The Third Circle, by Amanda Quick

>> Tuesday, September 15, 2009

TITLE: The Third Circle
AUTHOR: Amanda Quick

PAGES: 342
PUBLISHER: Piatkus in the UK

SETTING: Late Victorian England
TYPE: Romantic suspense
SERIES: Book 4 in Arcane society series

REASON FOR READING: Comfort author.

Leona Hewitt makes a somewhat precarious and not entirely respectable living reading dream crystals. Within the Arcane Society such talent is considered to be only a step up from being a carnival worker. One dark night she steals into a private museum filled with relics of paranormal power. She is determined to retrieve a rare crystal that was stolen from her family. Imagine her surprise when she encounters the mysterious psychic mesmerist, Thaddeus Ware, standing over the body of a savagely murdered woman.

Thaddeus is accustomed to fearful reactions from others, especially women. After all, a man with the power to control minds could rob a lady of her virtue without her even knowing it. Leona, however, is no ordinary female. She has power of her own and she is not afraid of him. She is also not about to give up her claim on the crystal.

A reckless and dangerous passion flares immediately between the pair as they flee into the night. But at dawn Leona disappears with the crystal. Thaddeus has no choice but to track her down. Not only is he fascinated by Leona -- the only woman who can resist his talent -- he knows that a ruthless hunter of preternatural skill is also hunting her.
Yet another entry in the author's Arcane Society series, which covers both her contemps (as Jayne Ann Krentz) and historicals such as this one.

The heroine is Leona Hewitt. Leona is a member of the Arcane Society, but her talent lies in working crystals, which is not considered particularly decorous. She's after a particular crystal that used to belong to her family. Trying to recover it (by fair means or foul), she runs into Thaddeus Ware, who's after the same thing.

Thaddeus is trying to get the crystal for the Arcane Society. His talent is even less acceptable than Leona's as he's a mesmerist. People tend to get really nervous around him when they know that, so he tends to keep at a distance from everyone.

Unfortunately, the crystal is part of something quite dangerous, involving a secret society and even a psychic serial killer, and Thaddeus and Leona are soon embroiled in all this.

I've been enjoying the romances in these last Arcane Society books. JAK went through a stage when her romance were disappointingly tepid and watered down, but she's found her groove again. As in Running Hot, we have two misfits as our main characters. They are both not completely comfortable around other people, and those other people are not completely comfortable around them, either, given their talents. But when Leona and Thaddeus meet, they are home. They just fit perfectly, and accept each other as they are. It's very satisfying to read.

However, again, the suspense is not that satisfying. I'd say this is a bit better than other Arcane Society plots... still the boring mysterious rival secret society and its machinations, but I quite liked the serial killer angle. That felt a bit newer.

MY GRADE: Very much a comfort read, but sometimes that's just what you need. A B.


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