Veiled Virtues - Jan Fischer-Wade I don’t often read YA, but this little book was worth the deviation from my reading routine. It reads easy and fast. The protagonist, an American girl Paige, graduated from high school and took a job house-sitting in England. Torn from her comfortable, familiar environment, she is faced with strange and frightening events. Unexplained bleeding from her long-healed, childhood scars, ghostly apparitions in her bedroom, voices in her head – everything leads Paige to confusion and uncertainty, serving as a metaphor for the heroine’s teenage angst. A practical, no-nonsense girl, she doesn’t know how to interpret the weird incidents around her or the feelings in her heart.
When she encounters Nathaniel, an owner of a New Age shop, Paige’s life becomes even more complicated but in a good way. Nathaniel adds an element of romance to her mix of unexplored emotions. As the tension mounts, the mysterious bad guys try to establish their domination over Paige, but they can’t compete with the forces of good, not while those are personified by Nathaniel, the all-around Mr. Gorgeous. Maybe too gorgeous: handsome, athletic, sweet, polite, and in love with Paige. A veritable eye-candy and rich into the bargain. He is a modern day knight in shining armor, and as such doesn’t seem real. Rather he reads like a symbol – an embodiment of every girl’s dream. I want one too.
The pacing of the plot is a bit slow in the beginning but picks up towards the end. The only problem I have with this novel is its heightened sense of secrecy. Paige doesn’t know what’s happening to her but Nathaniel does, and he withholds the information, both from Paige and from the readers, until very late into the story. And the reader in me is irritated by the enforced ignorance.
The overall impression: I wish this book was published when I was in high school. I’d have enjoyed it tremendously then, but even now, many years later, it’s still not a bad read.