Day 64: Lancaster House by Taylor Dean
Summary From Goodreads:
Zoe Grayson needs a change. So, she moves to another state, purchases an old, dilapidated 1920s Victorian Mansion, and sets out to restore it to its former glory. As she begins the restoration, she finds herself falling in love with the old house … not to mention its illustrious builder, Mr. Lancaster. Zoe becomes obsessed with the house as she discovers its secrets; hidden rooms, secret passageways … and a mysterious man who seems to think the house is his. Who is he? More importantly, how does he live in her home unseen and unheard?
The unexpected answers leave her reeling—and questioning everything she’s ever known. To her dismay, Zoe’s actions land her in the local psychiatric hospital, scheming for ways to return to Lancaster House … and the love of her life.
Lancaster house appeared to be a paranormal that included elements of romance, or at least that is what you would discern from the cover, the blurb “are you ever really alone” and the summary. However, once you get into the book that notion is quickly dispelled. This is a paranormal romance, and a good one, I only wish that it would be a bit more forthright with that knowledge. Maybe Dean didn’t feel that the book would do as well in that niche, maybe it wasn’t even intended on being so romance-heavy, but regardless of the reason Lancaster House is chocked full of romance. Maybe even a bit too much.
Look, if I know I’m going to read a romance, as I do on occasion (Ethan & The Skeleton Song come to mind more recently, The Dark Lord certainly a while back) I’m more than up for it. However, when I expect paranormal aspects, maybe a little bump-in-the-night feel to the book and I’m thrown into one lovey-dovey scene after another I am going to be a bit thrown off, if not put off. Lancaster House opens in the psych ward, eventually having the main character, Zoe, tell her story. I love psychological elements and when the descriptions began about the awesome house (I’m a sucker for Victorians & secret passage ways, who isn’t?) I was hooked. Then came the reveals of another presence and I was intrigued, a solid start. Then she finally “meets” Andre, aka Mr. Lancaster, and seems to be enamored from the onset. You know what I’m thinking then, oh no, the dreaded insta-love. Please, anything but that, not again.
Luckily I would call this romance about a 4 on the insta-love scale, 1 being a full on slow build-up, 10 being they practically began marriage plans on eye-contact. There were enough issues and developments (I mean that in a good way) to make the romance develop at a relatively normal rate. Combine that with a certain “barrier” and a 1920’s old-fashioned mindset and you have a recipe for a good romantic setting. The strength of the love grows a bit too quickly for my taste, though when you have the ideal match and guy I guess I understand, but that is admittedly what puts it at the 4/10 on the scale.
The plot for me is the issue. It could have been an interesting tale, especially after some certain other types of beings were revealed, if not for the romance completely consuming the characters. The psychological bits back in the present were really interesting, and possibly were my favorite parts outside of perhaps the descriptions of the house, but they were fleeting. The ending seemed hurried after such a big build-up and that too was a shame.
Where those elements frustrated me, the characters did not. Zoe was an excellent MC. She was too innocent and accepting, but she was aware of it and was actively working on it. She was certainly intelligent, had a stubborn/defiant streak and a temper when she needed it. While she was overly dependent on Andre after a while, her character didn’t lessen, just the plot around her did. As for Andre, sure he’s the “ideal guy” in many ways, but he was flawed enough (outside of the obvious) to make him seem realistic in the personality sense. He’s old-school and it works for him and the story, but he’s also quirky and that keeps him from being an old mind in a younger body.
Lancaster House, despite its flaws, was written very well. That, the characters, and the potential for more of the paranormal aspects make me want to give The Middle Aisle, the sequel to Lancaster House, a shot. I’m admittedly as intrigued to find out what will happen to Zoe and Andre next as the psychiatrist Wade is. If you are into a paranormal romance that is a bit more heavy on the romance side then Lancaster House might be for you. Just don’t go into it with a ghost-story mindset because this is not that book. I’ll probably be giving The Middle Aisle a look in the near future, I’m just too darn curious. Thanks for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 65 as well as my Waiting on Wednesday post! ^.^