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The Room Beyond by Stephanie Elmas
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The Room Beyond

by Stephanie Elmas

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Two stories in one cover...or is it two separate stories?

Serena takes a position as nanny for an unusual family, living in an old Victorian mansion at 36 Marguerite Avenue in London. She falls in love with the house and its inhabitants, who have all resided on the Avenue for generations. For her, she feels she has found a true home, having lived a difficult childhood. As time passes, she discovers the mysterious history of the family and the house itself.

In 1892, life on Marguerite Avenue goes on with Victorian style. A husband and wife reside at 34 Marguerite Avenue, living seperate lives, yet keeping up the pretense of a good marriage. At 36 Marguerite Avenue lives and unusual husband and wife, with ties to the theatre. The wife is glamourous and attractive to men. The result of this evening's activity is more than anyone could imagine.

The past and the present—how they parallel and interweave with each other will draw the reader in to a rich, eerie and suspenseful world. A world where things may not always be what they seem.

I stayed up till almost 4 a.m. reading this book. It kept me that interested and engaged. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Jun 23, 2016 |
This creepy little mystery maintains almost all of the grand traditions of the Victorian gothic ghost story. It’s set in modern times, with a parallel tale harking back more than a century to an earlier era.

In the here-and-now, an eccentric wealthy family hire a troubled young woman to be a nanny / companion for the oddly precocious child of the household. No sooner does our heroine arrive at the tall townhouse in achingly fashionable Kensington, than weird things start occurring all around…

If this had been written with a heavier hand then it could so easily have lapsed into pastiche or parody, but author Stephanie Elmas plays it damn-near perfectly. The creaking, dusty, dank old houses are full of peculiar paintings, hidden chambers and confusing corridors. The extended family members are by turns beguiling and ominous. And the two stories reflect and tangle their paired narratives together until they unmistakably become one tale; of misery, mystery, corruption, insanity and the supernatural.

There's more thoughts on the plot and characters over at:
http://murdermayhemandmore.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/the-room-beyond-more-modern-...

TRB get a lot of coverage as ‘historical Victorian romance’. That label probably would have stopped me reading it, but happily I downloaded it without noticing that I’d somehow been suckered into reading a ‘romance’!

It's a very satisfying tale, one which concluded neatly and tied up an intense knot of relationships and dangling threads.

8/10 ( )
  RowenaHoseason | Jun 22, 2016 |
The Room Beyond by Stephanie Elmas is a dual narrative full of mystery, secrets and ghosts. Serena starts work as a nanny in a mansion in Victorian London looking after a smart and charming little girl, but not everything is as it seems.

Meanwhile, in the 1890s, an infatuation becomes a dark obsession with repercussions that will last a lifetime.

I've read a few dual narrative novels lately, and while The Room Beyond was an enjoyable read, it didn't stand out from the crowd.

What I will remember from this novel though was the library at 36 Marguerite Avenue; a library which leapt from the page and one I'd love to visit.

The Room Beyond is a ghostly gothic novel, the twists and turns were enjoyable, but it's not a novel I'll be raving about in weeks to come. ( )
  Carpe_Librum | Mar 27, 2015 |
Beautifully written prose, and a very unique premise--a house that can't be seen, and ghosts who can be seen.
I loved the characters in the linked stories of past and present, and though much of the story is heartbreaking as it weaves together the tale of an obsessive love gone terribly wrong, it's different enough to make a reader want to turn the pages. A murderous ghost lingers after tearing apart two families.
Some of the mystery between past and present are resolved, and some things will remain a mystery, and I didn't mind that, since it allows the reader to yearn for more, and maybe that's what the author intends -- for the next book. ( )
  1vibrantwoman | Jun 19, 2014 |
I was given a copy of “The Room Beyond” by author Stephanie Elmas in exchange for an honest review. I had first met Ms. Elmas through a forum on goodreads back in February. After a few exchanges of emails discussing her book, I had agreed to read her work.

I have become a huge fan of historical fiction after reading the “Outlander” series. I have always been a history buff. I love how a book can transport me back into time; allow me to relive those memories as if I’m walking down the road watching it all unfold. Then to have the author put a fictional spin on the story to where bits and pieces of history are extracted and just sprinkled here and there to make for a wonderful tale. It makes me all giddy inside!

*****

In “The Beyond Room” I was so taken with this story, it was more like watching an old black and white movie play out in my mind. The story starts off with Serena in current time. She is headed to a job interview for a nanny position at 36 Marguerite Ave. Nestled in the Victorian part of London, Serena takes in the beauty of the buildings and can only fathom what they looked like in the 1800’s when they were in their full glory. Confused by the way the houses are numbered; she notices that one is missing, number 34. Reassured it must be a mistake somewhere, she proceeds into the most home like environment that she could possibly imagine.

On a quest to locate Arabella Hartreve, Serena wanders the exquisite home admiring all the beauty. Old antique paintings line the walls. The house smells of fresh food baking. The wood is highly polished from years of hands on the banisters. Finally finding Mrs. Hartreve in her study, she is taken aback by a photo that is hung over the fireplace. A black and white picture of a young man looking back over his shoulder sends chills down her spine. But it’s her encounter with Ms. Hartreve that has her stumped.

The woman of the manor doesn’t to appear to hardly age at all. However, when trying to discuss the purpose of why Serena is even present indicates that Mrs. Hartreve is either so preoccupied with her Africa projects that she is absent-minded, or there is something strange going on.

With flashbacks to 1892, we are at 34 Marguerite Ave. Miranda Whitestone is fascinated with the obscure woman who occupies the house next door, number 36. Lucinda Eden is a woman scorned. Her husband, Alfonso has run off with a girl from his club. Leaving her to suffer the gossip of the town, Lucinda keeps to herself. This woman of exquisite beauty and vigor has decided that accepting a dinner invite from Mrs. Whitestone is the ideal opportunity.

Planning on making one heck of an appearance, Lucinda pulls out her best dress, decorates her hair in the most peculiar way, and plans to flatter everyone that is present. It’s Miranda’s husband, Tristan that is speechless when the vixen waltzes in late to the dinner party. Throwing him for a loop, he can’t keep his eyes from this marvelous woman. It’s not until this mysterious woman leaves the party, does Tristan become aware that he must have this as his prize.

It’s through a series of jumping back and forth that we learn of love, lust, betrayal and death. However, there is one key element that is tying the past to the present. With everyone being so evasive and keeping some deep dark family secrets and a few ill comments dropped from time to time, does Serena start to question what is actually happening. This sparks the questions is, will Serena be able to handle the answers? Or will Serena allow the past to consume her and remove her from her present life?

*****

I was instantly drawn into this book by the mystery surrounding the house numbers. I couldn’t figure what was going on. Just like Serena, it was eating away at me throughout the story. It was due to the flashbacks that really started meto think I knew what was happening. Only problem was, everything that I thought of was way off track.

As the characters in the story started to become introduced, I felt myself drawn to certain characters. The author did such a great job developing all the key people. Not once did I find myself questioning the way the story was being presented. Everything flowed remarkable for so many jumps back and forth through time. You would think that you could get lost between the two times, but this wasn’t the case. With each flashback, you always felt how it tied into with what was going on in the present.

Ms. Elmas did a fabulous job with this story. I seriously didn’t want for this to end. By the time the story finally did wrap up, I was clutching my chest and I felt pain in my heart for those characters. I caught myself getting so mad at one point with what was going onI just kept saying “NO, NO, NO!” Then towards the end, I was fighting back stinging eyes full of tears.

If you love suspense, then this book is packed full of it. If you love historical fiction that transports you back in time, then this defiantly is for you. I know that I will be telling everyone about how wonderful this story actually is. ( )
  cbilbo | May 28, 2014 |
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