Series: Darkest London, #1
Released: January 31, 2012
Source: Review copy from publisher
Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family’s fortune decimated and forced her to wed London’s most nefarious nobleman.
Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it’s selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can’t help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn’t felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.
First Impression: Amazing! Kristen Callihan’s debut novel is an exciting take on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, complete with a kick-butt urban fantasy heroine. It blended my favorite genres of romance – paranormal, historical, Gothic, mystery & suspense.
What Really Worked: I was drawn in by the enthralling story, but the characters were equally fantastic. The sparks ignite between Miranda and Archer when they meet in a dark alley. He thinks she needs rescuing from a couple of street thugs, but Miranda can handle herself quite nicely, thank you very much! Miranda is blessed (or cursed) with a supernatural ability. She is a fire starter, something that has caused great grief for her family, so she does all she can to keep it secret. Archer has a secret of his own, one he keeps hidden underneath a mask. They go their separate ways that night, but Archer returns 3 years later to ask for her hand in marriage. Miranda’s father pressures her to accept. She resists at first, but there’s something about this strange man that compels her to marry him.
This was a well-crafted story with many layers. When a string of murders occur in London, fingers point to Archer as he is somehow connected to each victim. As the story progresses, more clues are revealed about Archer’s past and what lies beneath his mask. This book was a page-turner for sure!
I loved both main characters. Archer was the perfect tortured hero, strong (and intimidating) on the outside but emotionally vulnerable and lonely on the inside. And, of course, Miranda was the perfect heroine to save him. She was clever and tough, and very headstrong (to Archer’s chagrin). The dialogue between them was skillfully written. Their verbal sparing was very entertaining.
What Didn’t Work So Much: The only thing would be that I wanted to know more about the origins of Miranda’s unique “gift.”
Final Thoughts: Loved it! FIRELIGHT has reignited my love of the paranormal romance genre. (No pun intended.) Read it now…what are you waiting for?
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.