- Review by Cindi
3 out of 5 stars
Vic Ledore, a bartender, is a huge antique buff. He can easily spend hours inside an antique shop. He also feels that he can somehow understand each object, that they speak to him in a sense. While checking out the newest antique shop in town, Nooks and Books, Vic discovers an old mirror that he is convinced he must own even if it costs him a weeks worth of tips. The frame itself is art, with carvings of a war scene with soldiers, horses and even angels and ghouls and gargoyles. In the almost vacant top-left corner of the frame, in the midst of parting clouds, stands a single figure, a man. Unable to make out the face clearly due to age and damage of the mahogany, Vic can tell that the figure in the wood looks alone, sad. The mirror itself is supposedly haunted, according to the sales clerk, and is known as The Montmarche Mirror. Not really believing in an actual haunting, Vic pays for the mirror and takes it to his home. Once on the wall he notices an odd thing about the mirror itself. There are gold flecks in the glass that are unlike anything he's ever seen before. Only later does he discover that the haunting mentioned in the shop is more true than he could have imagined. Inside the mirror, Vic's own reflection, is a man from the early 1800s. A man who is determined to make himself known to Vic.
Over time Vic is able to learn by speaking to his reflection that the man in the mirror is Philippe Montmarche who had killed himself in New Orleans in the 1800s when his lover, Jean, had gone off to war and did not make it back home alive. Vic and Philippe are both convinced that they are..... Vic and Philippe..... the same person as the faces in the mirror are not just similar but Philippe had looked exactly like Vic when he had been alive all those years ago. All who had owned the mirror before Vic saw the same face... the face of Vic. I know it sounds confusing but in the story it actually made sense.
Philippe can never find any peace and be allowed to move on until he finds Jean again. Vic has met someone, Jules Cassell, who he himself would love to have a relationship with but Vic is hesitant because he has these deep feelings for Philippe, feelings that make no sense because the two men are convinced they are the same person. How can Vic be falling in love with himself? I have to admit that particular part of the story was a bit on the 'ew' side for me but thankfully it is cleared up later. The closer Vic gets to Jules the more things start to make sense. Vic has been able to go inside the mirror and to feel what Philippe and Jean were feeling but it takes a sudden, drunken revelation for everything to come together and for Philippe to finally have his much-sought-after peace in death.
This is an odd story. I'm not necessarily saying that in a bad way but I did find myself confused a few times. I liked Vic right off. Philippe, not so much. I also really liked Jules though he came across (which was obviously the point) as a bit flighty and out there. I admit to having to read the last couple of pages twice before I was able to actually understand where the author was going. While I got the little twist thrown in, I had to go back and check the characteristics of all of the characters involved in order for it to make sense to me.
Overall, a nice story that would benefit from being about fifteen or so pages longer. I do not feel that the characters were given enough time for such an ambitious story though everything does come together nicely at the end. My apologies if my review is confusing but this particular story is a difficult one to explain.
This book was provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange for a fair and honest review.