Review: Immortal Eclipse by Sherry Soule

Title:  Immortal Eclipse
Author: Sherry Soule
Expected publication: April 30,2013 by Moonlight Publishing, Inc.
Reviewed by: Isalys
Reason for Reading:
ARC of e-book provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
A devoted fashionata and practical New Yorker, Skylar Blackwell doesn’t believe in the supernatural—until she inherits Summerwind Mansion. . . .

When her uncle is brutally murdered, and the cops seem uninterested in following up the case, Skylar journeys to California to seek answers. Her search for clues is soon overshadowed by haunting nightmares of a young woman also murdered in the house.

Now the inhabitants of Summerwind are mysteriously dying, leaving no evidence as to how or why, and Skylar finds herself in a deadly race against time to expose the killer—before they strike again.

The problem is . . . whoever it is may not be human.

Armed with only wit and Pradas, Skylar begins questioning the servants, but the growing list of suspects includes the sexy and brooding caretaker, Dorian, a man desperately trying to forget his tragic past. And a major distraction for Skylar.

Determined to play detective—instead of the fashion police—and unravel the dark history of the mansion, Skylar is plunged into an otherworldly mystery that not even she can explain away. As the boundaries between reality and dreams blur, Skylar’s greatest challenge is to stay alive long enough to learn the truth.

I have been turning the book over in my head for days. I have rambled to friends about what I loved, liked and disliked.  I have so many thoughts and opinions that I feel like my head is going to burst in a spray of confetti letters.

This is probably one of the most difficult reviews I've had to write in a while because there is more that I liked than disliked, yet the two things that I feel fell short are important enough that they're keeping the story from reaching its full potential.

In Immortal Eclipse, we meet Skylar who recently inherited her uncle's estate after his untimely demise.  One of the stipulations in her uncle's will is that she must live on the property for a period of 30 days before she can claim any money.  She is not convinced that her uncle died of natural causes and because her life in New York is at a standstill, she decides to move into the estate in California and wait it out until she can claim her inheritance.

Upon arriving at the estate, Skylar immediately learns that she is not welcome there.  With the exception of the brooding but deliciously sexy caretaker, the kind cook, and a nervous maid, the rest of the staff is cold, unfriendly and suspicious.  Soon after, the spooky begins!  Apparitions, weird dreams and murders plague Skylar and the staff at Summerwind.  Skylar is now determined to figure out why the people of Summerwind are dying and to try not to end up dead herself.

Without giving too much away, author Sherry Soule has taken the most interesting elements of Dorian Gray and Dark Shadows along with the gothic, haunting feel of The Woman In Black and created her own creepy and interesting tale.

Hands down, the thing I loved most is the setting and atmosphere.  It was so easy to get lost in the world that Sherry created.  I could easily envision myself roaming the halls of the old, haunted mansion and getting spooked by chanting, ghostly apparitions and flickering lights.  I also absolutely love ghost stories and I was fascinated by the backstory of how the property came to be haunted.  The scenes where Skylar encountered the ghost were action-packed and had me at the edge of my seat.  The ending was particularly thrilling! 

The murder mystery was also well done.  All the while that Skylar is trying to get to know the staff and hiding from a vengeful ghost, she's also trying to understand how and why the people of Summerwind are being picked off.  Was it Colonel Mustard in the Library with the rope or perhaps Mrs. Peacock in the Conservatory with the knife? 

The first thing, or rather the who, I had the most trouble with is the main character.  Skylar is materialistic and shallow which I can accept if only because she knows this.  However, her need to mention the brand of everything she put on became too much. I also felt that Skylar was inconsistent and dense at times.  Her maturity fluctuated between that of a teenager and her true age of 25.  The middle of the story felt slow and I blame that on the main character.  Sherry left us enough breadcrumbs throughout that as a reader you can begin solving the mystery.  Yet it felt like Skylar wasn't quite catching up at the same rate.  I found it troubling that I was ahead of the main character.  I oftentimes felt myself wanting to shake her and yell "open your eyes, woman!"

I really liked the secondary characters.  They were diverse, interesting, complex, cruel, kind, demented, and sexy.  Don't misunderstand me, I did not dislike Skylar but because this story is told in first person present, it was a bit disconcerting that I found the secondary characters more interesting than she was.

The other thing that was 'meh' for me was the romantic element.  This story is set up as a New Adult, but I feel that if Sherry had gone "adult" with it, it would have allowed her to really explore the romance as it ought to have been.  Dorian's (the aforementioned brooding but deliciously sexy caretaker) secret and painful past make him a perfect tortured hero.  Their attraction to one another and their sexual tension is nearly palpable yet they only danced around it and it never came to a completion.

As it stands, I feel like this story would make a better movie!  The haunted setting, mystery and plot would translate beautifully to film.  I do feel that Sherry shows great promise, though!  If she were to take the romance up a notch or two and give Skylar a bit more polishing, this could really be a GREAT spooky story!


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