Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Rosy's scrawled book recommendation: The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Rennee Hieber

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker
Leanna Renee Hieber

What fortune awaited sweet, timid Percy Parker at Athens Academy? Hidden in the dark heart of Victorian London, the Romanesque school was dreadfully imposing, a veritable fortress, and little could Percy guess what lay inside. She had never met its powerful and mysterious Professor Alexi Rychman, knew nothing of the growing shadows, of the Ripper and other supernatural terrors against which his coterie stood guard. She saw simply that she was different, haunted, with her snow white hair, pearlescent skin and uncanny gift. This arched stone doorway was a portal to a new life, to an education far from what could be had at a convent and it was an invitation to an intimate yet dangerous dance at the threshold of life and death.

Leisure Books


Rosy's scrawlings on The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker
If you like the works of Robin McKinley then you'll most likely like this series, beginning with The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker. Both writers have a rather poetic style and neither are afraid to add in words that will send readers searching for their dictionaries. It is a style of writing I love as there's an element of discovery and the worlds written are full-bodied and colourful. When reading, it is quite easy to mentally sink into the worlds and in the case of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker the world there to explore is that of the Ripper's London.
The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker is a dark book surprisingly filled with colour and mystique. The gritty and realistic landscape holds the ghostly figure of Percy Parker, the dark and terrible form of Hades and those of his minions, and those who seek to defeat Hades in his recapture of Persephone. Within a London populous fearful over the Ripper deaths, a mythical struggle between Hades and Persephone is played out. Within The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker there is a complex web of realities to navigate. No one is as they seem, not even the Ripper himself, and identities aren't easy to confirm. In this way The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker is a historical mystery story including mythical figures.
There are several elements to this story I found appealing. One was that there wasn't a character to love or hate more than any other. None were overly likable or overly detestable even though there are clear differences in personalities, mentalities and desires, some of which a reader will sympathise with and others they won't. There is also the well-described views of Victorian London streets at night, the uncertainty of Percy's fate and her ghostliness that stands out from the dark landscape (she reminds me of the Lady In White at times), the other world sections, the lack of flowery romance and the unexpected directions the plot heads in (even if the final answer is obvious simply due to the choice of viewpoints). It is well worth giving The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker a read for all of the above, but also for the difference in writing style Leanna Hieber has to most authors.

I'd recommend this book to: women mostly but there's nothing stopping anyone from reading the book. I'd suggest it to those who like Robin McKinley's writing, historical fiction, poetic writing, stories on mythological figures, Victorian London and Jack the Ripper tales.

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