Today I’m hosting the next spot on the tour for The Longing and the Lack (The Unliving #1) , a New Adult Paranormal novel by C.M. Spivey, which is due to be released on the 19th September.
Keep reading to see the synopsis, read my review and enter the giveaway for a chance to win the grand prize!
About the Book
“Gothic curses, deadly love affairs, and vengeful ghosts combine to make this paranormal mystery a compelling page-turner.” — Tina Connolly, Nebula-nominated author of Ironskin.
Lucinda Hightower is no stranger to death.
Since she was a child, Lucinda has been haunted by rabid dogs, suicidal crows, and the ghost of a woman in white. All are omens signaling someone’s imminent demise—except Lucinda’s friends and family are still breathing.
The omens follow her to Ireland and the quiet university in her father’s hometown, increasing in strength and frequency once she meets Damien Reed. A handsome third year student, Damien thrusts himself into Lucinda’s life almost immediately and caresses away the unsavory reputation that shadows him.
It’s not until the ghost sinks her nails into Damien that he reveals his secret: the death omens are for him.
They’re the manifestations of a curse that claims the life of the eldest Reed son every generation. Damien’s time is nearly up. If Lucinda is to save him, she must solve the mystery of her family curse, and lay a spirit’s rage to rest.
A dark romance for fans of Diane Setterfield and the TV show Supernatural, The Longing and the Lack is a Gothic story for the modern age.
About the Author
C.M. Spivey is a speculative fiction writer, author of high fantasy FROM UNDER THE MOUNTAIN and the paranormal series, “The Unliving”. His enduring love of fantasy started young. Now, he explores the rules and ramifications of magic in his own works—and as a trans, panromantic asexual, he’s committed to queering his favourite genres.
In his spare time, he plans his next tattoo (there will always be a next tattoo) and watches too much Netflix. Anything left over is devoted to his tireless quest to make America read more. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his darling husband Matt and adorable dog Jay.
The Longing and the Lack is a modern Gothic novel with elements of both mystery and romance. There were a few things I didn’t like about it, but there was enough suspense and intrigue to keep me interested. It has all the elements that you would look for in a gothic novel: deadly curses, unsettling apparitions, haunting visions, unexpected plot twists and devastating betrayals.
The main character, eighteen-year-old Lucinda Hightower, has been tormented all her life by strange omens of death. Although they don’t seem to be aimed at her or her family, they nevertheless deeply affect her and she longs to understand their meaning. In an attempt to gain some peace and distance from her troubled past, she relocates to her father’s hometown in Ireland to attend university.
But unfortunately, the strange occurrences only increase and intensify and her brother even starts to have premonitions about her. Lucinda is particularly terrified by the chilling ‘woman in white’ who haunts her, probing her body with icy fingers. I loved these spooky apparitions and they gave the novel a really ominous, suspenseful feeling.
Lucinda’s roommate Naomi tries to look out for her by warning her about the notorious womaniser Damien Reed. But inevitably, Lucinda soon runs into the handsome third-year student and there is an instant chemistry between them. I wasn’t really a fan of the insta-love aspect of this story, but I suppose it can be explained by the supernatural connection. The Reed and Hightower families have a complicated history and are linked by a tragic curse.
Lucinda starts to investigate the mysteries and secrets hiding in her family tree, but there are some characters trying to sabotage her quest for truth and not everyone is who they seem to be. When Lucinda finally figures everything out, there is a shocking twist which is really horrible and painful, but there is also a satisfying conclusion. The book is the first in a series and hints of more adventure for the characters.
One thing that bothered me about this book was that all the characters speak in a very formal way that comes across as quite unnatural. At first, I even thought that the book was set in the past until there was a mention of texting. This style fits the more old-fashioned gothic novels, but it felt out of place in a modern setting and made Lucinda and Damien seem a little pretentious and grandiose. Despite this, however, I did like most of the characters. There is a diverse cast representing different races, religions and sexualities. Lucinda is attracted to both men and women, for example, and it’s still quite rare to have this level of diversity in a novel.
Lucinda is the centre of a love-triangle, a cliche in many romance novels. Unfortunately, it put me off her character quite a bit because I didn’t think she was honest or fair to either of her love interests. We also aren’t told much about Sri, so I felt it hard to relate to her or understand her motivations. Another thing that I found strange was that Lucinda is only supposed to be eighteen, yet her behaviour is more plausible for someone in her mid-twenties. For instance, she drinks whiskey and already has a long romantic/sexual history.
It would have helped to have more background and detail on the characters and the world they inhabit, as sometimes things were mentioned briefly (such as the existence of vampires) and then not expanded upon. We don’t get to know much about Morgan, Lucinda’s brother or her life before moving to Ireland. Although The Longing and the Lack can be read as a stand-alone novel, two other books by C.M Spivey, See the Web and A Single Thread apparently provide a good introduction to this story.
I gave The Longing and the Lack 3 stars because some aspects such as the insta-love, lack of backstory and the love-triangle were not really my thing and did not appeal to me. However, there was plenty that I did enjoy about this book, including the creepy paranormal descriptions, the diverse characters and the suspense and mystery, which I found really compelling. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA and NA paranormal romance or TV shows such as Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries.
The giveaway is open internationally and ends on September 21st. My normal terms and conditions apply.