Skip to main content

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber

This book has made the rounds and no mistake. I started seeing early reviews awhile back and read a few delightful interviews with Leanna Renee Hieber and found myself intrigued to read her first novel--The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker. I was, therefore, tickled to receive a copy for review from Ms. Hieber and quickly set about settling in. I knew it was a Gothic paranormal mystery of sorts, featuring (among other things) a group of loyal comrades, a private London academy, a bit of magic, an albino, and a swoon-worthy broody professor a la Richard Armitage in North & South. *moment of silence for the awesomeness of The Armitage* And that was the extent of my pre-reading knowledge. That and the fact that I loved the cover with its simple yet moody, midnight blue and its slightly off-kilter, scripty title.

Miss Percy Parker is about to embark on an adventure, albeit a much larger one than she imagines. Leaving the convent--the only home she's ever known--and dipping her toes in the deep waters that are the Athens Academy in London, Percy is as timid as a church mouse. But with good reason. All her life she's hidden her face and skin from the outside world. Wrapped in layers of linen, eyes shielded behind smoky spectacles, this sixteen-year-old albino woman can speak language upon language and quote Shakespeare all the day long, yet she shudders at the thought of exposing her face to the world so certain is she it will be judged repulsive and unworthy. Still. She dares to hope her career at Athens Academy will be a new start. When she meets her intimidating mathematics Professor Alexi Rychman, it certainly feels like the start of something new. She's just not at all sure what that something might be. In the meantime, Professor Rychman has little time for noticing strange young women watching him with haunted eyes. He is supremely busy combing the dirty streets of London for the legendary Ripper--a nightmarish monster who has long been terrorizing the city's lost and lonely. Along with his five companions--the members of The Guard--Alexi is determined to eradicate the Ripper and at last unlock the key to their mysterious past and ancient past.

I loved describing this charming little book to everyone who asked me what I was reading that week. I'd start with the title and when I got that little mouthful out and still met with blank stares, I'd launch into the, "Well, it's a Victorian mystery and a Gothic romance and it's definitely a paranormal, with a little mythology thrown in for good measure." Hard to categorize, but easy to love is The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker. It took me about 100 pages to really get a feel for the characters. But, once I hit that 100 page mark, things suddenly got intensely fun. I loved the prologue with its swirling spirits and the back story of how the six members of The Guard originally filled their callings. But I'll admit I spent the early part of the book worried about Percy. She was so very timid. So very prone to swooning and thinking herself unworthy or any notice or care. I am not often drawn to such passive heroines and I wanted to like her as much as I liked the complicated world Ms. Hieber created and the strong personalities surrounding Percy in the guise of Alexi and his powerful companions. But every time I thought I might lose my interest in Percy, she asserted herself in some small, but important way so that my interest was piqued once more and I kept on reading. An example:
"Have I rattled you so very much?" he pressed, his voice like faraway thunder.
She paused. Then, in a moment of fleeting bravery she removed her glasses and stared into his eyes. "Always."
The professor almost smiled.
"Finally, you are honest with me."
She was quick to reply. "I've never been dishonest."
"Be of good cheer, faint heart, you are too easily hurt," he chided.
"My heart is fortified with passions, Professor; it is my confidence that is too easily undone."
Then, as I said, all the various elements of the story coalesced in a key scene where Alexi is tutoring Percy and we were off to the races. From there on out I was behind her and I knew, just as Alexi was to find out, just how important this young woman was and how he shouldn't let her go. In this tale there is much of murder and mayhem, love and longing, overwrought emotion and ultimate evil. As well as one exquisitely beautiful scene of dancing in an empty corridor that will charm the pants right off of you. I had a lovely time reading it and recommend it for anyone who loves all things Victorian, Gothic, mythological, and sweet, for The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker is all of these things.

Comments

  1. I really adored this story. While I loved Alexi and Percy, Elijah stole my heart :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm intrigued. =) I especially like your *moment of silence.* haha!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yay! I'm glad you enjoyed this one! :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mandi, that's awesome. Elijah drove me nuts half the time and I like the little scamp the other half. :) Though seriously, all five of them should have believed Alexi! Just sayin'...

    Cam, I have a problem. I hear admitting it is the first step.

    KMont, me too! I'm really looking forward to the sequel.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I really, really like that quote. Thanks for the review Angie, I like the sound of this one for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is one of those books I liked but I can see people not liking Percy so I wasn't sure how others would take it. Glad you liked it :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Michelle, it's a good quote, huh? *grins* I was gonna search for a different one since Ana used the same over at BS, but I liked it so much I decided to stick with it.

    Jan, I completely agree. After reading your review I was pretty sure I'd like it, but I can see how Percy wouldn't hold up for a lot of people. Somehow she never crossed over into bugging me. And I fell for her and Alexi together.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Whats wrong with me? I've had this bk in my hands at least 2 times and put it back. What was I thinking? I should have bought it due to the title alone! I love your "moment of silence tribute" awesome :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. K.C., it can't be helped. From here on out The Armitage gets a moment of silence. So mote it be.

    And you should get the book...

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Angie's 2018 Must Be Mine List

It's time for a clean slate and a brand new list of titles I can't wait to get my hands on. Behold, my most anticipated titles of 2018:




 And no covers on these yet, but I can hardly wait, all the same:
The Comfort Zoneby Sally Thorne
A Court of Frost and Starlightby Sarah J. Maas
Making Upby Lucy Parker
There Will Be Other Summersby Benjamin Alire Saenz
Off the Airby L.H. Cosway
Fall Boys & Dizzy in Paradiseby Jandy Nelson

Which ones are on your list?

Review | Hunted by Meagan Spooner

I'm just going to start off by saying I cannot stop thinking about this book. I finished it weeks ago, but this lovely Beauty and the Beast adaptation will not leave my mind. This is the first book I've really read by Meagan Spooner. I gave These Broken Stars a bit of a go awhile back, but we sort of drifted apart halfway through. Not the case here. The gorgeous cover caught my eye and the early glowing reviews reinforced my conviction. Having finished it, I immediately ran out and purchased copies for a number of the relevant readers in my life. And despite having pushed on and read several books since, Huntedis the one I find my mind and heart returning to over and over again.

Yeva holds a lot of things in. She loves her family—her father, her sisters—and so she sits obediently in the baronessa's chambers. She pretends to make small talk and embroider bits of cloth with the other ladies. She smiles politely at the young man who is said to be courting her (and doesn'…

Update | Real Life

I felt like it might be worth writing a very brief real life update here. If just because it's occupied so much of my mental space recently. And, of course, because whatever is currently occupying large swaths of your mental space plays a not insignificant role in your reading life and which book you reach for at the end of any given day. So.

I have worked at the same job since four months after this blog began. Until a week ago, that is, when I packed up my bags and left to start a brand new job. I am having a difficult time wrapping my head around that bare fact. First and foremost, I am incredibly grateful and pleased to have this new job. It was time. In fact, all throughout my job search, that exquisite quote from the wonderful Mo Willems ran on repeat through my head,
If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave. The position I had served its purpose very well. It was what I and my family needed for that period in our lives. But at this new point in my life, it had b…