Black Friday: Leanna Renee Hieber

Black FridayBlack Friday is here and we’re discussing the season with Leanna Renee Hieber’s Miss Natalie Stewart from Darker Still: A Novel of Magic Most Foul.

The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Pride and Prejudice, with a dash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

New York City, 1882. Seventeen-year-old Natalie Stewart’s latest obsession is a painting of the handsome British Lord Denbury. Something in his striking blue eyes calls to her. As his incredibly life-like gaze seems to follow her, Natalie gets the uneasy feeling that details of the painting keep changing…

Jonathan Denbury’s soul is trapped in the gilded painting by dark magic while his possessed body commits unspeakable crimes in the city slums. He must lure Natalie into the painting, for only together can they reverse the curse and free his damaged soul.

Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away a copy of Darker Still.

From the diary of Miss Natalie Stewart

LRHieber-Darker StillAuthor Leanna Renee Hieber brings us an account from the heroine of her brand new Gothic Victorian paranormal saga Darker Still: A Novel of Magic Most Foul. Here, her heroine ventures into America’s very first “department store”, A. T. Stewart’s.

From the diary of Miss Natalie Stewart, aged seventeen, in the Year of Our Lord 1880

“Today, dear diary, I went shopping. I’ve stared down demons and yet shopping is more daunting. You see, here in New York City shopping has always been, well… aspirational. The wealth of this city is staggering. So is the poverty. I live between those extremes. My father, in his curator’s post at the ten-year-old Metropolitan Museum of Art, courts a deal of wealth, but he’s an academic and a scholar. He hates shopping. But one cannot avoid it here, New York City invented it. “Ladies’ Mile” is the one place a lady might go in this city unescorted or without chaperone, so at least Father didn’t have to come with me to deny all the things I already knew we couldn’t afford.

New York City is home to the lavish display window and as I stepped out from the trolley car downtown at Broadway and Chambers, and onto the sidewalk before the impressive block that is the A. T. Stewart Marble Palace (no relation, by the way, to my great sadness), I was greeted by a stunning array indeed. Trinkets and baubles, toys and glimmering clothing, done up artfully in the windows as if I glimpsed fairyland, it was breathtaking. Even if I did speak confidently- my condition of Selective Mutism, which I’m trying hard to overcome, makes speech difficult- I’d have been speechless. It’s daunting to be captivated by every glittering thing you see but knowing you might only be able to afford the branch the golden birds sit upon, not the birds. But I rallied myself and entered the palace.

What was I shopping for? Not pretty dresses, alas. For that I need Mrs. Northe’s guidance (and pocketbook). I was procuring something for my beloved. For the most handsome man in all the world, the most brave and gallant, Jonathon Whitby, Lord Denbury. I bit my lip as I walked in the doors, chipper clerks behind sparkling glass booths ready to showcase their wonders but avoiding me entirely for the more finely-dressed women near their perfumed clutches. What could I afford to offer a British Lord? If we hadn’t already had a harrowing ordeal with a painting, I might have asked my father’s help for art. But that wouldn’t do. A kit of sacred, religious items to fend off the dark curses Denbury and I fought would have been fitting, but I didn’t think one of those could be found in a ‘department store’.

I wandered floors of finery. Tie pins and cuff-links didn’t seem romantic. It was in house-wares that it came to me, on a passing draft; the scent of Earl Grey tea! A small, elegant little tea set for two sat upon a wooden table, a basket of bergamot-scented leaves next to it. Earl Grey tea; Lord Denbury’s very favorite beverage in all the world. My first scent of Jonathon was that very scent; exquisite, the soft hint of bergamot upon his breath as he stood too close to me… The little tea set was romantic, it might encourage a mid-winter picnic upon the ice of the Central Park lake! The best part of the holidays will be showing him my gift comes with another attached; the gift of my heart. And I daresay, after being trapped in paintings, living out nightmares, facing down evil doppelgangers and murderous demons, we could both do with a nice cup of tea.”

You can find Natalie Stewart, Lord Denbury and their paranormal adventures in Darker Still: A Novel of Magic Most Foul wherever books are sold and discover more about the author, Leanna Renee Hieber, at on Twitter and Facebook.

Meet Leanna Renee Hieber!

Leanna Renee HieberAward winning, bestselling author, actress and playwright Leanna Renee Hieber grew up in rural Ohio inventing ghost stories. Graduating with a BFA in Theatre from Miami University, a focus in the Victorian Era and a scholarship to study in London helped set the course for her Strangely Beautiful series. When not writing or on set, she loves nothing more than good ghost stories and Goth clubs, singing soprano in choir and adventuring about her adopted hometown of New York City, where she resides with her real-life hero and beloved rescued lab rabbit Persebunny.

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Want to purchase ’s novel?
Strangely Beautiful

  1. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker at Amazon | Book Depository
  2. The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker at Amazon | Book Depository
  3. The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess at Amazon | Book Depository
  4. Miss Violet & the Great War at Amazon

Darker Still at Amazon | Book Depository
A Midwinter Fantasy at Amazon | Book Depository
Dark Nest at Amazon
Dark Nest: Reckoning at Amazon | Book Depository
The World of Tomorrow is Sadly Outdated Part One at Amazon | Book Depository

Contest Time!

Thank you Leanna for taking part in Literary Escapism’s Black Friday!

Contest Time! Leanna is giving away a copy of Darker Still.. To enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: If you were shopping for your dashing gentlemen in 1880, what would you get him? Remember, you must answer the question in order to be entered. (US/Canada only)

Even though I’m not giving the additional entries any more, you can still help support the author by sharing their article, and this contest, on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere you can. After all, the more people who are aware of this fabulous author ensures we get more fabulous stories.

The winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.

All Black Friday contests will remain open until December 31st at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from the snazzy new plug-in I have. Have you checked out the other Black Friday contests yet? Check out the Master List to see all the Black Friday giveaways

I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.

About Jackie 3282 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.


  1. Good question. The tea set is an inspired choice for an English gentleman. Since the 1880’s was a time of great exploration all over the world and the British Empire was at its height, maybe I’d get him a beautiful map of Africa or the Indian subcontinent. I love Leanna’s Percy Parker books and I’m looking forward to reading Darker Still.

  2. If I were shopping for my dashing gentleman in 1880, I would probably get him something that would remind him of me whenever he used it, like an engraved pocket watch perhaps.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  3. A pocket watch! That seems handy but also nice to have. Every time he looks at the time he can be reminded of me.

  4. If I was to shop for a gentleman in the 1880’s I would purchase him a dapper suit and cane. Appearances meant a lot back then!

  5. What comes to mind is a pocket watch – it would have an engraving on the front that holds special meaning to him. Then inside, an engraving of my face so that he can always be reminded who gave it to him.

  6. A fabulous new cravat perhaps?

    This sounds like an amazing debut novel to add to my list. Thank you for coming on and sharing this with us.

  7. It would depend on what he liked, but I’d lean toward a book or artwork. However, if he’s fighting demons and other things that go bump in the night, a gorgeous walking stick that hides a sword or knife of some sort!

    And I have to add Yea Leanna!! for having a rescued lab rabbit!

  8. When I’m shopping for my man now, I can’t just buy 1 item. So, with that said if I was shopping for him back then, I believe I’d get him a few items too. Maybe a long black coat, some black boots. I don’t think I’d be wealthy enough for jewelry, but if I was, the thing to buy would be the pocket watch. Every man either wanted or had one, so I’ll have to join with the other commenters and say that too.

  9. Thanks for a lovely post and excerpt!

    I think that I’d get an 1890’s gentleman a nice waistcoat or pocket watch :)

    Happy Holidays!

  10. I think a great gift would be a compass or a pocket watch. Men were very worldly and it was a time of exploration.

  11. I’d give him a tiny framed photo of myself, decked out in all my best finery, so that he could gaze upon me whenever he wished. Like the one Jonathon had of Mina (in Dracula).

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