Historical Romance-Victorian Era
Rating 4 stars
1st In A Series Challenge
Serial Readers Challenge
New Author Challenge
Synopsis: In 1876 Olivia Moreland works at exposing hoaxes that prey on the grieving who desperately want to communicate with loved ones from the great beyond. During a séance, she gets up to debunk the latest fraud, but Lord Stephen St. Leger stops her, thinking she is the fake. Once the air is cleared, both are tossed out as skeptics. Before Olivia leaves for home, she gives him her business card stating she is an Investigator of Psychic Phenomena. Stephen indiscreetly labels her as a member of the "mad" Morelands.
Not long afterward, Stephen hires Olivia to unmask a so called psychic taking advantage of his mother still mourning the loss of her oldest son. His sister-in-law is too selfish to help and mostly hinders Stephen and Olivia's efforts. As Olivia tries to prove fraud, Stephen and she fall in love with one another though she believes he still loves his deceased sibling's wife.
My Review: Mesmerized is the fun tale of Olivia, a shy, average young lady who's interest in the Spiritualist movement propels her to set up her own business as a (mainly) Spiritualist debunker. At the time many families were being duped by fraudulent Mediums, so Olivia goes undercover as a interested guest to these Seances to catch the frauds in the act. At a seance she meets Stephen-who mistakes Olivia as one of the frauds and finds out she's a member of the "Mad Morelands"-an eccentric though aristocratic family. Stephen unwittingly insults Olivia and sparks fly. A week later, he goes to Olivia's office to apologize and ask for her help. A medium, Madame Valenska, he feels is conning his mother by acting like they are in communication with her recently deceased brother Roderick.
There begins a fast paced, exciting tale that is full of adventure and romance. The books moves along well and the romance is sweet, the love scenes are moderate-fairly "hot" but not over the top. Warm enough to enjoy but not hot enough to turn a sensitive reader off.
There are a few, minor places where the book gets bogged down by the ghost storyline being explained. But they are short enough that they are fairly easy to get through. I enjoyed the supernatural aspect of the book, as well as the "debunking" of the mediums part of the book. Both are major parts of the storyline and if you don't do supernatural then you should probably skip this. Several enjoyable secondary characters that I'm sure we'll see in future books
All together a fun, enjoyable Romance 4 stars.