Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dark Dreamer by Jennifer Fulton

Publisher:           Bold Strokes Books

If you are a fan of Jennifer Fulton and think you know what to expect because you have read her other books, be forewarned. Dark Dreamer is very different from her earlier work. 

Rowe Devlin is a best-selling writer who has developed a total block, the consequence of which is that her last two books have been complete flops. Her private life has not fared much better as she has bounced from one unsuccessful relationship to another. In desperation she retreats to an old Victorian house in Maine called Dark Cottage. If she cannot find the idea for a new book, at least she can hide from her fans and her publisher. 

Unfortunately, the peace and quiet she hopes will provide inspiration is short-lived when it becomes apparent that Dark Cottage is haunted by a spirit that will not leave Rowe alone. To add to her misery, her neighbors Phoebe and Cara Temple, who are identical twins, provide more distraction when Rowe finds that she is romantically drawn to each one. At one point in the story there is a real perception that Rowe may give in to her confusion and be involved with both sisters.

The Temples have a secret too. Phoebe, who was injured in an accident years before, has been left with psychic powers, which the sisters use to help solve crimes. Cara is the outgoing twin who functions well in the regular world and acts as the facilitator/manager for Phoebe, who would rather stay in her quiet home, cook and ignore the rest of the world. At first the sisters are able to keep their service quiet, working only with a single FBI agent who helps to keep them out of the limelight. Eventually though, Phoebe's talents draw the attention of the CIA and the Office of Homeland Security and the sisters find themselves unwilling recruits in the war on terrorism. And, with all of this going on, the sisters are also trying to help Rowe solve a gruesome murder that happened many years ago and produced spirits who are making it impossible for her to enjoy Dark Cottage.

If you have the impression that there are a lot of story lines, you would be correct. This is a more complex book than many of Fulton's fans are used to. There is also a darkness, a brooding feeling of evil, that is new to Fulton. Dark Dreamer is the first of a new series that Fulton is embarking on and it's obvious that she's experimenting with some new writing, perhaps drawing on the old Gothic mystery format for inspiration. It will be up to her readers to decide if they will embrace this new approach like they have her earlier romantic novels.

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