Title: The Secret of Talmor Manor
Author: Matthew Lang
Publisher: MLR Press
Characters: Jake Yoshimoto; Nathaniel, Lord of Talmor
POV: Third person
Scene Setting: Australia, Ewardian England
Sub Genre: Contemporary Paranormal Romance
Book Cover Rating: 4
After a mysterious package arrives on Jake’s doorstep, he starts having very strange dreams: when he falls asleep he finds himself in a dilapidated English Manor inhabited by a number of ghosts who believe he can free them from their eternal existence. But when the Lord of the Manor appears in Jake’s living room, Jake finds himself facing some very difficult questions. What should he do about the attraction between him and his turn of the century living ghost? Why is someone trying to kill them in their dreams? And what should he wear to the upcoming Halloween party?
It didn’t take very long for me to find myself lost—all in the best way of course—in Matthew Lang’s The Secret of Talmor Manor. And lost is a good description, because it’s not just us, but Jake as well, struggling to discover what is going on. What’s better is that we have front-row seats to the untangling of the mystery. And tangled it is! Lang does a fantastic job keeping—okay me, he kept me—guessing right up to the end.
This is a thriller and mystery, but it’s also a story filled with dichotomies and it makes for a very interesting read. Lang’s atmosphere building is wonderfully done. There is a definite eerie-ness that permeates the pages and as the story progresses I began to sense a malignant force lurking as well. Then there’s the budding relationship between Jake and Nathaniel; it not only offered a sense of relief to the buildup of tension, but was well… sweet.
Okay sweet may not be what everyone sees, but for me it’s in the way that Jake treats Nate that earns The Secret of Talmor Manor the soubriquet. But lest you think that’s all the relationship is, do not worry; Lang had me hooked there too, with a sensuousness that definitely added spice to the romance.
There are also his other characters, both historical and contemporary. They match up with the times they’re in; the ghosts from Talmor Manor come across as being from a past time in their mien and dialogue. I liked that there was a definite line between the past and the present; it certainly added to the atmosphere of the story.
All in all, Matthew Lang’s first book is a wonderful experience and I’m hoping that we will be treated to more very shortly. I really enjoyed the freshness of both the ideas behind the story as well as the writing. I can’t imagine it’s easy to create stories that that resonate with their own unique flavour, but in The Secret of Talmor Manor, Matthew Lang has a strong, and unique, voice and I’m very much looking forward to much more.