OXFORD WHISPERS by Marion Croslydon
Author: Marion Croslydon
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Genre: New Adult Romance
Publisher: Marion Croslydon
Recommended Reading: 17+
Received a copy in exchange for an honest review
****THERE ARE NO SPOILERS****
THE GIST: First time author, Marion Croslydon takes readers on a very visceral journey through contemporary and 17th century England. Even though her writing inexperience shows through at times, I liked this book…I really bloody liked it. A tale that weaves a mysterious storyline with college hardships is a good start to what, with a few writing tweaks, will surely turn into a fruitful trilogy. It didn’t knock my schoolgirl socks off, but left them sagging little. She drafted a backstory rich with history and dynamic characters that were both intriguing and deep. If you aren’t one to get bogged down by muddled descriptions and storyline inconsistencies, then I encourage you to give this new adult novel spin.
SYNOPSIS: “Her fresh start at Oxford University is a brand new beginning. She finally has a chance to turn the page on her psychic powers and cumbersome voodoo heritage. Snakes, dolls, ghosts, and spirits: Farewell…
When the tragic lovers in a painting—the subject of her first history class—begin to haunt her, she must accept her gift before life imitates art. The lovers warn her against their own nemesis, a Puritan from the English Civil War. Unfortunately, said nemesis is now going all homicidal on Madison.
College becomes more complicated when she falls hard for Rupert Vance, a troubled aristocrat and descendant of one of the characters in the painting. With the spirit of a murderer after her, Madison realizes that her own first love may also be doomed…”
THE LOWDOWN: I love a good New Adult book, combine it with a mystery and a touch of paranormal and I’m sold. Even though this book might have overdosed on theme, it worked – for the most part (I could have done without some of the magic – much of it was unnecessary). What impressed me though, was this first time author created and executed a rather intricate story. This obvious labor of love paints a very vivid picture with characters that are deep and multidimensional. However, not everything was rainbows and unicorns.
I was always told, when in doubt, leave it out. You don’t need to throw the kitchen sink into a story to keep the readers attention. Marion simply shoved too much into one small story. For instance, there were tons of historical elements, both real and fictitious; contemporary college drama including rumors, fighting and one bitchy BFF; virginity (of course); paranormal (magic and visions and telekinesis – oh my); Louisiana voodoo; a malevolent ghost; plus out of control drinking; father son anger; and family guilt. Don’t get me wrong, most of these topics were tackled well, but some were simply unnecessary. I won’t say which ones…I’m not a spoilsport. On top of the mishmash of storylines, I had one to many WTF moments, where I would have to reread a paragraph just to figure out who speaking or what was happening.
But it wasn’t all training wheels for Miss Croslydon either. This is one creative writer and she knows how to give each of her characters very distinctive voices. I loved how effortlessly she switched era’s and narrators. I enjoy getting the opportunity to read both sides of the story, especially when it is done right. She also transported me through time without making me queasy, grasping for a railing to gain balance. One minute I was in modern day London drinking with friends, the next I was sprawled out in some 17th century English stables getting hot and heavy with a royal. I bought it hook line and sinker. This is, however, the only get-out-of-jail pass I will offer this trilogy. Small nuances (and there were many) like confusing descriptions and incomplete explanations were both distracting and inconsistent and will make for extremely tedious follow ups.
Overall, this book was intriguing and well planned out. The execution was a little shaky, but the good story shines through the murk. For a good time and the start of what will be an interesting trilogy, I recommend giving Oxford Whispers the old “college try”.