Series: Roaring Twenties #3
Published by Penguin on May 5th 2015
Sexual Content: Sex scenes, references to rape.
Reviewed by: Julia
From the author of Grim Shadows and Bitter Spirits comes the new Roaring Twenties novel in the series hailed as “Boardwalk Empire meets Ghost Hunters, but so much better” (Molly Harper, national bestselling author of the Jane Jameson series).Feisty flapper Astrid Magnusson is home from college and yearning for the one thing that’s always been off limits: Bo Yeung, her notorious bootlegging brother’s second-in-command.
Unfortunately her dream of an easy reunion proves difficult after a violent storm sends a mysterious yacht crashing into the Magnussons’ docks. What’s worse, the boat disappeared a year ago, and the survivors are acting strangely…Bo has worked with the Magnusson family for years, doing whatever is needed, including keeping his boss’s younger sister out of trouble—and his hands to himself. Of course, that isn’t so easy after Astrid has a haunting vision about the yacht’s disappearance, plunging them into an underground world of old money and dark magic. Danger will drive them closer together, but surviving their own forbidden feelings could be the bigger risk.
If there is one thing the Roaring Twenties series has firmly established, it's that Jenn Bennett writes a damn good romance. GRAVE PHANTOMS is no exception to this rule, as Bo and Astrid's mutual crush finally takes center stage. And while the paranormal elements were interesting, I found myself completely focused on the very real obstacles facing a rich white girl and a middle class Asian boy who love each other dearly.
Both of the prior books in this series have offered glimpses of the chemistry between these main characters, and it was those hints that helped me get through Astrid's first few juvenile attempts to make Bo jealous. In addition to a romance that addresses racial prejudice in the 20's (such as the fact that it is illegal for Bo and Astrid to get married in most US states), there is also the socioeconomic questions they must face. Where could they live? How would they support themselves? I mean, don't get me wrong, the sex is awesome, but in addition to that, the issues slowing these two down were real, valid, and handled deftly.
The paranormal elements of GRAVE PHANTOMS were also well crafted, but I found them only tangentially interesting compared to the relationship between Bo and Astrid. A little hint of reality goes a long way in remaking familiar tropes into something thrilling and new, which GRAVE PHANTOMS proves to great effect.Series Titles: