In 1873, after a humiliating rejection by an upper class attendee at a palace masked ball for those with special powers, the “hosszú életek’,” Balazs Lukacs ventures into the city and is rejected by another woman. Furious, Lukacs doles out his own brand of vengenance and thus becomes disowned by his royal family and hunted as an outcast by his own people. Stripped of his family name and branded as “Jakab,” he goes into hiding but falls in love with Erna Novak. When those tasked with his assassination draw close, he goes on the run and while Erna says she will wait for him, years pass by and she moves on with her life. Rejected yet again, Jakab begins his obsession of her female descendants with each generation representing another chance for him to have Erna. Wanting to recreate the life he lost with her, he will kill anyone that stands in his way. Able to change his shape to take on any identity, Jakab appears as those closest to each woman, eventually killing and supplanting them. A collection of diaries bound in string is passed from mothers to daughters containing information about Jakab. The women’s only protection is ask anyone suspicious specific questions for validation and safety is only found when they hide. But Jakab is now in hot pursuit of Hannah Wilde and if she doesn’t find a way to destroy him, her daughter will inherit the family curse. To end the nightmare Hannah must confront and kill Jakab. But how can she lure him out without endangering those closest to her and how can she destroy him before he turns on her as well?
This debut novel spans 200 years with 3 distinct locations and timelines: turn of the 19th century Hungary, 1970s Oxford, and present time Wales. Stephen Lloyd Jones’ invention of shapeshifters born out of a Hungarian folklore myth is nothing like the mass produced vampire and werewolf fiction currently flooding the market. I don’t usually enjoy paranormal books but this was similar to one of my favorite historical fiction novels with a paranormal subtext, Elizabeth Kostova’s “The Historian.” From the opening pages of Hannah Wilde driving her bleeding husband and sleeping 9 year old daughter to a safehouse in the country to the action packed finale, Jones will have you flipping the pages in suspense. I was jumping out of my skin with every bump and noise I heard in my house and when my doorbell rang, I about had a heart attack. Still, I couldn’t stop reading because I had to know what was going to happen next!
About the author:
Stephen Lloyd Jones was born in 1973, and grew up in Chandlers Ford, Hampshire.
He studied at Royal Holloway College, University of London, and now lives in Surrey with his wife, three young sons and far too many books. He is currently working on the sequel to “The String Diaries,” “Written in the Blood,” which will be out November 2014 in the UK and summer 2015 in the US.
The String Diaries
Stephen Lloyd Jones
Pub Date Jul 1 2014
Genre: Historical fiction/ thriller / horror / paranormal
Purchase on Amazon here.
Ivory Owl Reviews
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