Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Layton Prophecy: Review

I have to talk about the best book I've read in...well, probably since high school. I don't know how many of you have heard of author Tatiana March, but she's a prolific writer with slews of romances under her belt. They're all pretty darn good.

But the Layton Prophecy. The Layton Prophecy is amazing. It's a mystery wrapped in a romance tied up in suspense and intrigue. You've got your love, your loss, your betrayal, your triangles and foibles. It's a fast-paced page-turner with so many levels and mysteries, you'll be compelled to keep on reading.

Here's the blurb:

An ancient curse. A derelict mansion. Rumors of a hidden treasure.

When a lawyer contacts Alexandria Holt to reveal a family secret, she discovers she may one day inherit the crumbling Layton Manor.

 Miles Kendrick, a visiting American academic, claims to be a relation. He convinces Alexandria that the Layton Prophecy threatens her life. Together they set out the break the ancient curse, and uncover a trail of past betrayals over a fortune in gold and diamonds.

 Alexandria begins to suspect that instead of protecting her, Miles is planning to kill her so he can inherit Layton Manor.

 She offers him her heart. Will he take her life?

I read dozens of romantic suspense novels a year. As you may or may not know, I moonlight as a editor for a publishing company. This book is beyond a doubt the best of this genre I have ever read.
It had me complaining angrily about the hero to my husband. It had me in tears. One of the minor characters...a MINOR character...had my heart in knots. Who was she, what was her purpose? Each word is effortlessly laid down in a complex pattern sure to ensnare you for the long haul.
If you don't read one other book this year, you must read this one.
Tatiana has been kind enough to furnish me with an excerpt. You'll notice it's part of the prologue. Because this novel is so good, she didn't even have to go searching for a tantalizing tidbit; this is enough.

Of course I was familiar with the Layton Prophecy. I’d grown up with it. Many a summer, I’d skipped through Layton Village, Holly Jameson and Grace Parker trailing in my wake, my cotton socks bunched around my ankles, my sandals clattering against the cobblestones as we chanted the rhyme under our breaths.

Old Man Layton, he goes first
Lost and lonely, dies of thirst
Bonnie Maiden follows soon
Love and marriage, that’s her doom
Death is diamonds, curse is gold
Those who seek them, won’t grow old
Children, children, you be ware
Heed this warning, leave it there

We all knew that “Old Man Layton” meant Lord Francis Layton, who’d been a gentleman adventurer. He met his death in South Africa in 1929, while scouring the Kalahari Desert for gold and diamonds.

“Bonnie Maiden” was Cleopatra Layton, his only child. After her father’s disappearance, she promptly married a scoundrel and perished giving birth to twin sons, who twenty-five years later went on to blow up Layton Manor, turning the house into rubble and getting crushed to death in the process.

The rhyme was supposed to be a curse, cast by a dismissed servant. More likely, the verses had been composed by some local poet fascinated by the decaying ruins. Generations of village children had spent countless happy hours getting muddy in the overgrown gardens, digging for the gold and diamonds we all firmly believed to be buried somewhere on the estate.

In actual fact, the Layton Prophecy had first been recorded in 1658, and eight more verses existed in addition to the popular chant. But by the time I found this out, it was too late for me to heed the warning.

In this breathlessly smooth, adrenaline-pumping novel, nothing is as it seems, so don't let the prologue fool you!

I haven't found myself caring so much about characters on a page since reading for the first time what has become my favorite book: Jane Eyre.

This book gets FIVE STARS.

I'd tell you to go buy it, but instead, why don't you bookmark this page. Because it's going to be FREE this weekend.

Go here. You won't be disappointed in what you find. I can't say enough good things about The Layton Prophecy.

Find The Layton Prophecy on Amazon

Find out more about author Tatiana March

And check back here on Friday, when I'll be lucky enough to have her as a guest interview!

Happy reading.