Monday, 25 April 2016

Review & Excerpt: 'Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick

'Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick
Publisher: Berkely
Publication date: April 19th 2016
My rating: 4 stars 
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The author of the New York Times bestseller Garden of Lies returns to Victorian London in an all-new novel of deadly obsession.

Calista Langley operates an exclusive “introduction” agency in Victorian London, catering to respectable ladies and gentlemen who find themselves alone in the world. But now, a dangerously obsessed individual has begun sending her trinkets and gifts suitable only for those in deepest mourning—a black mirror, a funeral wreath, a ring set with black jet stone. Each is engraved with her initials.

Desperate for help and fearing that the police will be of no assistance, Calista turns to Trent Hastings, a reclusive author of popular crime novels. Believing that Calista may be taking advantage of his lonely sister, who has become one of her clients, Trent doesn’t trust her. Scarred by his past, he’s learned to keep his emotions at bay, even as an instant attraction threatens his resolve.

But as Trent and Calista comb through files of rejected clients in hopes of identifying her tormentor, it becomes clear that the danger may be coming from Calista’s own secret past—and that only her death will satisfy the stalker...

My Thoughts:
Calista Langley is quite the modern woman in the Victorian era earning a living, because circumstances have made it a necessity.  Losing her parents and her grandmother she’s had to find a way to make ends meet.  Running an introduction service for respectable gentlemen and women has done quite well for her and her brother Andrew.  Unfortunately, Calista has become a target of some pretty creepy gifts; gifts of morning, usually meant for someone who has already died, a memento to be buried with.  What’s even more disturbing is that Calista’s initials have been inscribed on these morbid gifts.  Could it be that she’s attracted the attention of a madman, or is this just some disgruntled rejected client?  Calista finds herself turning to Trent Hastings, a successful mystery writer for help and advice.

At first Trent is very suspicious of Calista’s business enterprise since his younger sister, Eudora, has sought out Calista’s services.  He’s worried that Calista is just a fraud looking to make money off lonely spinsters. Meeting Calista changes his views and he is immediately drawn to her spunk and tenacity.  Trent is more than willing to help when he learns about Calista’s stalker, and it’s a good thing because the situation is far more dangerous than they suspected. 

I’ve always been drawn to mysteries, with a little romance, of course, and ‘Til Death Do Us Part sucked me right in.  It was action packed, full of danger, well paced, and had a very creepy vibe, reminiscent of film noir.  I think it’s best to say as little as possible with a mystery so as not to give anything away, but it definitely held my attention.  



She belonged to him.
    He was locked inside a cage the size and shape of a coffin. A dark thrill heated his blood like a powerful, intoxicating drug.
    When the time came he would purify the woman and cleanse himself with her blood. But tonight was not the time. The ritual had to be followed correctly. The woman must be made to comprehend and acknowledge the great wrong that she had done. There was no finer instructor than fear.
     He huddled inside the concealed lift, listening to the sounds of someone moving about in the bedroom on the other side of the wall. There was a narrow crack in the paneling. Excitement sparked through him when he caught a glimpse of the woman. She was at her dressing table, adjusting the pins in her dark brown hair. It was as if she knew he was watching and was deliberately taunting him.
     She was passable in appearance, but he had seen her on the street and had not been particularly impressed with her looks. She was overly tall for a woman and her forceful character was etched on her face. She was dangerous. It was all there in her unnerving eyes.
     The woman rose from the dressing table chair and moved out of sight. A moment later he heard the muffled sound of the bedroom door opening and closing.
     He slid the cage door aside and opened the wooden panel. The wall sconce had been turned down low but he could make out the bed, the dressing table, and the wardrobe.
     He moved out of the lift. The heady exhilaration he always experienced at such moments roared through him. With every step of the ritual he came closer to achieving his own purification.
     For a precious few seconds he debated where to leave his gift. The bed or the dressing table?
     The bed, he decided. So much more intimate.
     He made his way out through the tradesmen’s entrance and slipped, unseen, into the gardens. The gate was still unlocked, just as he had left it.
     A few minutes later he was lost in the fog. The weight of the knife in its sheath beneath his greatcoat was reassuring.
     The ritual was almost complete.
     The woman with the unnerving eyes would soon understand that she belonged to him. It was her destiny to be the one to cleanse him. He was certain of it. The connection between them was a bond that could be shattered only by death.

Posted by arrangement with Berkley Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Jayne Ann Krentz, 2016.

Jayne Ann Krentz is the author of more than fifty New York Times bestsellers. She has written contemporary romantic suspense novels under that name, as well as historical and futuristic romance novels under the pseudonyms Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle, respectively. Learn more at and connect with her on  


  1. I've heard really good things about this one, Rachel, and seeing your praise makes me want to pick it up ASAP. I love that it's a blend of mystery and romance in a historical setting. I'll be sure to check out a copy soon! :)
    Lovely review!

  2. Obviously the plot of this is very different from Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca but I'm getting similar vibes from the excerpt. I usually don't pick up too many mysteries but this sounds too good to pass up. Thanks for putting it on my radar, Rachel, and wonderful review! :)

  3. Oh this one sounds great! I agree with the mystery and romance mash-up genre -- my favorite! Great review Rachel!!

  4. I really want to try this author, and I think this one sounds wonderful. I am all for the strange mystery.

  5. I like that combo, too, Rachel. A bit of everything leaves very little room for boredom. Glad you enjoyed this. Something to add to my ever growing Readers' Den shelf. Lol.

  6. I never knew that Jane Ann Krentz had another pen name as Amanda Quick I really should have known that. I've read a fantasy I think of hers years and I loved it. I really like the sound of this one though. Great review, Rachel! :)

  7. This sounds like a reverse historical version of Hitch (though a bit more serious) Rachel and I'm fully on bard with that! Definitely adding this to the list:)

  8. Yay :D lovely review Rachel. <3 So glad you liked this one a lot. Yay for good mystery with a bit of romance too :) Seems like an interesting book. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about it. <3

  9. Well, I can certainly see why you were sucked right in, Rachel! I wonder if this "tradition" of the gifts is rooted in actual tradition - it sounds fascinating and I must confess this is the first time I came across it. A very thoughtful and well written review that put me in the mood for a mystery too :D


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