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I Belong

Review: The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

TitleThe Restorer

AuthorAmanda Stevens

Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

Series: The Graveyard Queen (Book 1)

Publication Date: April 19, 2011

Format: Paperback, 376 Pages

ISBN-10: 077832981X (Harlequin/Mira)

ISBN-13:  978-0778329817 (Harlequin/Mira)

Reviewed by: Sheila


Never acknowledge the dead

Never stray far from hallowed ground

Never associate with those who are haunted

Never, ever tempt fate.

My name is Amelia Gray.  I’m a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts.  In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I’ve always held fast to the rules passed down from my father.  But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.

It started with the discovery of a young woman’s brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I’ve been hired to restore.  The clues to the killer–and to his other victims–like in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret.  Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy.  To warn him would be to invite them into my life.  I’ve vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next.

Quick & Dirty: A story of a woman willing to break out of her comfort zone for all the right reasons but for the wrong man.

Opening SentenceI was nine when I saw my first ghost.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

I love starting a new series.  It’s like getting a birthday present; the potential for something new and exciting is half the fun.  I have to say that The Restorer by Amanda Stevens is quite the jewel.  A good thriller/suspense full of ghosts and the forbidden.  And a pull between two people that is almost incendiary.

Amelia Grey can see ghosts.  To protect herself, she has religiously followed her father’s rules on how to avoid the ghosts that follow her everywhere.  As a graveyard restorer, she enjoys the tranquility of hallowed ground and the silent comfort of the gravestones around her.  She also runs a blog on graveyards, called Digging Graves, where she is known by the nickname, The Graveyard Queen.  Amelia ends up being caught in a murder investigation involving her assignment; a new restoration in Oak Grove Cemetery, which is part of the prestigious Emerson University.  Her part in the whole thing would have been over rather quickly if the murderer hadn’t started leaving Amelia riddles on her blog that only she can solve.

Amelia is curious and inquisitive by nature but has remained apart from society for most of her life.  This has left her with a type of innocence when dealing with attraction and the opposite sex.  Unfortunately, the man she wants is not the kind of man she can handle.  Detective John Devlin is not only tall, dark and sexy but he also happens to be haunted by two ghosts.  Devlin imbibes all the things her father warned her about, but is that enough for her to stay away from him?  And really, what woman isn’t on some level attracted to the forbidden.   But when Amelia is given the choice, to either stay away and stay safe or ignore the rules that have governed most of her life, will she take a chance?  Will Amelia put her heart and her life on the line for a chance with Devlin?

Even though John Devlin knows it’s a bad idea, he can’t seem to stay away from the beautiful Amelia Grey.  He is the detective in charge of solving the murders that seem to revolve around Amelia.  Even if he wanted to go beyond a professional relationship with her, he can’t.  The guilt he carries around for the death of his wife and child is too consuming.  All he knows for sure is that he cannot stay away from Amelia.  Little does he know, Amelia knows all about his past: The ghosts of his wife and child refuse to leave her alone no matter how much she tries to ignore them.  Can Devlin let go of the past before it consumes him, body and soul?  Will the protective instincts he feels toward Amelia be enough to convince him to move on?  Will the ghosts of his family let him go?

Even though the story involves mystery and thriller-like qualities, it boils down to the relationship between Amelia and Devlin.  Both of them are controlled by the ghosts around them.  Both of them are questioning the status quo of their lives.  And both of them must make the choice of breaking out of the familiar into the unknown.  I hope to see Amelia and Devlin in a HEA but I think that it’s a little early yet.  Both characters have issues that need to be addressed before they can truly be together.  And now I really want to know if Devlin’s ghosts will find peace.

Even though I usually don’t go for the ghost stories, I was both pleasantly surprised and delighted with this book.  Amanda Stevens has definitely created a world that sucks you in and leaves you wanting more.  Even after I have long finished the book, the light wisps of the characters still haunt me.

Notable Scene:


I shudder.  “Dozens of them.  Pale and grasping.  I knew that if they managed to grab me, they would pull me down into some dark place far more terrifying than what awaited me at either end of the tunnel.  So I would start walking gain.  A few steps toward the light.  Turn.  A few steps toward the darkness.”

“You never made it to the end?”

“Never.  I’d wake up with the most dreadful feeling of being lost and not having a clue where I was or where I was meant to be.”

“Sounds like a near-death experience,” Devlin said.  “Not that I believe in any of that stuff, but the way you described your dream is a lot like the way I’ve heard people talk about an NDE.  Except for the hands,” he added.  “That’s new.”

“The hands were the scariest part.”

He waved the flashlight over the walls.  “See?  No hands.”

“Thanks.”  I tripped over the corner of a loose brick and righted myself with a palm to his back.  Quickly, I pulled away.  “Have you ever had a recurring nightmare?”

“Yes.”  He paused.  “And then I wake up and remember that it’s real.”

The Graveyard Queen Series:

0.5. The Abandoned

1. The Restorer

2. The Kingdom

3. The Prophet

FTC Advisory: Harlequin/Mira provided me with a copy of The Restorer.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.

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One Response to “Review: The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

  1. Danielle DNo Gravatar

    I’m so glad I came across this review, I was thinking of going out and grabbing this book today. Looks like it will be a wonderful read

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