Monday, November 14, 2011

REVIEW: Caressed by Moonlight by Amanda J. Greene

I don’t tend to read a lot of Regency romances – as much as I love the fashions – but I was immediately taken by the delicious twist that Amanda puts on the tale with Caressed by Moonlight. Victoria Kingston is a poor, penniless orphan, desperate to find herself a husband in time to save her sister from the cruel clutches of their aunt.

Pretty standard stuff, except for the fact that Victoria has less than a month to get herself married.

Despite her desperation, Victoria heeds the warnings of her best friend and vows to stay far away from the dark and dangerous Prince Dorian Vlakhos. An aristocrat of the highest order, he’s the kind of man who would surely be well out of social reach, regardless of her vows.

Again, pretty standard stuff, except for the fact that Dorian rules over a clan of vampires, and under a very personal curse.

What we have here is a paranormal romance that plays with the conventions of the Regency romance – and does so very well – but which also foreshadows the intelligent, fiercely independent, sexually liberated heroine of literary eras and genres to follow. By the time Victoria learns the truth about Dorian, she has already decided to accept him as he is, just as he has done for her. Theirs is a fairy-tale romance, and if it’s tainted with the coppery tang of blood, that simply adds to the magic.

Layered alongside the romance, however, is also a tale of intrigue and mystery related to the wars between vampire clans, and the curse under which Dorian rules. It’s to Amanda’s credit that both storylines work equally well, and the novel certainly benefits from having one enhance the other. Romantic and sensual on the one hand, and adventurous and thrilling on the other hand, this is book that continually surprised me with its depth, its passion, and its creativity.

With characters you can’t help but swoon over, a storyline that I suspect still has some surprises to come, and a wonderfully well-written narrative that quite easily seduces you into reading just another page, I can’t wait to see where Amanda takes things next.

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