Thursday, October 19, 2017

Thorns and Roses: "RoseBlood" by A. G. Howard

Rune has dark secrets. And visions she can't quite account for. Her beloved father died and her mother has decided to send her to a boarding school in the French countryside called RoseBlood. Her Aunt Charlotte, a wealthy former prima ballerina, has pulled some strings to get her niece a spot at this exclusive school. Her generous donations to its running have allowed Rune to bypass others on the waiting list for acceptance.

Rune also has a beautiful voice and the ability to sing anything she hears. This can be a problem, as she has to contain herself so she doesn't burst into song at inopportune moments. RoseBlood is a place that may nurture her talents, if she can survive among the other girls living there, some of whom view her with suspicion. And what of the tales of a mysterious Phantom who may haunt the halls of the building. Could it be the Phantom of the Opera? RoseBlood was designed in the 18th century by a Parisian emperor and supposedly it is where the Phantom myth originated, the one made famous in Gaston Leroux's novel. Is this Phantom man or myth?

As the limousine her Aunt sent, to retrieve her and her mother from the airport and deliver them to the school, enters the grounds, Rune's eye is caught by a figure, a gardener perhaps, working in an overgrown rose garden. There is something about him that seems familiar, his copper eyes, she shouldn't be able to make them out from that distance, and yet, they catch her gaze. His face is half covered by a hood. From what she sees, she can tell he is not much older than herself. Why does she feel so drawn to someone she's never seen before?

Ms. Howard's RoseBlood is a very unusual twist on the Phantom of the Opera but a fascinating and compelling one, none the less. If you are looking for  something different to  keep you up reading this Halloween season (or, well, anytime!), give Roseblood a chance. Militantly recommended! Also, this book has an exquisite cover by Nathalia SuelleN. One of my all time favorite covers!