‘This is where all stories start, on the edge of a dark wood…’
Ever since moving to Fairwick to take up a teaching post at the local college, Callie has been having vivid, erotic dreams about a man made out of moonlight and shadows. Dreams she begins to fear as well as anticipate…
She learns that her home – a Victorian cottage at the edge of a wood she bought on a whim – is supposedly haunted. And then her new – and rather strange – colleagues tell her a local legend about an incubus demon with a human past who was enchanted by a fairy queen…
Should be noted that I obtained this book from Netgalley under the title of ‘The Demon Lover’ by Juliet Dark, a pen name of Carol Goodman.
Callie lost her parents at a very young age, sent to live with her cold distant Grandmother she finds solace in an ‘imaginary’ prince who tells her folktales at night. Fast forward a number of years, Callie is now a lecturer in folk law, she has an interview with a small university in the back of beyond. She knows the job could spell professional suicide yet she is drawn to the place, and then she finds the old house by the woods…..
Both the covers for this book are quite deceptive with both appearing to be trying to appeal to the YA market. In fact I bought it for the school library and quickly had to move it to the Sixth Form and Staff library. It is definitely a more adult book and is everything that you would expect from a paranormal romance novel.
This is a rare foray into books for adults for me, and despite the above I was aware that this was for adults when I picked it up. It did make a very welcome change and I have gone on to read the second book in the series since. It has everything that I love in a book. Supernatural and gothic themes, setting described so well that you can picture them and very strong believable characters. It was a book that reminded me strongly of ‘A Discovery of Witches’ by Deborah Harkness and ‘The Witching Hour’ by Anne Rice and I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone who enjoyed these books. Witchcraft, gothic houses and family secrets are all themes that run through each book.
The supernatural has been done to death in recent years. I liked that the mythology of it all was original in this book, something that is hard to do with the proliferation of books lately. I dearly love anything to do with the fey so their inclusion was very welcome.
Callie was a very strong central character, but this wasn’t to the expense of other characters in the book. As a reader you got to know them all. This was through Callie, as the book is told from her perspective, but she was on the whole quite perceptive and even when she wasn’t the plot strongly pointed out how you should feel about a character. There was a ‘twist’ at the end of the book that I found fairly obvious. But I did get the impression that this was done on purpose by the author; that the reader should know what was likely to happen, even if the main characters didn’t. There was also a second twist that I saw coming a mile off which wasn’t perhaps meant to be quite so obvious. I have a feeling that it was my hopelessly romantic side that wanted the result, rather than me actually being able to predict.
A very strong feature of this book is the setting. The town, the house, university buildings and the woods nearly become a character all of their own. They are described in such detail that it is almost cinematic. In many way the old house, with it’s history and eccentricities becomes a character outside of its description.
Overall I really did want to carry on reading and was quite disappointed when the book finished and quickly moved onto the next book. I can’t wait for the third to come out. It has also made me investigate the author further and I will be reading more of her other books. I now have a taste for books for ‘grown-ups’ which will make a nice change.
Verdict: Wonderful characters, amazing setting and great mythology. A really enjoyable read.
Reviewed by Alison