I received this book for free from NetGalley, requested from publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Touchstone on September 11th, 2012
Genres: Adult, Historical, Love & Romance, Mystery, Paranormal
Source: NetGalley, requested from publisher
Young Jane Silverlake lives with her father in a crumbling family estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Jane has a secret—an unexplainable gift that allows her to see the souls of man-made objects—and this talent isolates her from the outside world. Her greatest joy is wandering the wild heath with her neighbors, Madeline and Nathan.
But as the friends come of age, their idyll is shattered by the feelings both girls develop for Nathan, and by Nathan’s interest in a cult led by Ariston Day, a charismatic mystic popular with London’s elite. Day encourages his followers to explore dream manipulation with the goal of discovering a strange hidden world, a place he calls the Empyrean.
A year later, Nathan has vanished, and the famed Inspector Vidocq arrives in London to untangle the events that led up to Nathan’s disappearance. As a sinister truth emerges, Jane realizes she must discover the origins of her talent, and use it to find Nathan herself, before it’s too late.
Jane is a troubled woman living in “London” in the 1800s. When she touches someone, the emotions transfer over to that person. When Jane tells her best friends Maddy and Nathan, Nathan gets obsessed with her. Particularly with the need to to open up the other realm. The other realm is a place they believe to be devoid of good and evil, of male and female, a place of the in between. Then Nathan disappears without a trace and it’s up to Jane to figure out why. What she doesn’t know is she’ll need to look into her powers what she finds out may not be the answer she was looking for.
I felt so sorry for Jane. She clearly loves Nathan and his attempts at using her is clearly evident. I haven’t been accustomed to reading unrequited love, but here it is front and center. The story isn’t a pure romance though. It’s a dark mystery. One set in the Victorian era which I love. Where women wore dresses, and men wore waistcoats. Not only is the setting beautiful but so is the writing. It’s unique and thrilling at the same time. I can’t help but describe it, but once you start reading, you can’t stop it.
The Empyrean is such a creepy place, and the more Jane reveals about it, the more curious I am. As Jane’s powers grow, the more answers you ask. What is the Empyrean? What is Jane going to find there? What will happen if her powers grow and she isn’t able to control it? But in the end, these questions are answered, and that ending was just what I was looking for. Although it thoroughly disgusted me I have to admit.
For fans of anyone who enjoys a good mystery with a paranormal twist, The White Forest will keep you reading until the very last page.