October 16, 2006
You thought Gilda Joyce was meddlesome, bold, and smartmouthed in Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator, the first book in the series. In the second book, Gilda Joyce: The Ladies of the Lake, Gilda brings these characteristics to a classic setting for mean girls and mysterious doings—an old, creaky Catholic girls' school called Our Lady of Sorrows.
With the same humor-tempered-by-seriousness that Jennifer Allison brought to the first book, this second book brings us yet another engaging Gilda Joyce adventure. Though it didn't have quite the same wonderful balance of Gilda recovering from her father's death at the same time she throws herself into solving a ghostly mystery, hiding her sorrow with humor and investigative passion, The Ladies of the Lake is still a highly enjoyable read.
Why is everyone at Our Lady of Sorrows so reluctant to talk about a girl who drowned in the lake a few years ago? Is Gilda's new friend Tiara really tormented by ghosts, or is she just looking for attention? Are Gilda's incessant questions about the mysterious drowning going to ruin her chance at making friends at this small, cliquish girls' school? And will she risk making all-out enemies of the most popular coterie of seniors?
Of course, the answer to the last question is yes, as Gilda forges ahead to solve the mystery at any cost. What I love about these books is that they're open-ended about the existence of paranormal phenomena—the mystery and its solution aren't dependent on a firm yes or no in that category. This is especially true of the first book; The Ladies of the Lake has a few definite supernatural encounters. But you'll have to read it to find out which ghosts are real, which are faked, and which are only in the minds of the guilty.
I laughed; I sighed; I gasped. I wished I'd written it. Another well-crafted offering from Jennifer Allison.