Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber
"New York City, 1882. Seventeen-year-old Natalie Stewart's latest obsession is a painting of the handsome British Lord Denbury. Something in his striking blue eyes calls to her. As his incredibly life-like gaze seems to follow her, Natalie gets the uneasy feeling that details of the painting keep changing...
Jonathan Denbury's soul is trapped in the gilded painting by dark magic while his possessed body commits unspeakable crimes in the city slums. He must lure Natalie into the painting, for only together can they reverse the curse and free his damaged soul."- summary from Amazon
I really enjoyed Hieber's YA debut; it was really atmospheric and such a fun, clever and spooky idea. It was interesting too to have the main character be mute and the vast majority of the story written through journal entries (there's also newspaper articles and police reports). Natalie was a great heroine and very spunky and brave. I loved seeing her and Denbury together too; there is a bit of insta-love going on but I do think their love becomes more real as the story goes on.
The whole idea of a cursed painting is so cool and it was really fun to read this story. I liked seeing Natalie and Mrs. Northe work together to figure out how to reverse the curse and fix everything.
Overall, just a fantastic debut and I can't wait to read more in this series. I'm hooked on Hieber's writing!
FTC: Received ARC from my awesome friend Susan of Wastepaper Prose! Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.