I saw this book at the library last year when I was looking for “Q” books. It’s the second in The Looking Glass series (and the tenth in the Arcane Society series), though, so I read the first book, In Too Deep, earlier this year. I finally got around to reading the book. Sadly, the third book in the series, Canyons of Night, is by a third alias of the author, Jayne Castle, so it wouldn’t get me a Q author. I’ll have to read something else by Amanda Quick instead.
Genre: paranormal romance
Length: 327 pages
Setting: Victorian London
Summary: Virginia Dean just woke up in a mirrored chamber next to a dead man. She’s rescued by Owen Sweetwater. Sweetwater has made a name for himself by exposing several practitioners of the Leybrook Institute, where Miss Dean works. Turns out, he’s really hunting a paranormal killer and he’s afraid Miss Dean has been targeted. She is a glasslight reader and the murderer seems to be targeting glasslight readers The two go back to the crime scenes to see what they can discover. One surprise is a clockwork toy that can project glasslight energy. Working together, they dismantle the toy weapon. It also bring the two of them together psychically, and physically. Turn out, Sweetwater men need to meet just the right woman to bond with or they become nightwalkers, obsessed with the hunt. Virginia is that woman for Owen. The murderer still manages to capture Virginia and put her in his Great Machine to provide unlimited energy (fueled by her death). She escapes the trap, though, and makes it back to Owen.
Final thoughts: Such a breezy, fun book. Be warned, it is a romance so we do have some sex scenes. They aren’t excessively graphic (this is Victorian England after all!), but the reader can tell exactly what is happening. I loved how Virginia and her best friend have pretty much decided they’ll be spinsters, so they’re looking to see if they can get an appointment with the doctor who has a new electrical device to treat hysteria. In other words, a doctor providing the use of a vibrator in his clinic! So funny! And of course, it’s only when you stop looking that you find what you’re looking for, in this case, a man.
Virginia is a strong central character that has built up a career and doesn’t need a man in her life. Of course, she’d like one, as long as he can handle her independence. That characteristic is one that draws Owen to her. Their relationship develops slowly and I found it very satisfying.
While the book is billed as the second book in the Looking Glass series, I had a hard time seeing the connection. They certainly aren’t sequential in time, since In Too Deep is set in the present and this book is set in Victorian England. At first I was worried I’d read the wrong first book, but that’s how they are billed. I think the author is emphasizing her different genres and providing one book in the series by each of her aliases. The biggest tie-in was with Mrs. Bridewell’s clockwork curiosities (we see some of the same clockworks in action in each book) and the Arcane Society.
Title comes from: I believe the alchemical symbol for mercury/quicksilver was used as a signature on some paranormal devices Dean and Sweetwater found. It could also refer to the paranormal energy trapped in glass.
Reading challenges fulfilled: #72 in my Maybe 100 This Year Challenge, and a Q in my Title Reading the Alphabet Challenge
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