"Canada, 1898. The only life Ruby Proulx has ever known
is that of a nomad, traveling across the country with her
snake-oil salesman father. She dreams of taking root somewhere,
someday, but, until she can, she makes her way be reading
tarot cards. Yet she never imagined her own life would take
such a turn..."
When this book came across my path for review,
I took a look at the lovely cover, and promptly thought, “Oh,
a historical mystery. Not my cup of tea.” Then, I read
the blurb (above) and changed my tune immediately. I was intrigued
and wanted to know more about Ruby and how her circumstances
changed and what fate and fortune had in store for her.
Author Estevao is exceptionally skilled at
drawing the reader into Ruby's story by setting an atmosphere
that is both intriguing and intricate, with a delicate balance
struck between the two. The details of Old Orchard Beach and
its history provide a backdrop in which it is easy to envision
the Hotel Belden, owned by Ruby's aunt Honoria, the ocean
and beach nearby, and even the summer Indian encampment near
where a new pier is being built.
The Hotel Belden is the summer residence of
Spiritualists and guests seeking enlightenment. Since Ruby
has a skill for reading Tarot cards and an intuitive inner
voice which guides her, she fits right in. Unfortunately,
Ruby has come with baggage, having run away from a deadly
accident while traveling with her snake-oil salesman father.
Will her past catch up with her? Or will she be able to start
a new life?
After a guest is murdered, and Ruby is a suspect,
she realizes she is going to have to investigate things for
herself. Especially because one local policeman is against
anything supernatural, and the others may be corrupt or downright
Oh, how I love this book! I can't wait to
see what happens in the next one and have high hopes that
this will be a long-lived series. Ruby is far from a perfect
heroine, but her imperfections make her all the more human.
Aunt Honoria is a special character as well, and it looks
like there may be romance on the horizon for Ruby as well.
You might be surprised as to who the lucky man may be! She's
also formed a couple of friendships, with many more to come,
I highly recommend this book to any mystery
lovers who enjoy a trip to the past, a visit to the beach,
and a healthy dose of the paranormal. This would be a fantastic
book club selection and is appropriate for teens on up! I
will be anxiously awaiting the sequel!
Reviews of other titles in this series
Beyond the Veil #1
of Warning #2