Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Very Gothic Christmas by Christine Feehan & Melanie George

I had been searching for this book for close to a year, and when my bookstore finally brought it in, I was ecstatic. The “Gothic” in the title decreed that I must have this book. If you don’t know already, I’m a huge gothic-romance fan, and I’m always (and I do mean ALWAYS) on the look-out for more.

There are two novellas in this book.

After The Music by Christine Feehan

Terrified by mysterious threats, Jessica Fitzpatrick spirits away her twin wards, Tara and Trevor, to the remote island mansion of their estranged father, world-famous musician Dillon Wentworth. Ever since the fire that claimed his troubled wife’s life and left him horribly disfigured, Dillon has shut out the world. With Christmas approaching, the spark between him and Jessica might light the future, but there are those who shared Dillon’s wife’s love of the occult … and their evil machinations may plunge the family into darkness – unless a Christmas miracle occurs …

Wrapping up in 257 pages, this is the longer tale of the two. It is well-written, heartwarming and atmospheric. Although I can’t strictly say this is a gothic tale, it does nevertheless have some gothic elements.

Someone is out to kill, at Dillon’s remote and remarkable renaissance-gothic mansion. (The fact that he’s a fan of gothic architecture just made me enjoyed the story a little more. *wink*) The accidents that happen seem random, not targeting at anyone specifically. And everyone who’s staying at that house is his nearest and dearest, the people he considers family. So who’s out to harm one of them? The tension is well-done, with some spookiness adding to the overall gothic effect.

Dillon and Jessica is a well-matched, likeable couple. They have known each other for a long time, when Jessica’s late mother was Dillon’s housekeeper and nanny to his children. They have always had a bond, and on Jessica’s part, a crush for Dillon. Despite the long separation, when they get together, sparks fly and their love scenes are steamy yet tender.

I especially like Jessica’s bond with Dillon’s children. Their love for one another is real and heartwarming. It also helps that Jessica is a level-headed girl.

The miracle that happens at the end of the story is a little far-fetched, but it’s a minor bother that I’m willing to overlook.

My rating: 4
Sensuality rating: Warm +

Lady Of The Locket by Melanie George

The echoes of history and romance lure Rachel Hudson to Glengarren, the Scottish castle where her parents met many Christmases ago. But it is the portrait of fierce Highlander Duncan MacGregor that sparks an inexplicable yearning inside her. On a storm-tossed night, as lightning cracks across the castle’s turrets, Rachel finds herself face-to-face with MacGregor himself, astride a mighty stallion. Now, stepping into Rachel’s time – and her heart – the warrior from the past is pursued by an ancient, evil enemy …

This is a time-travel tale. I’m not a fan of the time-travel plot. Bother. Anyhow, I gave it a go. It’s only 162 pages … how hard can it be?

What’s nice? Given the little space she had to work with, the author succeeded brilliantly to set the ominous mood and create the chilling, frigid atmosphere that surrounds the Glengarren Castle. The villain, when and how he appears, is appallingly good too.

What’s middling? The lead characters aren’t well fleshed-out and they appear superficial. Their dialogues are rather awful in the beginning, but thankfully they get better. Their sexual attraction and romance develop at a break-neck pace.

What’s awful? The time-travel process itself is a blur and confusing. Plenty of sound effects and swirling wind, and out pops the medieval laird. I kind of went “what the heck just happened?”

The ending, I have to admit, is a mini heart-breaker. But it’s still a HEA … *grin*

My rating: 3
Sensuality rating: Warm

Overall rating3
Sensuality ratingWarm

TBR Hill Challenge: 9 down, 1 to go

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