Darker Still is one of those beautiful stories that swept me off my feet from the very start. The mood is so dark and mysterious- the perfect Gothic atmosphere! I liked the true bits about 1880's spiritualism and how it played into the story. Natalie makes a fantastic narrator, giving the reader only the most enriching and interesting tidbits from the happenings around her. Her descriptions are not overbearing, and held the perfect amount details about the world and paranormal happenings to keep me on the edge of my seat. Usually I am not a fan at all of journal entry novels, but with Natalie I was ravenous for more. Lord Denbury was a romantic man, too. There are quite a few tantalizing ideas with (a) falling in love above your class status, and (b) being able to transport yourself into a painting. A magic most delicious, is what I think!
I have read two previous books by Leanna Renee Hieber - The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker being her debut. It was a magical story, with tons of character building. With Darker Still, I felt Hieber focused more on world building that character, and it still worked out to be a wonderful book. The second book, however, didn't hold up to the same excitement of the first in the series. I am nervous Darker Still will hold the same to be true. The book wraps up nicely, but leaves plenty of room for a sequel. There isn't a plot summary or title for the second book yet, but I may just skip it and keep this one as the great book it is.
Overall Rating: 5 Stars