Can the living coexist with the living dead?
That’s the question that has New Victorian society fiercely divided ever since the mysterious plague known as “The Laz” hit the city of New London and turned thousands into walking corpses. But while some of these zombies are mindless monsters, hungry for human flesh, others can still think, speak, reason, and control their ravenous new appetites.
Just ask Nora Dearly, the young lady of means who was nearly kidnapped by a band of sinister zombies but valiantly rescued by a dashing young man . . . of the dead variety.
Nora and her savior, the young zombie soldier Bram Griswold, fell hopelessly in love. But others feel only fear and loathing for the reanimated dead. Now, as tensions grow between pro- and anti-zombie factions, battle lines are being drawn in the streets. And though Bram is no longer in the New Victorian army, he and his ex-commando zombie comrades are determined to help keep the peace. That means taking a dangerous stand between The Changed, a radical group of sentient zombies fighting for survival, and The Murder, a masked squad of urban guerrillas hellbent on destroying the living dead. But zombies aren’t the only ones in danger: Their living allies are also in The Murder’s crosshairs, and for one vengeful zealot, Nora Dearly is the number one target.
As paranoia, prejudice, and terrorist attacks threaten to plunge the city into full-scale war, Nora’s scientist father and his team continue their desperate race to unlock the secrets of “The Laz” and find a cure. But their efforts may be doomed when a mysterious zombie appears bearing an entirely new strain of the virus—and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse.
Lia Habel’s spellbinding, suspenseful sequel to Dearly, Departed takes her imaginative mash-up of period romance, futuristic thriller, and zombie drama to a whole new level of innovative and irresistible storytelling.
*This is a series that has to be read in order if you have not read book one this might contain spoilers!*
Dearly, Beloved picks up just months after Dearly, Departed left off. (Dearly, Departed Review) Now that the Zombie attack is over in New London people are trying to get back to a somewhat normal life. Trying to learn to live with loved ones that are now Zombies is not easy and it's even harder when some people of society shun this idea and are out for blood. A group of masked living people called The Murder have been terrorizing the town and sane Zombies are going missing. On top of that a group called the Changed are willing to go to great lengths to protect the turned and it is pulling the old Z Comp team back together.
People are starting to panic, especially since a new strand of the Lazarus has been found and the vaccine has failed for a few of the people bitten in the riots. Nora's Father and the other Scientist are working night and day to learn more about this new strand and the vaccine. So far only one Zombie has the new strand of Lazarus and he is closely guarded and tested but he once belong to the Changed and they want him back. I found myself curious of this new zombie, everyone is scared to death of him and if I would have been in Nora's position the outcome would have been the same. She was curious about him and wasn't afraid to learn more. Nora rocks!
Lia Habel has created a world unlike any other Zombie novel has. Where Zombies are somewhat accepted and how love can be found in crazy situations. There is a lot going on in this book and it is not a stand alone, you must read book one Dearly, Departed. This book is set up the same as the first in which each chapter is from a different characters point of view. Don't let that dieter you though it's so well written and everything flows perfectly and comes together in the end. I highly recommend this series, take the journey into the futuristic Victorian world were people are learning about a new way of life and a new way to love.
- " The Heart of all the world I'd ever known, now transformed, somehow shatter-half dead and half alive."
- There was no real difference between a living and a dead Human body, and there was no difference between me and the thousand other functioning zombies out there. We were all survivors, and we all had the right to do as much surviving as we possibly could, as much living as we possibly could."
- "...sometimes you must save yourself before you can save others. You are no good to your Family if you ignore your own pain."
- "What might not be there are the chances you have right now. If you can hold on another hour, another day- if you can live one more good, honorable minute- those are victories. And they open up the whole world."
ABOUT THE AUTHORLia Habel was born in Western NY – as far as it’s physically possible to get from New York City and still be in the same state, and official spooky abandoned farmhouse territory. As an only child of good geek stock, young Lia was lovingly reared on horror movies, video games, and Victorian novels. She developed an affection for horror movie monsters early on, often challenging her weary mother with lists of reasons why Jason Voorhees might yet be saved or excuses for Darkman’s cackling insanity. As she grew older and her natural sympathy extended to ever more serial killers, swamp monsters, sentient fanged beasts, and reanimated gents, her mother began to worry what her daughter might one day bring home.
Despite this promising start, Lia went on to live an unremarkable life. Although she entertained vague thoughts of one day writing (comic books, specifically), it was only her love of literature that compelled her to pursue her B.A. in English Lit from SUNY Buffalo. Afterwards, ever the generalist and lover of Old Things, Lia moved to the UK to attend the University of Leicester and get her M.A. in Museum Studies. Several scattered internships and jobs followed, but Lia was never able to obtain long-term, serious work in her chosen field. She wrote the first draft of Dearly, Departed while unemployed, because it seemed like more fun than filling out job applications. Ultimately, she ended up procrastinating herself into a wonderful career.
Miss Habel currently lives with three former alley cats and far too many Victorian ball gowns. She enjoys attending anachronistic and steampunk events, watching zombie movies (her goal is to watch every zombie movie ever made), and collecting Victorian and Edwardian books.
You can find Lia Habel here
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A huge thanks to Lia Habel for stopping by the blog to offer you guys a excerpt for her newest release Dearly, Beloved. Get your copy today and spend your Halloween falling in love with ZOMBIES!
**You can meet Lia Habel in person August 2013 at Authors After Dark which will be in Savannah! Don't miss this extraordinary event for readers and Authors Alike!
“What else is new? I’d still like to know why those guys were wearing those stupid masks.”
“Probably bought them all at the same store. Maybe that’ll come back to bite them.”
I couldn’t help it. “Is that a threat or a promise?”
“Nora, you’re the only person I’ll ever bite. And you know it.” A smile ghosted across his lips. “You think I’d cheat on you with common criminals?”
“How messed up is it that I find that really romantic?”
Bram chuckled, and kissed my temple. It occurred to me that the last place we should be hanging out alone was a room that contained a bed—not that there was much danger of that with a dead guy. “Any luck on your end?”
“Not a thing.” I handed him the folder. “But there’s nothing in here about Michael.” Bram made an adorable face when I said his name, and I took the opportunity to scoot closer, as if I wanted to comfort him. Noticing this, he slid his arm around my shoulders. “So I’m almost starting to think I should try to talk to him. As vomit-inducing as this concept is.”
“Why?” Bram tossed the folder into a random pile. “He was with Miss Roe and us the whole time. Unfortunately.”
“Yeah, but before that he was with Aunt Gene. He was the one who told Pam she was with his family. Besides, you heard what he said. That he likes me.” I stuck my tongue out to show Bram exactly what I thought of that idea. “So maybe he’d talk to me. I don’t know. I feel like it’s the only direction left to go in.”
Bram thought about this, his eyes lidding. I could almost identify, by the little emotions that flitted across his masculine features, what he was internally arguing with himself about. Even in death he was so alive. His skin was like purest white candle wax, his eyes like faded mercury glass baubles—inanimate objects—and still they conveyed so much.
“I know what it’s like to hold out hope,” he eventually said. “But you have to be prepared to accept . . . she’s gone. And you’ll never know what happened to her. That the Allisters are telling the truth. I think your dad has more problems with this than you do. I’m not saying it’s time to give up, I’m just saying it’s a possibility.”
“I know. I feel bad, though. We didn’t get along in the end, but I wouldn’t have wished this on her.” Leaning back against his arm, I decided to confess. “Things up here aren’t like we imagined they would be, are they?”
“Not entirely.” It was honestly a relief to hear him say it.
Drawing my knees up, I encompassed them with my arms. I’d been debating whether I should tell him, and in that moment, I decided it was the right thing to do. “Papa wants to send me away.”
“What?” Bram turned to look at me fully. “Where?”
“Belize. To his relatives. I don’t even know them. It’s a long story . . . let’s just say Mama was poor and they hated her for that. They cut him off. Aunt Gene eventually married a man from the South and came down here to join him. She was the only one who’d talk to him.” I’d always considered that fact mere family history, a dry, boring dust mote of information—but this time, as I said it, it seemed suddenly so important. So human. Cold as she was, Aunt Gene had truly loved her brother.
We couldn’t give up looking for her. We had no right to.
“Is he going to?” Bram’s voice was tight.
“I think I managed to talk my way out of it.” Steadying myself, I went on. “Obviously, he’s terrified. And he has reason to be. But next time he comes home, we have to talk. I’ll be honest with him. I’ll him that he has to give me some freedom—or I’m going to have to get it behind his back. And I’m sorry if that makes me sound selfish. But I want to feel useful. Hanging around the house squinting at legalese doesn’t cut it.”
Bram leaned forward and brushed his cool cheek along the edge of my jaw, and my eyes seemed to shut of their own accord. “You don’t sound selfish. I get it. I want to follow his rules because I respect him, but I think he’s kind of confused right now. Not himself. I hate to say it, but it’s the truth.”
“After this week, then, no more.” Lifting my hand to the edge of his vest, I pulled him closer to me. “Because neither of us has time for this. Alone or together. But if I end up having to go slightly underground . . . you don’t need to sneak around or lie for me. That’s all I’m saying.”
“I sneak around and lie for you every morning. Well, did.” Bram put his hand over mine. “We’ll play it smart. And besides, I think I have a mission lined up that he’ll agree to. Maybe we should look at it that way. Chance to prove we can go out, handle ourselves like adults, come back in one piece.”
“Got some zombies in the city who need help. Not in the Morgue. Been holding off till you can go. Sound like a good place to start?”
“Yes! Finally!” Pulling back, I bounced a little where I sat. “Between that and doing something about Michael—God, it sounds stupid, but I already feel better.”
“Maybe it’s my reptile brain talking, but I don’t want to hear about the thought of Michael making you feel better.”
Grinning, I said, “Sorry.” I lowered my eyes to the tarnished watch chain draped atop Bram’s brown vest, and reached out to follow its length to his pocket with my fingers. I slipped my hand inside, drew the watch out, and opened it to find the photograph it contained. Bram and his little sisters. “I have to try everything, though. I bet your family looked for you. Maybe they’re still looking.”
Bram reached out and gently extricated his watch from my hands before closing and repocketing it. “I honestly hope not,” he said, before standing. He seemed genuinely troubled by the idea.
“Nothing.” He put on a smile. “Really. It’s nothing.”
I have a pretty good bull radar, and his statement made it go off. I didn’t press it, though. Bram’d had a rough life, and the hard-won right to brood about it in private if he wanted to. “I’ll look everything over again later. Lord knows there’s nothing else to do besides this and arms training.” Standing up, I brushed down my skirt and held up two fingers. “Two days and twelve hours. I think I’ll celebrate by setting off fireworks on the front lawn. In my underwear. While I dance.”
Bram laughed. “Promise?”
“Pinky swear.” I curled my little finger and tried to grab his hand. “Come on!”
Bram twisted his pinky with mine. “I’m holding you to that, then. I can’t court a girl who doesn’t keep her word.”
“Oh, I’ll so do it. It’s on.”
Bram shook his head, but was having a hard time fighting his laughter. “Dr. Dearly will kill you.”
“Around here, dead is normal.” I held out my arms. The long sleeves of my dress were puffy at the shoulders, with inserts of close-fitting black lace beneath. The effect on my pale skin was appropriate. “I think I’d look awesome as a zombie, personally.”
Bram’s expression went from jovial to mortally serious in about one second flat. He turned fully toward me and captured my upper arms, pushing me gently up against Papa’s gun cabinet. “Don’t joke about that,” he said, his voice focused and intense. He let go of me with one hand and gestured at his face. “You can’t become like this. You physically can’t. We’ve talked about this before.”
Forcing a laugh, I said, “I have to joke about it, Bram. Just like the rest of you do. It’s laugh or cry, live or die.”
“I know. It’s just . . . the hijacking reminded me of that. You have one shot at living.” He slid his big hands up my arms, over my shoulders, and cupped the sides of my face. “You’re perfect the way you are, Nora. Don’t ever think I want you to change, to be something you’re not.”
Had Bram felt the fear, too? Just a few weeks ago, terrified and overwrought, I had watched him while he slept, convinced he’d be taken from me. I didn’t want him to know. He was the strongest person I had ever met in my life. All my striving aside, as self-loathing as it might sound—I wanted to be worthy of him. I admired him that much.
“I won’t do anything stupid,” I promised, sneaking my hands up to lay them on his chest, marveling at the power I felt there—even as I failed, as always, to detect a heartbeat. “Believe me, I want to be safe. I want all of us to be safe.”
Bram slid the thin pad of his thumb over my cheekbone and nodded slowly. My breath caught as he started to lean closer, the motion of his neck fluid. We hadn’t kissed properly since Colombia, and I could still recall every second of the last one he’d given me. Sick as it was, I’d loved the sensation of his cold lips so much that I couldn’t even comprehend the idea that warm ones might be better. I loved how firmly he had kissed me, just hard enough to hint at the sensation of a bruise. He was the only boy I’d ever kissed, and I knew he was perfect.
Thank goodness no one was around to see just how eager I was to disobey my father. Or possibly judge how disturbed I was. But if other people wanted to call me a “necroslut”—fine. That’s what I’d be. And I would never feel ashamed about it again.