Hannah Howell, Lynsay Sands, Richelle Mead, Jackie Kessler
Published 2009 413 pages
Reviewed by Georgia
Summary (from the book jacket)
Theirs is a world of ancient desires and forbidden pleasures. They are men of mystery and women of seduction, wild creatures with the power to entrance and enchant, tease and tantalize. Enter their secret world, if you dare...
The Yearning by Hannah Howell
Alpin has lived for centuries with a lust that can never be quenched with mere physical pleasure. And then he meets Sophie whose own search for lasting love binds them together in a cloak of shimmering sensuality...
A Hell of a Time by Jackie Kessler
Jesse’s immortal life as a soul-stealing succubus is over. And now that she is human, she longs to tempt her lover with all her persuasive powers of total sexual seduction...
City of Demons by Richelle Mead
Seth cannot resist the intense sexual allure of his demon lover Georgina. Yet their love reaches beyond the physical, into a place of complete untamed surrender...
Bitten by Lynsay Sands
Keeran’s existence as a vampire has taught him to accept a life without love... until he saves Emily from certain death. And suddenly he discovers the soul-searing passion he thought he’d lost forever...
Okay let me preface this review by saying that the back-cover description is misleading. This four-story anthology does indeed deal with the subject of love and romantic encounters between man and woman, but not in the cheesy way described above. In an overview of the anthology I can say that it is not bad, yet not breathtakingly exciting. Romance takes centre stage spiced up with amorous scenes moderately explicit. This makes -on the whole- a balanced mixture and the stories can be easily digested.
Hannah Howell’s story takes place in late medieval Scotland. Sophie, the chief character, sets out to free her family and that of Alpin’s from a curse laid upon them for more than four centuries. This quest turns out to be life altering for both Sophie and Alpin.
It’s a nice and well-rounded story with a feisty heroine and an interesting hero. It has a good pace, descriptive but not exhausting narrative and a lot of action. The dialogues between the characters are authentic of their era and they bring forth a lot of the times’ customs and morals. The plot unravels gradually allowing the reader the suspense of what will happen up till the very last sentence. It is a really well-delivered historical novella with a main plot and a few sub-plots and well-presented characters.
On the other hand, Jackie Kessler’s story is a great disappointment. I’m saying this mainly due to the way the story is being written. I am unfamiliar with the author’s writing style, but what came out in this story left a lot to be desired.
It concerns a former succubus who takes a short holiday with her boyfriend only for it to turn out a little different than what she hoped for. The problem with this story is that it is repetitive to the point of sheer irritation. Had the story been shortened by a third and had it only included the part of where the real story evolves, it would have been a decent story, with a rather bold and direct writing, which is appealing to some, but not all, yet it wouldn’t have been off-putting. Unfortunately this didn’t happen. I cannot go into further details without spoilers, so I will only say that we get the heroine’s sentiment the first time around and that repeating it relentlessly throughout the story doesn’t add anything to it.
Moving on Richelle Mead’s story is taken out of the Georgina Kincaid Series. This time around Georgina is asked to attend jury duty, instead of her boss Jerome, in L.A. She is permitted to take Seth with her. Their excursion to the City of Angels uncovers a lot of the undercurrents in their relationship making them both do stupid things.
Even if the story is taken out of a series the author takes caution to write it as an independent piece, thus enabling readers unfamiliar with her work to follow it without confusion. Furthermore, despite its paranormal background the story deals primarily with the insecurities that plague all relationships at some point. This is done realistically and with great respect to the many woes, troubles and questions that we all have. Even the answers are not always straightforward. Sometimes one has to take a step forward or even risk something just to be in a position to evaluate things better. Both Georgina and Seth are colourful representations of people in doubt and their interactions are way too familiar with most of the readers. I enjoyed the humour combined with the desperation that emanated from the characters, the agony of what is to be and of course the final outcome of the story.
If you follow the series, you might want to check this story out. Otherwise you may just discover why Georgina is such an interesting character.
Finally, Lynsay Sands’ story –and my own favourite– concerns Keeran, a Scottish nobleman who is turned into a vampire against his will. Keeran’s life runs its course in a boring pattern until he does the unthinkable and saves Emily from drowning.
The story may not take the big prize on originality, yet it stirs up feelings of agony, anticipation, frustration, contentment, fulfilment and surprise from the beginning until the end. There is a nuance of a Jane Austin tale with a touch of Emily Brontë here and there. The heroine’s character in stark contrast with that of the hero’s exudes determination, self-confidence and a thirst to live, which is both captivating to the reader and terrifying. Success is the result of perseverance reminds us the author in an elegant and discreet fashion as she tells us of Emily’s and Keeran’s challenges and choices.
I’ll give the anthology an overall three out of five.
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