Review: Suspicion by Alexandra Monir

December 20, 2014 Review 0

Review: Suspicion by Alexandra MonirSuspicion by Alexandra Monir
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on December 9th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romantic, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 368
Sexual Content: N/A
Reviewed by: Megan
3 Stars

“There’s something hidden in the maze.”

Seventeen-year-old Imogen Rockford has never forgotten the last words her father said to her, before the blazing fire that consumed him, her mother, and the gardens of her family’s English country manor.

For seven years, images of her parents’ death have haunted Imogen’s dreams. In an effort to escape the past, she leaves Rockford Manor and moves to New York City with her new guardians. But some attachments prove impossible to shake—including her love for her handsome neighbor Sebastian Stanhope.

Then a life-altering letter arrives that forces Imogen to return to the manor in England, where she quickly learns that dark secrets lurk behind Rockford’s aristocratic exterior. At their center is Imogen herself—and Sebastian, the boy she never stopped loving.

Combining spine-tingling mystery, romance, and unforgettable characters, Suspicion is an action-packed thrill ride.

SUSPICION by Alexandra Monir, is pitched as a modern version of the classic thriller Rebecca, and it definitely creates that vibe, along with a pretty solid mystery, and a dash of The Princess Diaries. Between that and the romance of reconnecting with a first love, this book didn't need anything else - but it's 'urban fantasy,' and so magic must appear. It's rare for me to wish a story lacked a supernatural element, but with SUSPICION (a nonsensical title for the novel) enough is happening that the subplot about an ancestor with an unusually green thumb and the inheritance of "Elemental" powers just unbalances the plot.

Not knowing at first that the homage was intentional, I noted about a quarter of the way through that I was getting a Rebecca-vibe - there's even a dour housekeeper at Rockford Manor. Monir creates place full of metaphorical ghosts to haunt newly-duchessed Imogen Rockford, including her parents who died on the grounds when she was a girl, and her cousin Lady Lucia, whose death as a teenager put Imogen at the top of the to-inherit list.  A beautiful and formidable force of nature, not to mention the former girlfriend of Imogen's childhood crush, Lucia left quite a legacy for Imogen to live up to, until the mask of Lucia begins the crack. Like any good mystery there are a number of red herrings and false leads after Imogen suspects someone murdered her cousin, and it wraps up with a twist out of Agatha Christie.

Though I found myself wishing Imogen would get over her crush on Sebastian Stanhope, the brooding, rich, boy-next-door and professional polo player, I liked that their reunion after having only known each other as children wasn't exactly smooth. It's actually the magic that drags this story down, taking some of the urgency away from the thriller aspect, mitigating Imogen's fears of losing her mind. Her control over the elements (at least while on the Rockford Manor grounds) is attributed to her being an 'Elemental,' like one of her ancestors, but it's too unusual of a magic type to be squeezed in as a C-story. By the time Imogen gets around to researching this ancestor of hers, I had to check and make sure this book wasn't part of a larger series. It felt like I, as the reader, was supposed to already be familiar with Monir's take on Elementals, and while Imogen's gift is the cause of the jealousy that sets the book in motion, the fact that it's a magical gift seems irrelevant.

More Reviews: Similar Titles:
  • If you're looking for a love story with a slightly gothic feel, try The Midnight Witch.
  • If you're looking for an urban fantasy rooted in the power of the elements, try Turning Tides.
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