- The Architect of Song by A. G. Howard
Rating: * * * * *
Series: #1 Haunted Hearts Legacy
Publisher: Golden Orb Press
Publication Date: August 2016
A lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower – intertwine in this love story that transcends life and death.
For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.
To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.
International and NYT bestselling author, A.G. Howard, brings her darkly magical and visual/visceral storytelling to Victorian England. The Architect of Song is the first installment in her lush and romantic Haunted Hearts Legacy series, a four book gothic saga following the generations of one family as – haunted by both literal and figurative ghosts – they search for self-acceptance, love, and happiness.
New Adult: Recommended for ages 16+.
Ever since I finished Renee Ahdieh’s sensational debut ‘The Wrath and the Dawn’, I have been looking for something with the same beautiful and mesmerising writing style – a style that renders prose poetry. I found it in my latest read, ‘The Architect of Song’.
The writing of ‘The Architect of Song’, best-selling author Anita Grace Howard’s most recent novel, can only be described as exquisite. I have never before highlighted and bookmarked so many lines, paragraphs and pages on my Kindle device. There were so many memorable and moving thoughts, speeches and descriptions that I wanted to savour and read over and over again. There was something so smooth and soothing about the writing of the novel, something – suitably given the title and theme of the novel – positively melodic.
It’s rare that I encourage people to judge a book by its cover, but with this novel I urge just that. The exterior of this novel is stunning, and the inside is just as beautiful.
I loved the way that each chapter starts with a proverb from a different country. The proverbs are very interesting to read and set the tone for each chapter. Each proverb holds much truth and insight. I have to say as well that the illustrations of butterflies and flowers above each chapter heading are very pretty, too. I really need to buy a physical copy of this novel.
I also really enjoyed the fact that often the chapters end with a mini-cliffhanger and revelation. This makes the novel gripping, and keeps the reader turning the pages and not stopping between chapters. Indeed, I devoured this novel in two settings, reading the first 70 percent, sleeping, then reading the next 30 percent. I slowed down for the final few chapters because I did not want the book to end, so enchanted by it was I.
Like any great song, the novel builds to a crescendo for the final few chapters. The ending is filled with twists, turns and revelations that I absolutely did not see coming. It wasn’t predictable at all. At the same time, there were clever little clues as to the reveal at the end dotted here and there. I love it when authors do that as it shows everything has been brilliantly planned out.
The characters in ‘The Architect of Song’ are fantastic. There actually aren’t that many characters, which makes them all easy to keep track of and allows room for them to be really developed. The main character, Juliet, is really likeable – clever, sensitive and good-humoured – and it is lovely to see her grow in confidence over the novel’s course. The two male leads – Thornton and Hawk – both share her sense of humour. Both are charismatic and hold secrets that we cannot wait to discover. Enya, Juliet’s maid, is also a great character – with a secret of her own – and I loved seeing her sibling-like relationship with and loyalty to her mistress.
Another outstanding aspect of ‘The Architect of Song’ is the way that A. G. Howard blends genres. It’s a wonderful mix of history, romance, mystery and fantasy. I love each of these genres individually, so to have them combined is amazing and creates the perfect book for me! It also has the feeling of a fairy-tale to it, which is something else I adore, and something that makes it perfect for fans of ‘A Court of Mist and Fury’, ‘Uprooted’, ‘Shadow and Bone’ and, of course, ‘The Wrath and the Dawn.’
‘Once upon a time, long, long ago, there was a young man who lived in a hole. He was the prince of mud and grime. The rats were his chancellors, the spiders his stewards, and the salamanders his jesters of rhyme.’
I said in my review of ‘The Wrath and the Dawn’ that no-one writes romance quite like Renee Ahdieh. A. G. Howard certainly gives her a run for her money. The chemistry between the characters in this novel is electric, their romantic gestures swoon-worthy, and their affection and adoration heart-warming.
Overall, ‘The Architect of Song’ is a beautiful, unpredictable and mesmerising novel. It’s a new favourite for me and one I cannot wait to reread. I absolutely adored it, from its unique and intriguing opening to its stunning and satisfying close. I heartily recommend it.
I cannot wait for the next installment in this breathtaking series, and I also cannot wait for A. G. Howard’s next novel, ‘Roseblood’, which comes out in January next year. I love musicals and ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ is one of my absolute favourites, so this retelling is right up my street and, bearing in mind the beauty and brilliance of ‘The Architect of Song’, it is sure to be amazing.