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The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker (Strangely Beautiful, Bk 1)
The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker - Strangely Beautiful, Bk 1
Author: Leanna Renee Hieber
What fortune awaited sweet, timid Percy Parker at Athens Academy? Considering how few of Queen Victoria's Londoners knew of it, the great Romanesque fortress was dreadfully imposing, and little could Percy guess what lay inside. She had never met the powerful and mysterious Professor Alexi Rychman, knew nothing of the growing shadow, the Rip...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780843962963
ISBN-10: 0843962968
Publication Date: 8/25/2009
Pages: 320
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.

3.6 stars, based on 72 ratings
Publisher: Leisure Books
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
Other Versions: Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

sfvamp avatar reviewed The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker (Strangely Beautiful, Bk 1) on + 108 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
At first this book reminded me a little too much of Harry Potter since it takes place in a Victorian haunted boarding school and the professors couldn't help but remind me of the professors of Hogwarts. Professor Alexi reminding me of a good-looking Snape (he even sweeps into the room with his black cloak billowing around him and terrifies his students) and Headmistress Rebecca, with her no-nonsense ways, couldn't help but bring to mind McGonagall. But as I got more acquainted with Hieber's world I became more enamored with her creativity and the similarities between other famous works seemed less intrusive and more indicative of beloved archetypes placed in unique circumstances. The enigmatic and brilliant Alexi thaws and is destined for love in a way that Snape was doomed to never know. Cool-headed Rebecca eventually loses her cool in a way McGonagall never would. And after a while one stops comparing Hieber's characters to other beloved literary characters and falls in love with these characters on their own merit.

This novel is a mixture of Wuthering Heights meets Greek Mythology meets Victorian gothic novel and it is soooooo good because of it. At times Hieber gets a little melodramatic and I admit to rolling my eyes a few times at the over-the-top actions of some of the characters but it never jolted me out of the story. In fact it was more like reading a Shakespearean play because, though the dialogue could get over-explanatory, it was so poetic and beautiful nevertheless and, moreover, befitting of the world Hieber creates.

The romance is wonderful though non-explicit. For most of the story a kind of UST drives most of the romance and that somehow makes it all the more steamy. You truly believe in the love between the two main characters which is the lynchpin holding the entire plot together.

Hieber is a playwright and her diaglogue, as previously stated, is poetic and witty. The influence of the Renaissance permeates her work and I only wish her website would state what the next book in her Strangely Beautiful series is about because I am dying to know more about the characters in this novel as well as see what other fantastic characters she can imagine.

Furthermore I'd like to state that this book is one that benefits the most from knowing as little as possible about it before one delves in. Hieber weaves such an intricate tapestry that the discovery along the way leads to the most enjoyment. Normally I'm one of those people who likes to know the ending before I read a book, but I have to say I'm very glad I held back in this case and let myself just enjoy the journey.
jai avatar reviewed The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker (Strangely Beautiful, Bk 1) on + 310 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
When I first started reading this book, I was struck by the Gothic atmosphere. The worldbuilding seemed interwoven with the way the book was written. There's an old fashioned formality to the language and dialogue which goes with the tale of ghosts and demons in Victorian London. I could see things taking place in dark, somber colors like blues and blacks, with Percy as a pale exception. Against this backdrop, the supernatural aspects - the ghosts, the frightening Ripper, and the Guard battling creatures on the cobblestone streets, had a perfect home. As for the romance: It was easy for me to see Percy's attraction to her Professor, less easy for me to see what the Professor saw in Percy - she was so meek, and in comparison to the Professor, her feelings made her seem very young. In that regard, the romance felt off for me, but otherwise I did enjoy the way it slowly unfolded and the problems it hit along the way.

Overall: Very good. The story is unique - a mix of historical, steampunk, paranormal and gothic romance. It's the originality that really had me and made it a keeper, with clever twists on Greek mythology and Jack the Ripper. The only quibbles I had were with things in keeping with the sense of gothic romance and heavy drama throughout the book.
regencygirl123 avatar reviewed The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker (Strangely Beautiful, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 2
The book started out rather slow and "cloudy" but once Percy Parker was introduced, I was hooked till the end. The writing was so beautiful and emotional at times that I felt as if I was right there amidst the characters.
A wonderful story, a talented writer!
lushblue avatar reviewed The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker (Strangely Beautiful, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 2
This book was a trainwreck yet I could not look away and stop reading it. I really wanted to throw it across the room a multiple points.

I ended up hating the main character who possesses no backbone whatsoever. The plot is the same old crappy tune that women's books never cease to deliver: A naive, self-loathing and unattractive (by society's standards ) girl who believes she's undeserving of love who loves the dark, brooding, mysterious guy (Heathcliff, Edward Cullen etc etc) who has some dark secret that keeps him from return her love etc. I'll not go through the whole premise since everyone is familiar with it. It's full of the tried and true gushy romance one would expect. The supernatural element comes off as merely a ploy to gain readers since this is a romance, not a fantasy novel in the least bit.

I've read on Amazon that the 2nd one is even worse. I'll probably read it for the trainwreck quality as well (which earned this one the second star), then promptly swap it.
dizz avatar reviewed The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker (Strangely Beautiful, Bk 1) on + 625 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Although this book has an intriguing premise -- a group of Guards who keep the dead of London from troubling the living -- it's one of the worst written things I've ever encountered. Twee, saccharine sweet, florid, arch, artificial, affected, amateurish prose. I am amazed that this thing saw publication. I think it can only be read by people following plot only, because its prose is so toothgrindingly awful. That said, I have to admit I didn't finish it -- it got worse & worse & in the end I just couldn't.

Too bad for the story -- as a graphic novel it might have worked quite well because then I wouldn't have had to suffer through the author's awful, awful writing style.
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bombschell avatar reviewed The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker (Strangely Beautiful, Bk 1) on + 214 more book reviews
Because of the glowing reviews, I was expecting so much more. Yes, it is a "young adult" novel, but maybe for the very young crowd. I think the author tried too hard to be in the YA world and it ends up sounding like some 12 year old's romantic fantasy.

If you are looking for a well written and engrossing magical tale, I highly recommend (especially the audio version) of Lani Taylor's "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" and the sequel "Days of Blood and Starlight".

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