Once in a while, I'm sent an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) to read and review. If you write in the comment area the last book you read in 2010, I'll put the names in the special hat and let MikiSquirrel pick one to get a copy of the book.
Title: Nocturne by Syrie James
Hardcover (Vanguard Press), coming out 4 Jan 2011
When Nicole Whitcomb's car runs off a Colorado mountain road during a blinding snowstorm, she is saved from death by a handsome, fascinating, and enigmatic stranger.
Snowbound with him for days in his beautiful home high in the Rockies, she finds herself powerfully attracted to him. But there are things about him that mystify her, filling her with apprehension.
Who is Michael Tyler? Why does he live alone in such a secluded spot and guard his private life so carefully? What secret--or secrets--is he hiding?
Nicole has secrets of her own and a past she is running from--but Michael understands her better than anyone she has ever known. Soon, she is falling as deeply in love with him as he is with her--a profoundly meaningful experience that is destined to change their lives forever.
As the sexual tension between them builds, however, the clues mount up. When Nicole learns her host's terrifying secret, there is nowhere for her to run but into the blizzard raging outside, and Michael may be the only one who can save her life.
Nocturne is a romantic love story about forbidden love between a woman who meets a man who is also a vampire. If you're a bit tired of another band of fang brothers looking for mates, with good vs evil story arcs, and heroines with magic hoohas, this is not your story. Nocturne is a simple tale of love between a man, who isn't what he seems, and a woman who appears into his life literally by accident.
The book is a gothic tale in disguise, about loving the man inside the monster. The elements are there--the magnificent mansion on the lonely Colorado mountains, the lone owner, the trapped heroine, the ugly secret. Yet, Ms James has stripped the horror and bloody parts out, and merely concentrated on the love affair.
Michael Tyler is more prince than monster. He's Buffy's Angel with more soul. He's spent hundreds of years perfecting his loneliness by surrounding himself with things that he can't hurt. When black ice and an accident brought the injured Nicole to his doorstep, he is forced to help her. He decides that, by being distant to the beautiful woman, he'd put her out of temptation's way.
However, Nicole has four days to kill and no cell phone service or internet. What's a girl to do but go investigating this lovely mansion with its pretty music boxes and huge library with memoirs? The man who has given her sanctuary is handsome but rather rude, and when and what exactly does he eat anyway, since there's barely any food in this large place? Slowly, as she becomes more drawn to him, she unravels Michael's secret.
This love story consists of scenes of two people getting to know each other. Michael, as a character, is too perfect to be true--a gentle man, skilled in doctoring, carpentry, and plays the piano like a pro. And he's a master horse whisperer to boot. Not to mention his current reclusive world famous author persona. He has had a horrific past, but has somehow become the Dalai Lama of Vampirism. In fact, he's so perfect, there is barely any conflict other than the fact that he grows fangs.
Nicole is a big fan of Michael the author. She's very attracted to him and her growing affection is put to the test when she discovers Michael's secret. But really, if she looks past that blood lust thing, the dude has everything she wants in a man.
Nocturne, like that piece of music, is about the night, a piece with different movements. Similarly, Nicole's and Michael's relationship moves and grows, yet remains mostly lyrical; it is also haunting because they both are aware that their time together is short.
I enjoyed Nocturne as a music piece. Evocative and stirring, with a romantic love as its center piece. But it is also very contained in the sense that nothing concrete actually happens in spite of the big adventure of meeting a noble vampire. But that's what a nocturne is--it's inspired by the feel of that one perfect night/evening and that's what Syrie James' Nocturne is too, a perfect interlude.
If you would like a chance to read this book, tell me the last book you read in 2010 in the comments. This giveaway only covers the US and Canada, though. I apologize to my international readers.
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