Genre: Fiction (Supernatural)
Publication Date: October 2014
Source: Author provided me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
In the small town of Carolville, Louisiana, no one knows that Adira Collins inherited mystic powers from her great grandmother. All they know is that she’s beautiful, poised, graceful, and ruthless—especially when it comes to love. And no one knows that more than Leena Williams, who was all set to marry the man of her dreams until Adira swooped into town and stole the man’s heart.
Being left at the altar is bad enough, but Leena and her ex share custody of their son, so she has to see the new Mrs. Collins on a regular basis.
And it burns every time she does.
But soon, Leena starts to suspect that there is more to Adira Collins than meets the eye. And it’s not because she owns some kinky lingerie shop or allegedly insulted the pastor’s wife—it’s the strange way she can make a door close without touching it, or take one look at something and make it drop dead at her feet.
Leena starts digging for answers and soon discovers that, unlike her public persona, Adira’s true nature is somewhere on the other side of grace. She also learns, a little too late, that some secrets are better left buried.
Let's just say that I love the cover of The New Mrs. Collins. I think that it complements the story very well. It's dark and mysterious. Yet the woman on the cover is glamours. Everything about the cover hits elements in the story perfectly.
What I Liked: When the Quanie Miller first asked me to review The New Mrs. Collins. I was a bit hesitant. Miller's email mentioned that it was a paranormal story and while she knew my review policy states that I don't review paranormal she hoped I would give her book a chance. I hoped over to GoodReads to read more about it. The blurb doesn't really read fantasy/paranormal to me. I had the feeling that the book (based on the blurb) was more contemporary fiction with a supernatural twist.
I was right.
The overall plot of The New Mrs. Collins is something that has been done in books/television before. The stolen romantic partner angle, that leaves the brokenhearted looked for answers to why. I loved the supernatural twist that Miller put on the story.
What I Didn't Like: I wanted Miller to take the supernatural twist one step forward.
The plot reads that Johnny leaves Leena at the alter (after being together for years and having a child together) because he fell in love with Adira (after knowing each-other for 6 months, affair included). I was hoping for some supernatural reason as why Johnny would leave Leena high and dry like that but there wasn't, other than all men seemed to be drawn to Adira. There wasn't even a reason as to why Adira wanted Johnny, there didn't seem to be anything special about him at all, especially since it seemed that Adira could have any man that she wanted.
As a reader I was hoping for some supernatural explanation to why Adira and Johnny were together and why Leena was left at the alter to become a part of town gossip. There was no satisfying explanation as to why and giving the rest of the details in the story, that left me wanting.
What I Liked: The New Mrs. Collins has a great cast of characters, each unique and different. Some of them are a bit superficial but they all have a purpose in the story and drive the plot forward nicely. I loved the comedic element that the towns people provided, they help make a story that could have been dark more lighthearted when need.
The other character that was well done for the most part was Adira who ended up being the star of The New Mrs. Collins, when the last page is turned we learn a lot about her and what motivates her to do what she does. Even in that there was still a lot of contradictions in her character that I found it hard to explain. One instance is when she is mad at the pastor for cheating on his wife, even though Johnny cheated on Leena with her. There is also a chapter that is written from Adira 'viewpoint' that I wish had been taken out.
What I Didn't Like: My feelings towards Leena Williams, is a bit meh because I thought she was underdeveloped. I wanted her to be more well rounded and fleshed out like Adira. I was hoping for a battle of good and evil, two strong women characters. Not necessarily fighting over the same man, but having some conflict, and being equally matched. Maybe it was because Adira story was so fleshed out and took up a number of chapters in the book but she seemed the stronger character. In the end I don't feel that Leena changed that much.
What I Liked: I enjoyed Quanie Miller writing, it is very engaging and an I found myself losing track of the time as I was reading (almost missed my stop while riding the train). Miller is a very good storyteller and I enjoyed her writing very much. It was prefect for the story she told and she added a lot of different elements. There was humor, darkness, love, romance, and fear. Never once did the story seemed forced and all the elements worked well together.
What I like about Miller's writing and The New Mrs. Collins, all together that it was sort of magical realism without being too literary. I could enjoy the story without having to worry about the symbolism in each sentence. The story flowed nicely and I found myself searching the book out and feeling disappointed as I got closer to the end.
What I Didn't Like: I have mentioned several times that I am not a fan of pop culture references because I feel that they date a story. There were a few in here, there weren't a lot in The New Mrs. Collins, but there were some terms that I did find dated and had me scratching my head. For example:
There were also times when I was confused about the time frame. There was a lot of jumping around and it was hard to track at times. Especially, as the story progresses and the conflict between Leena and Adira comes to head. A couple of times I found myself finishing a chapter and having to flip back to the last chapter trying to figure out the time frame.
Explanation of Rating:The New Mrs. Collins could have been a solid "B" I wanted it to be a solid "B" but the uneveness of the two main characters as well as time frame issues held it back. I was looking for a story with two strong characters. I got one strong character (Adira) and one with potential (Leena). Since Leena's potential was never fully realized for me, it was hard to find the ending as satisfying as I would have liked it to be. I was left feeling like "Wait there has to be more? Leena's story can't end like this with her being the same person she started out as?".
Final Grade: B-