When James, the Earl of Darkmoor’s fiancée, Lady Raven Winthrop, disappears without a trace, he spends the next five years mourning her loss and drinking himself into oblivion on the anniversary of the last time he saw her. He withdraws from everyone in his family, barely living a half-life, a shell of the man he used to be. On the fifth anniversary of the loss of his love, James can barely contain his misery another day, unable to let go of the lady he loves. As he commences his annual alcohol binge, a knock on his door draws him from his reverie… is it a ghost or his actual lady-love? And if it is her, where has she been the last five years? Why didn’t she come back? Has James finally lost his mind, or will he at last get to be with his sweetheart?

“Raven” is a very fast read, taking less than an hour. The imagery conjured up in this story is incredibly vivid and picturesque, almost Poe-like. The Earl of Darkmoor is a terribly forlorn character, haunted by his loss and having no answers for what happened to Raven. The love between the two is incredibly strong, making James’ period of mourning and inability to let go and move on very understandable. Readers might find themselves a little confused, however. Did James dream about his conversation with Raven, or was she actually there? The ending, which is quite abrupt, never fully explains, leaving readers to draw their own conclusions. Several typos are also apparent throughout. For lovers of everything Poe and Gothic, this is a good pick.

Katy Nielsen