The Architect of Song by A.G. Howard
A lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower - intertwine in this love story that transcends life and death.
For most of her life, Juliet Emerline has subsisted - isolated by deafness - making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she's at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name "Hawk" on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.
To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton's secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches ... or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton's interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it's too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.
After a childhood case of the mumps took her hearing Juliet Emerline has spent her life in silent isolation at her mother's side helping with her millinery business. But now her mother is gone leaving her alone in the world, save for her uncle Owen and her trusted maid Enya.
On the day of her mother's funeral Juliet spies an anguished man banging his head against a gated grave. Flustered, she falls and the man, interrupted in his solace, helps her to her feet. After he leaves, Juliet takes a closer look at the grave and finds an unusual silver-petaled flower blooming in front of the grave. Stealthily she digs it up and hides it in her clothing.
Upon returning to her uncle's carriage, Juliet learns the man that came to her aid is none other than Lord Thornton, the viscount that's been trying to buy her family home for months.
When she returns home Juliet discovers the plant holds the spirit of an attractive young man, Hawk - a man that has no memory of his life or how he died. How is the handsome ghost connected to Lord Thornton? Juliet vows to uncover the truth and help Hawk remember his life.
As Juliet is drawn into the mystery of Hawk's past and thrust into a future she doesn't want with the young, attractive viscount she finds herself falling for both men. But which man can really hold her heart? Could Juliet ever really have a future with a ghost? Or could she allow herself to imagine a future with the last person she ever dreamed she would fall in love with?
Soon it becomes all too clear that there were sinister circumstances surrounding Hawk's death. Is it possible that Juliet has been spending her time with a violent, rogueish murderer?
The Architect of Song is a beautiful, gothic romance full of mystery, secrets, misconceptions, and hope. Of all of A.G. Howard's books, I think The Architect of Song might be my favorite. It reminds me of both RoseBlood and Splintered in certain ways and in the story-weaving that is unique to the author.
I found Juliet to be likable and her instant chemistry with Hawk was steamy. It was interesting watching both Hawk and Chaine's characters, in particular, evolve and change throughout the book. In the beginning, I definitely felt devotion for one and skepticism for the other but then it switched up and suddenly I was apprehensive for the first and totally head over heels for the other. Without giving anything away I can say, just when you think you have everything figured out the plot twists, throwing you for a surprised loop.
I loved the setting and storyline of The Architect of Song and unraveling the mystery of Hawk and Chaine kept me hooked. Overall, The Architect of Song is a great read that reminded me personally of gothic romances from Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey era and a splash of the movie Crimson Peak (without the blood, gore, and horror). I would definitely read this book again and recommend it to everyone that enjoys a gothic, romantic, historical mystery. I can't wait to read the next book!
5 of 5 Stars!