Author: Kelly Creagh
Series: Phantom Heart #1
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
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Seventeen-year-old Stephanie Armand doesn’t believe in ghosts or spirits. Despite her six-year-old sister, Charlie, insisting a masked figure is hiding in her closet, and the rumors at school, Stephanie isn’t convinced her father’s latest renovation project–a crumbling Victorian mansion–houses the soul of a monster.
So when the very charming (and paranormal obsessed) Lucas Cheney takes an interest in both Stephanie and her notorious home, the supernatural and romantic activity escalates to an all-time high. And that doesn’t even take into account the dashing, British-accented eighteen-year-old boy, Erik, who’s taken up residence in Stephanie’s nightly dreams. A boy who may have something to do with the man in the mask, and the strange occurrences taking place at Moldavia.
A steamy YA romance with Twilight vibes, inspired by Gaston Leroux’s classic The Phantom of the Opera
I fell in love with Kelly Creagh’s writing when I read her Nevermore trilogy years ago, of which the last book was published back in 2015. So it’s been quite a while since we got a new book from her but she absolutely crushed it with Phantom Heart. I loved it and I’m sure it’s gonna be a forever favorite of mine. Also the main character’s name is Stephanie and I really liked that, obviously.
If you hadn’t guessed it yet from the title or cover this book is retelling of The Phantom of the Opera retelling. I love The Phantom of the Opera, both the book and the musical. Sometimes with retellings you barely get anything that resembles the original story and sometimes you gets a little too much but I’ve gotta say that with this one it was a pretty perfect balance. There was enough in it from the original to recognize it but it could also stand completely as its own story as well.
The story starts when Stephanie moves into an old Victorian mansion along with her father who plans on renovating it and her six-year-old sister, Charlie. When Charlie starts talking about a masked man in her closet, Stephanie think it’s just an imaginary friend that her little sister has invented. When Lucas Cheney, a cute boy Stephanie who goes to her new high school, approaches her with weird questions about her haunted house, she is intrigued for sure. Both with her new house and Lucas. On top of that Stephanie has been dreaming about a handsome british accented boy named Erik who’s urging her to take her family and leave the mansion as soon as possible. It’s then that she starts thinking Charlie’s imaginary friend might not be so imaginary after all.
There really was so much to love in this book that I’m not sure what to name first, to be honest. It’s one of those books that you really have to experience for yourself. The story is told in three different points of view in total, which was another bonus for me because I love multiple points of view. Stephanie’s point of view was the one most used, though. The other points of view were of Lucas and the mysterious Zedok. I also really enjoyed getting to know Lucas and his friends Charlotte, Wes and Patrick. They were a fun bunch and had a lot of hilarious banter together. And they form a paranormal investigation team. How cool is that?
My absolute favorite thing about this book was the writing. Kelly Creagh is really one of those authors that have a real knack for writing gothic settings that are both ominous and just delightfully atmospheric. I just couldn’t get enough of it. It also looks like it’s gonna be a series (a trilogy maybe?) so I already can’t wait for the next book. Bring it on, Ms Creagh!
About the author:
Kelly is the author of the Nevermore Trilogy, Nickolas Claus and other books filled with darkness and light. Her stories often explore themes of duality, the shadow self and heroes (and villains) who find themselves battling their own psyches. Her major literary influences include Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Gaston Leroux, Susan Kay, J.K. Rowling, Robin McKinley, Stephen King, C.S. Lewis, Robert Louis Stevenson, Lewis Carroll, Libba Bray, Holly Black and too many more to name. Kelly holds a Bachelor of Science in Theatre Arts and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. In addition to writing, Kelly enjoys teaching and lecturing about subjects she loves, including creative writing, Edgar Allan Poe and Harry Houdini. She is also a silk artist, creating beautiful and colorful hand-dyed silk scarves for wear and veils for bellydancing.
When not writing, Kelly can usually be found curled up with a good book, entertaining her three small dogs, performing the ancient art of bellydance, or teaching one of her weekly dance classes.