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Monday, April 25, 2011

ARC Review: The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

Title: The Restorer
Author: Amanda Stevens
Series: The Graveyard Queen, 
book 1
Genre: Paranormal, Mystery
Publisher: Mira (04/26/2011)
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
“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—lie 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.”
The Restorer is the first book in The Graveyard Queen Series by Amanda Stevens.

Cemetery restorer, Amelia Gray saw her first ghost when she was nine. Since that day she has live by the rules her father indoctrinated in her:

·      Never acknowledge the dead.
·      Never stray far from hallowed ground.
·      Never associate with those who are haunted.
·      Never, ever tempt fate.

Her father can also see the dead and knows the repercussions this will have in Amelia’s life, for that reason he gave her these rules to protect her.

When the body of a murder victim is found in the cemetery she is restoring; Amelia is asked to collaborate with police.  But when she meets the leading detective in the investigation, John Devlin, she starts to break the rules.
Devlin is haunted by the ghosts of his dead wife and daughter. Amelia knows she should keep her distance from him, she knows she shouldn’t break the rules; she also knows that being close to Devlin might have dire consequences for her. But circumstances in the investigation and the strong attraction that pulls them together will make this even more difficult for her.

I loved The Restorer, it was a very different book from the books usually found in the market. Mrs. Stevens did an amazing job creating this unique world. I loved how detailed it was, from the textures, to the colors, to the smells, to the senses, it was marvelous. There were pages where I could almost smell the magnolias or jasmines. Or others in which I could almost feel the chill of the ghost touching my arm, I know it sounds creepy, because it was, but at the same time, it was a beautiful-creepy.
I have always found old cemeteries beautiful and interesting, and I loved how Mrs. Stevens incorporates this factor in her book. I also loved how she  explained in detailed the symbolism used in the tombs.

The characters in this book are complex and endearing. 
Amelia is woman with a difficult and different life. Having the ability to see ghost hasn’t make her life any easier, just more complicated. Since she was a child she has been the odd one. Always living by her father rules, rules she repeat daily almost as a mantra.
The book is told in first person from Amelia’s point of view; this makes it easier for us to connect with her, also to feel the conflicts and loneliness because of her gift. Amelia is a strong woman, no in the sense of being a kick-ass heroine, but in the sense of living her life as best as possible with the limitations and difficulties she has.

John Devlin is a tortured and broken man, who goes through life without really living it. He is dark, intense and full of secrets. He is a man with a very painful and tragic past, who doesn’t think he deserves any happiness. I really ache for him and what he has lived.

The relationship between Amelia and Devlin is tense to say the least. There is an undeniable attraction between them, but first and foremost, Devlin is Amelia’s forbidden fruit, while Devlin’s pain doesn’t let him to move on and be happy.

This book supporting characters are also very interesting; I really loved Regina and Ethan. I also like how the city of Charleston is described, with its quirks and all making it feel almost as another character.

The Restorer has become one of my favorite reads of this year. It’s a book with a clever and original plot, with great characters and with a perfect pace for this kind of book. The Restorer has also the ideal mix of suspense and mystery with a (very light) touch of romance. I usually like my books with a HEA but I was very happy with the end of this book. In my opinion Mrs. Stevens ended it how it should have ended. There are things left unsolved and secrets left untold, especially in regard to Amelia’s father. But this didn’t discomfort me; just let me anxious waiting for November to read the next book in this series, The Kingdom.

I’m usually not a cover person, I read the book without giving a second thought about the cover, but with this book it was different, I really loved its cover.

Amanda Stevens is an author I’ll follow closely from now on (without being stalker).  And I think you should do the same. Please follow my advice and pick a copy of this book as soon as you can, you won’t regret it.

My Verdict: 4½ Paws

Other books in the series
The Abandoned (Prequel)
The Restorer (4/26/2011)
The Kingdom (November 2011)
The Prophet (May 2012)

Other reviews Goodreads


  1. This sounds really different-I'm putting it on my wishlist. Good review :)

  2. I read this book & reviewed it over the weekend. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it! I'm really looking forward to the sequel!

  3. A Buckeye Girl Reads, Thank you and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

    Jen, Me too. This book was a very nice surprise.

  4. Wow! Your review has really peaked my interest and this is a book I'm sure I wouldn't have tried. Very good review Marcela!

  5. Thank you Julie. I really liked this book and I think you may like it too. It's was very different from what I usually read, but I loved it.

  6. Amelia Gray is a professional cemetery restorer and popular blogger, better known to tombstone lovers as the Graveyard Queen. She comes by the work honestly, having grown up in and around the cemeteries her much-loved father has tended all her life. Since Amelia was nine the two have known that they share a disturbing attribute - they see ghosts. Serious ghosts. Ghosts who desperately seek the warm energy of humans and, if they know you can see them, will trail you forever.

  7. LOL, I tried earlier to come and check your review for this, but I couldn't find it, Julie sent the link. I most likely misspelled it when I searched for it...Can you believe that?? LOL.
    Anyway, I'm excited, I'm starting it tonight.
    Specially after your review!!


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