Charity Evans has arrived at Freak House to have Samuel Gladstone block her most horrific memories, so that she can once again feel the ability to love. But she and Samuel start experiencing strange visions including a third person who might be a threat to Charity’s life. And why has the memory block turned this once charming man who could force her to love him in an instant into a hot-tempered beast determined to protect her at all costs?
I love CJ Archer. This is no secret. The 1st Freak House series is probably the best self-published series of books I’ve ever read, and I don’t normally read historical fiction or romance, let alone a historical romance that was self-published! I was recently in the same city as CJ and it took all my willpower not to message her on Facebook and ask if I could meet her in person. Creepypants, I know. I think it’s better if we stay in different states.
I love the way CJ writes her Victorian heroines, I love their character voice and the way they narrate, and I certainly didn’t think I’d like Charity Evans based on what I saw in the 1st Freak House series. I guess I still saw her as a rival to Jack, whom I love and firmly ship with Hannah. And I certainly never expected to swoon over Samuel, who is a handsome, charming man with the supernatural ability to hypnotise people. He doesn’t need any help getting people to like him, but I do. He’s so sweet and loyal and courageous, especially when Jack was off on his honeymoon and it was up to Samuel to be the big strong alpha male of Freak House. Man, did he step up! I love Jack, but now I’m firmly torn on whether I’m Team Jack or Team Samuel. I want them both, the handsome brutes!
This book is a little more grown up than the 1st Freak House series, due to Charity’s turbulent past. She’s a ‘loose’ woman, one who’s slept around (and been physically abused), which I guess in Victorian times was a big no-no. The book was very suggestive of her past trauma and I think it’s aimed at readers a little older, maybe more of a New Adult audience rather than Young Adult. Charity dwells on her non-virgin status a lot, and her class, and whether she’s good enough for Samuel, whom she doesn’t like or trust at the beginning.
Charity is an amazing woman whom I thoroughly underestimated. She’s brave and resourceful, and even though she’s not gifted like Jack and Hannah and Samuel, she still makes for a riveting protagonist. She’s thoughtful and although she makes a few mistakes, it’s understandable, and she’d happily put herself in danger to help another unfortunate. Due to this being a Victorian-era novel, I think I’m getting used to my heroines being a bit less active and kick-butt, and the fact that Charity doesn’t actually save herself or solve her own problem doesn’t bother me as much as it did when Hannah was the main character in the 1st Freak House series. I think it also doesn’t bother me as much because Charity’s a Victorian woman who isn’t gifted, whereas Hannah was and Samuel in this novel is. I think normally that kind of thing would bug me, but it really works in this novel and I quite enjoyed the climax.
I actually closed the book squeeing and swooning. Thank goodness CJ Archer can publish these books so quickly because I am dying to know what happens next.
I’m casting this book as well. Click here to see the dream cast for the 1st Freak House Series.
I’m casting Jennifer Lawrence as Charity Evans
I’m casting Jude Law as Samuel Gladstone
I’m casting Bob Babalan as August Langley
I’m casting Andy Garcia as Mr Meyer