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Winter (The Haunted Heart, #1)
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Book Series Discussions > The Haunted Heart: Winter - Josh Lanyon's latest

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Ulysses Dietz | 1609 comments Ah, how nice to spend time in Josh Lanyon's mind again.

A romance in the old sense of the word - a story about the human heart, not about hookups turning into love along the way.

The first of a series (I'm guessing a four part series, given the title and the setting), "The Haunted Heart: Winter" is both a satisfying work of romantic literature AND a great set-up for what (I certainly hope) will come next.

Flynn could be the protagonist in a sequel to a YA novel where the Happy Ever After goes bad. A year earlier, at twenty-five, Flynn's lifelong friend, lover and soulmate died suddenly. All we really know at first is that Flynn has been scarred so deeply by that loss that his family fears for him.

Kirk, on the other hand, is and remains more of a mystery. Now thirty-nine, a loner and a writer, Kirk holed up two years ago in Flynn's great-uncle Winston's decaying Victorian mansion to hide from whatever horrors his military past left him with. Flynn joins him amidst the clutter of the late Winston's obsessive collecting, hoping to find solace in cataloging the treasures that have become his legacy.

The most important thing we learn about Kirk is that he cannot turn his back when he sees another human being in danger or distress. And Flynn, so far as Kirk can tell, is both. The apparent appearance of a ghost in a huge gilt mirror brings these two self-isolated men together; at first against their wills, but gradually more and more willingly.

Lanyon is spare and witty in his writing. His imagery is beautiful, but not lavish. He gives you what you need to know where you are, and nothing more. His people, however, are more richly drawn - although he begins with the most delicate of sketches and gradually reveals more and more detail, until you have a fully realized picture, flaws and all.

Haunted Heart: Winter is a journey, sometimes literally, but mostly figuratively, as these two men take the first tentative steps out of their individual darkness and into each other's light. It is a ghost story in which the ghost is hardly more tortured than the two men she needs to set her free.

I hope Josh is almost done with part two. His fans are legion, and they're waiting.


message 2: by Ulysses (last edited Aug 28, 2013 05:44PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ulysses Dietz | 1609 comments That was my public review. This is my personal BackLot curatorial quibble. The inanimate character in this lovely book is a huge "ormolu" French mirror. It is so heavy that two grown men struggle to lift and move it. But, while Josh gets the visual right in terms of style, I don't think there ever was such a thing as an ormolu mirror of that size. Ormolu (molded gold in French) is in fact gilded brass. Gilt metal mirrors did indeed exist, but not ones this large, because the weight would have made them impossible to hang on any known wall. Hence, large gilded mirrors are always made of wood that has been carved, covered in a layer of plaster called gesso and then gilded. For all I know Lanyon actually saw a mirror like the one in the book, and I'm full of crap - but this is the curse of being a decorative arts curator and reading novels by lay people.


message 3: by Octobercountry (last edited Aug 31, 2013 10:10PM) (new) - added it

Octobercountry | 1169 comments Mod
Ah, Ulysses, this is the sort of nit-picking I enjoy! I'm likewise kind of detail-oriented when a topic I'm familiar with comes up in a story.

The book sounds very good and I've put it on my wish-list, though at the same time I'm just a bit frustrated that this seems to be (if I'm correct) yet another shorter Lanyon work being sold at full-length prices.


Ulysses Dietz | 1609 comments It didn't feel short - a short book but not a novella...


KindleRomance Reviews I stayed up late to finish this book. I really enjoyed it, even though I cried quite a bit. But I just paid $6 for a book that isn't complete. It was a decent length, and didn't feel like a novella. But it wasn't complete. There were so many open issues at the end, that I can't call this anything but a serial book. This was my first Lanyon book, won't be my last, but I'm a bit annoyed right now.

I loved your review Ulysses.


Ulysses Dietz | 1609 comments Kris (KindleRomance) wrote: But I just paid $6 for a book that isn't complete. It was a decent length, and didn't feel like a novel..."

Ah, I do see. Their story isn't complete...I can't recall if the Adrien English series felt this way. But, you know, I thought the ending was quite completing (not really the right word). The music from down stairs - not a real song, but the beginnings of one - this is the way lots of modern literature ends...with ambiguity that is hopeful and optimistic, but not neat and tidy. Knowing Josh, it's clear that more will come - but this was enough. For now.



message 7: by Jax (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jax | 981 comments I guess it would've ticked me off if I didn't know beforehand that this was to be a four part series. But since I stalk all things Lanyon (blog, GR group, twitter, etc), I knew already.

I just encountered the same thing with Provoked too. Book one leaves the couple very unsettled, not even a HFN, but I didn't mind since there are to be two more books (one in Dec and the third in May).

Of course it's liable to be much longer 'til Lanyon's series is complete. He snuck this one in ahead of other planned projects (but Chuck doesn't mind!). I hope the muse for this one stays strong. But I'll forgive him a delay if the Adrien English surprise he's teased for Christmas is substantial. I'm afraid I have my hopes quite high for that one. Note to self: must prepare for a short vignette.


KindleRomance Reviews I just really need my HEA all nice and tied up at the end. I haven't started Adrien yet. Maybe I should wait until after Christmas - just in case:-)


message 9: by Charles (new)

Charles (chuck-e) | 306 comments Ulysses wrote: "That was my public review. This is my personal BackLot curatorial quibble. The inanimate character in this lovely book is a huge "ormolu" French mirror. It is so heavy that two grown men struggle..."

Okay, the bitch kicks in here. Ormolu is actually a gold amalgam applied to a bronze object using mercury vapor (which killed a hell of a lot of artisans.) The mirror would be heavy, but only as heavy as a large BRONZE mirror would be.

However, the story sounds pure Josh Lanyon, and is on my TBR list at the top; right BELOW The Boy With the Painful Tattoo.

I'm NEVER going to let that book go until Lanyon either admits he's not going to finish the Holmes/Moriarity series or finally does.

Evidently, you can read AND travel. I hate you and re-place my curse on you. ;-)


message 10: by Charles (last edited Sep 04, 2013 06:30PM) (new)

Charles (chuck-e) | 306 comments Jax wrote: "He snuck this one in ahead of other planned projects (but Chuck doesn't mind!)"

See above comment for exactly how much "Chuck doesn't mind!"

I bought the damn thing because all things Lanyon are, at the least, wonderful, but cummon Joshie I'm waiting for that third Holmes/Moriarity novel. The tattoo HAS to have quite hurting by now.

And no, Josh, I don't believe your protestations that you just want to get it just right. You've had long enough. I'm going to resort to a tweet-bomb campaign - again - if the darned thing doesn't come out in the next couple of months.


message 11: by Jax (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jax | 981 comments I just read a review of this book that says everything I wish I could articulate about Lanyon's writing and lo and behold it was by Joanna Chambers, the author of Provoked which I mentioned as also having that open-ended feeling of book one in a series.

http://joannachambers.com/2013/09/04/...


KindleRomance Reviews Jax wrote: "I just read a review of this book that says everything I wish I could articulate about Lanyon's writing and lo and behold it was by Joanna Chambers, the author of Provoked which I mentioned as also..."

I agree. That was an excellent review. Thanks for pointing it out.


Ulysses Dietz | 1609 comments I guess the point about the mirror as that, in all my years as a curator (and I mean nearly 40 years), I've never seen a bronze OR an ormolu mirror of large size - not in Europe, not in the US. Maybe if they're built into the wall...but no, I still can't think of one that large in any house anywhere. I think that Lanyon was seeing one of these large gilt mirrors in his mind - mirrors that indeed abounded in southern plantations - but misunderstanding the material from which it would have been made. I promise you, I know exactly what ormolu is and how it's made and how deadly the process was. It was never used in England because of this (and thus English gilt bronze was never as "good.")


Mercedes | 373 comments Oh! I was finally able to make it to this book! I know it only came out a few weeks ago but i have had the book to read since it came out (almost). Anyway, Ulysses this comment of yours breaks my heart "Flynn could be the protagonist in a sequel to a YA novel where the Happy Ever After goes bad." Isn't that just awful for a reader to think about? I do get maybe too invested in my couples so I an HEA is an HEA for me and I am unwilling to consider alternate worlds where "bad" things could happen to them :-)

Also, thanks for the tip on the mirror. I love knowing stuff like that. I loved that the couple travels to St. Francisville, La for this book because I have been there many time. I have also been in antique auctions in La, so a lot of this felt familiar and made me miss the area.


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