Months after Lane's disappearance, Katherine's mansion is attacked by strangers who threaten her peaceful life with Uncle Tully. Running out of options, she makes the difficult decision to fake his death and move him to a house owned by Marianna in France, built with a secret room for Tully. Katherine is determined to find Lane there. But this plan is not going to be easy. Uncle Tully panics around unfamiliar people, so how will he handle waking up in another country? What happens if he is found, and what if Lane is truly gone?
I have to admit, I was scared to read this book. I got so attached to the prequel that I was afraid of disappointment. But boy am I glad I read it anyway! Things may have been tough for our heroine in the first book, but she really gets tested in A Spark Unseen. Cameron created some nice twists and turns that I never expected, and it was hard to put this book down. In fact, I spent hours at a time reading it, which is a lot coming from someone with a pretty short attention span. I also like how the title plays into the storyline so well, with the "invisible" spark Uncle Tully creates and how it affects everyone. This book seems a little bit darker to me than its predecessor, especially where Uncle Tully is concerned. He is still uncomfortable with the fact that Lane is away, and bringing him to a different country triggers him to panic, more than we've seen before. He goes so far as to inflict harm on himself, and Katherine has to handle it alone. In The Dark Unwinding, she is surrounded by people there to help her make decisions. But in this novel, she has to rely on herself. What I like about her character is that despite how much she has lost, and the situations she has to face, she continues to fight. She is one tough cookie.
This book takes place in France, so plenty of new characters are introduced (mostly shallow high society folk), one of them being Henri Marchand. I found Henri to be quite charming. I mean, he's tall dark, and handsome, and on top of that he has an accent. Who doesn't love an accent?! When he started getting close to Katherine, it immediately became Team Henri vs. Team Lane for me. If Lane turns out to be dead, then will Katherine turn to Henri for comfort? If he's alive, does he still love her? Cameron narrowly avoided making him another Ben Aldridge, which I appreciate. It appears that besides the fact they are both handsome outsiders that seem to have feelings for our heroine, they are polar opposites. Henri seems genuine, but Ben Aldridge, or should I say Charles Arceneaux, is dirty to the core. Another character is Mrs. DuPont: shady, but good as an ally. Even though she is cold and quite menacing, her family definitely softens her. I started off hating Mrs. DuPont, but by the end of the book I had grown a liking to her.
I was eager for Lane and Katherine to reunite, imagining it to be an explosion of love and hormones because that's what happens in most YA romance novels. It didn't quite meet those exact expectations, but it is really sweet. Lane's sense of humor always gets to me. Instead of using a cliché scenario, Cameron showed us that what Lane and Katherine have is not just physical attraction. Their relationship includes trust, compromise, and patience. It's unique and a little refreshing. But I feel there is more to be explored with this story. I would have definitely liked to see more of the emperor's family. We only get to see glimpses of characters like Therese and the emperor's current wife, and the book ends with us barely knowing them. In addition, I feel like the reveal of Lane's relationship to the emperor was rushed. Katherine figured it out at the very end before anything could become of it, so I'm curious to see if this secret will appear in the next book, if there is a sequel coming. I sure hope there is, because I am HOOKED on this series.