One of my favorite books of 2011 was THE RESTORER, the first in Amanda Stevens' Graveyard Queen series. I reviewed it here and raved about it to every reader I know (and some I didn’t!). So I waited impatiently for the second in the series, THE KINGDOM, and luckily scored an ARC. I loved it, too! Here’s the back cover summary:
Deep in the shadowy foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains lies a dying town…
My name is Amelia Gray. They call me The Graveyard Queen. I've been commissioned to restore an old cemetery in Asher Falls, South Carolina, but I'm coming to think I have another purpose here.
Why is there a cemetery at the bottom of Bell Lake? Why am I drawn time and again to a hidden grave I've discovered in the woods? Something is eating away at the soul of this town—this withering kingdom—and it will only be restored if I can uncover the truth.
The heroine and Graveyard Queen, Amelia Gray, sees ghosts. All her life she lived by her father’s rules to keep them at bay—until she met the haunted John Devlin in The Restorer and opened a door she cannot close again. In leaving Charleston she’s also left Devlin and before she even arrives in Asher Falls, she meets the handsome, charming Thane Asher whose family pretty much owns the town. But in spite of a mutual attraction, there are too many creepy happenings in the town for Amelia to trust anyone. Ultimately she learns horrifying secrets that change her life forever, but not before they nearly kill her.
As with The Restorer, The Kingdom is a deliciously creepy Southern gothic story that drew me in and kept me up late into the night. The eerie mood, ambiguous characters and ghostly entities are perfectly blended in a story of horror, discovery and redemption. I thought I’d miss Devlin (he doesn’t actually appear in this book except as a memory) because I loved him in The Restorer, but once I got into the story I was totally hooked. Read this book! It stands on its own, but is much better if you’ve read The Restorer which was recently released in mass market paperback.
And the third book in the series—THE PROPHET--will be released in May.