focusing primarily on Nina, Declan and the haunting past. Still, I enjoyed this story. I was laughing one minute and getting goose bumps the next.
I’m picturing the Whitney Mansion to resemble one of these two houses (below) after the renovation. If I were Nina, I wouldn’t mind living here with my rich, hot geek, minus the ghosts, of course!
|Photo courtesy of Flickr click for link|
|Photo courtesy of Flickr click for link|
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