on January 1st 1970
It's been two months since Pandora English left her small hometown to live with her mysterious great-aunt in a haunted mansion in Spektor – the fog-wreathed suburb of Manhattan that doesn't appear on any map. With the help of her great-aunt and the beautiful – but dead – Lieutenant Luke, Pandora is beginning to understand the significance of the Lucasta family heritage her late mother kept secret from her. Pandora is heir to a great gift. And with that comes frightening responsibility...
Meanwhile, she seems doomed to be forever underestimated in the mortal world. Her fashion editor boss doesn't seem to know she exists. But New York needs Pandora's special gifts. There is a new designer in town, and her ambitions extend far beyond taking over the fashion world one knit at a time...
I have issues with Tara Moss. I admire her greatly because of the things she’s done. As you know Moss was once in the modelling business but has since left that and starting writing books. She is one of those people who is very particular about her research making sure to do things properly and not go to Wikipedia. As part of her detective research she actually got her private detective license to ensure she knew exactly how the job worked. She was (possibly still is) UNICEF Australia patron of breastfeeding which put her in the firing line for all those people who think people shouldn’t breastfeed in public.
I went back and checked my previous words about her. You can read it here I scribbled a few words about her second book Split. When I reread what I wrote I find it a rather meh article. It doesn’t actually say very much. If you go and read it you’ll find me saying ‘on reflection’ and that’s where I have issues with what I said. What was going through my mind are the same things I’ve said today except I wasn’t game to actually say them.
The reason I have an issue with her is that I think her writing isn’t as good as I expect from her. Maybe I’m being judgemental or maybe I’m just expecting a really brilliant book from the very first page. What I found is that the first half of this book was just standard writing, nothing bad but nothing good. It took until halfway through the book before she hit her stride. Halfway, with other books I’d have given up long before that. I persisted because it’s Tara Moss and I do expect she’ll improve over time.
More about the actual book
It’s not a good book for people with problems with spiders. You’d think it’d be obvious looking at the title, but I still read it.
I love what she does with vampires. She tells off Bram Stoker for getting some of the details about vampires wrong. In this book Moss illustrates how you can save yourself from a vampire attack by scattering a handful of rice. Why? Because they have a counting compulsion and they have to stop to count the rice. Which is a nice segue to Sesame Street and Count von Count who counted everything with a lovely Romanian accent.
I didn’t like what she did with spiders, but I’m guessing that’s the arachnids rather than the actual writing. I can’t say too much more for those people with arachnophobia. It’s set in the fashion world but no, the arachnids don’t weave the fabric.
Something little I really enjoyed is the break between chapters. She’s got an entire page for the chapter heading with a spider web happily situated around the heading. It goes all the way to the edge and made it easy for me to see where I wanted to finish reading. Not only that but it looks really stylish.
In the end I found myself enjoying it in some manner, although the quite obvious signs of romance weren’t so exciting to me. Our heroine has the hots for a ghost, those romantic people out there might like it just for this.
In case you want to buy it and give me a few cents for my coffee fund here’s a link.