Paperback, 324 pages
Published October 8, 2012 by Carlux Publishing
Series: The Oxford Trilogy #1
Madison LeBon is dead set against the dead.
Her fresh start at Oxford University is a brand new beginning. She finally has a chance to turn the page on her psychic powers and cumbersome voodoo heritage. Snakes, dolls, ghosts, and spirits: Farewell…
When the tragic lovers in a painting—the subject of her first history class—begin to haunt her, she must accept her gift before life imitates art. The lovers warn her against their own nemesis, a Puritan from the English Civil War. Unfortunately, said nemesis is now going all homicidal on Madison.
College becomes more complicated when she falls hard for Rupert Vance, a troubled aristocrat and descendant of one of the characters in the painting. With the spirit of a murderer after her, Madison realizes that her own first love may also be doomed…
BOOK TWO: OXFORD SHADOWS
Paperback, 300 pages
Expected publication: May 6, 2013
Series: The Oxford Trilogy #2
When death is a new beginning and love an old curse.
Still recovering from her last tango with the afterlife, Louisiana-born Madison LeBon struggles not only with her life as an Oxford postgrad but also with her budding love for Rupert Vance, aristocrat extraordinaire. One thing is certain, though: she won’t run away from her powers anymore. From now on she’ll face the music …
When a sixteenth-century ghost makes an appearance during a classical concert Madison attends and threatens her boyfriend’s family, she sets out to explore the dark mysteries of the Tudors, even if that means confronting their most royal and homicidal character.
Her plans take an unexpected turn when her voodoo heritage catches up with her. With horror, she understands what her fate was always meant to be.
The question now is: Can Rupert be part of it?
In a word: A second book that is better than the first, gothically romantic, a ghostly mystery, with a creepy voodoo element.
Sometimes second books in a series fall flat or become repetitive, but Oxford Shadows was even better than Oxford Whispers, in my opinion. Maybe it’s because the characters were so well developed or because I enjoyed the ghostly storyline more this time around. But whatever the reason, Croslydon’s Oxford Trilogy is one you shouldn’t miss if you love New Adult Paranormal Romance.
The events at the end of Oxford Whispers have been resolved, and we find Madison and Rupert in a blissful state now that they are officially dating. But that bliss does not last long. Croslydon jumps right into the action on page one, as Madison sees a ghost while attending a concert at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford. The ghost, who seems to be hovering over Rupert’s stepmother Camilla, tells Madison that Camilla and her unborn baby will die. This sets Madison on a course to find out who the ghost is and to prevent him from carrying through with his horrible threat.
Before long and after several more visions and ghostly encounters, Madison connects the ghost to Henry the VIII and a young girl named Liliana who supposedly knew him in his younger days before he became king. After Camilla has a couple of suspicious accidents, the rest of the story involves Madison and Rupert trying to figure out why Camilla is being targeted and what they can do to stop it.
Oxford Shadows brings back some characters from book one and also introduces some new ones. An attractive man named Sam enters the picture and at first seems to be vying for Madison’s heart, and Madison is strangely drawn to him and his comforting and familiar Louisiana drawl. But is Sam telling Madison the truth about himself, and why he knows so much about her? It’s one of the ongoing mysteries that Croslydon has in store for the reader. I did enjoy Sam’s character, as he seems to be testing the relationship between Madison and Rupert. Rupert hates him on sight, and Sam brings out a jealous side of him that added some spice to his relationship with Madison. We also meet a not-as-likeable woman named Aurélie, one of Aunt Louise’s friends from Louisiana who is also involved in voodoo. Aurélie’s storyline doesn’t end with this story, however, and we’re sure to see more of her in the next book.
In Oxford Whispers we learned about Madison’s family roots in voodoo, and part of the story took place in her home town of Pierre Part. In book two, the voodoo storyline comes to Oxford. With the arrival of Madison’s Aunt Louise from Louisiana, Madison is thrust into a mysterious world of voodoo prayer and animal sacrifice, and Louise hints that she might be a powerful force in the world of voodoo. I’ll have to admit this wasn’t my favorite part of the story. I felt the voodoo scenes were out-of-place and awkwardly integrated into the Oxford background, and with the ghostly Henry the VIII as the main focus, I could have done without the voodoo sections altogether.
What I did love was the way Croslydon puts in details of the past by using flashbacks. The story begins with a very creepy scene of a woman drowning, but doesn’t explain what it means. As the story progresses, the reader gets more and more clues about who this woman is and how she fits into the story of Camilla and her baby. I loved the way she used historical details about Henry and Anne Boleyn, but put her own spin on why Henry killed so many of his wives. The author also uses reincarnation to explain the connections between characters, and by the end my mouth was hanging open in astonishment at the inventive plot twists.
Another potential pitfall of second books is that the romance can fall flat. I applaud the author for keeping the relationship between Madison and Rupert fresh and interesting. Now that they are a couple, they are faced with different challenges, including introducing each other to their families, dealing with jealousy, and most difficult of all, Rupert accepting fully that Madison is not like other girls, and her ability to see ghosts is something he’s just going to have to accept if he wants to be with her.
The story has a very satisfying ending, but also sets things up for book three. Croslydon throws in a couple of surprises at the end, making us eager to read more of this well-written series. Many thanks to the author for supplying a review copy.
About the Author:
In addition to being an author, I work as an entrepreneur, wife and mother-of-one but spend a good deal of time with books, DVDs and listening to my mp3 player; all for the sake of inspiration, of course.
My debut series, The Oxford Trilogy, has been a blast to write because I can indulge in my favorite types of music: Country and English rock.
My main goal as a writer is to make readers dream bigger and cause their hearts to beat a little faster.
Since my writing is all about sharing dreams and stories, I love connecting with fellow readers and authors.
And now for the giveaway! First prize: signed copy of Oxford Shadows + Oxford University T-shirt! Second prize: signed copy of Oxford Shadows + $10 Amazon gift card! Plus three additional winners will receive an e-book of Oxford Shadows! Open Internationally. Simply click the Rafflecopter button below to enter:
Big thanks to Leisha and AToMR Tours for hosting the Oxford Shadows Blog Tour!