Read past the synopsis below for my thoughts on Immortal by Gillian Shields.
Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies, housed in a Gothic mansion on the bleak northern moors, is elite, expensive, and unwelcoming. When Evie Johnson is torn away from her home by the sea to become the newest scholarship student, she is more isolated than she could have dreamed. Strict teachers, snobbish students, and the oppressive atmosphere of Wyldcliffe leave Evie drowning in loneliness.
Evie’s only lifeline is Sebastian, a rebellious, mocking, dangerously attractive young man she meets by chance. As Evie’s feelings for Sebastian grow with each secret meeting, she starts to fear that he is hiding something about his past. And she is haunted by glimpses of a strange, ghostly girl—a girl who is so eerily like Evie, she could be a sister. Evie is slowly drawn into a tangled web of past and present that she cannot control. And as the extraordinary, elemental forces of Wyldcliffe rise up like the mighty sea, Evie is faced with an astounding truth about Sebastian, and her own incredible fate.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Gillian Sheild’s Immortal for three reasons:
1.When I was seven, I read my first real book, The Secret Garden – I was enchanted by Mary, who cavorts on the moor, discovering the healing power of nature and friendship.
2. When I was a little older, I read The Hound of the Baskervilles and loved Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s tale of horror, mystery and the dark that resides within men, taking place on the English moors.
3. Around the same age (approximately 13), I first read Charlotte Bronte’s surprisingly gothic tale (Jane Eyre) of a plain, sensible girl who finds herself loved by a dark man with hidden passions in his rambling home on, you guessed it, the moors.
Suffice it to say, it was not hard for me personally to visualize the rickety mansion situated alone on the moor. As I continued reading, I kept finding similarities to Jane Eyre.
For example, Jane is raised in a strict girls’ school while Evie is sent to live at the Wyldcliffe School for Young Ladies, which is alien to her American way of thinking.
Jane loves a man with a dark past and hidden secrets; Evie does the same. (Sorry Evie, I prefer Mr. Rochester – he’s so snarky and vulnerable and bad ass – an ancestor to some of our favorite YA boys today – Jane was 18, after all.)
Finally, there’s an element of the supernatural in both: As a child, Jane fears her uncles ghost. As an adult, she sees strange apparitions in the night and hears ghostly chuckles at her keyhole. Evie sees visions of a girl who eerily looks similar to herself and eventually, reads the private diary of this mysterious girl, who happened to grow up in Vicitorian England.
In short, for a lover of classic reader or just paranormal romance, Immortal is a treat to read: the classicist will enjoy the similarities to certain beloved tomes of literature while the YA lover will enjoy the mysticism, mysterious leading man and the creepy feeling Wyldcliffe inspires in the reader.