Thursday, October 7, 2010

After Midnight by Teresa Medeiros

Book Description:
"Our sister is marrying a vampire." When the ever practical Caroline Cabot first hears those words from the lips of her fanciful youngest sister, she accuses Portia of having a wild imagination. But when she discovers their sister Vivienne is actually being courted by Adrian Kane, the mysterious viscount rumored to be a vampire, she decides to accept his invitation to a midnight supper and do some sleuthing of her own. To both her delight and her dismay, she soon finds herself falling under Kane's bewitching spell. After all, what's a proper young lady to do when her sister's suitor arouses more than just her suspicions?

I really enjoyed this late Regency paranormal romance!  A pleasant surprise, I had no idea what to expect.  Still on the search for an historical paranormal that's as good as The Gardella Vampire Chronicles, this one has come the closest so far in my quest.

Set in 1820 London and it's environs, the story centers on three sisters, one of whom is outwardly being wooed by a rumored vampire.  Said vampire is doing nothing to dispel the rumors, while at the same time, he's falling for her sister Caroline, who as the eldest and considered on the shelf, has serious doubts about whether or not she wants her sister Vivienne marrying this mysterious Adrian Kane, who is never seen in the daylight.   Caroline's common sense wars with the evidence that is gradually stacking up against him. Is he a vampire or not?  If not, why has no one seen him outdoors on a sunny day?  Why are there no mirrors in his entire house?  Why is a London constable suspicious and warning her away from him, and why is he so interested in Vivienne, who looks exactly like his fiancee who mysteriously disappeared and died a violent death six years earlier?  Good grief!  And to make matters worse, he's devilishly handsome, in a blond, hot blooded, manly sort of way with nary a hint of fanged teeth about him!

Yet, his younger brother is another story.  What is he hiding beneath that studied Byronesque pose of his?  Is he the real vampire in the family with his deathly pallor and penchant for rare meat? 

Adrian is definitely hiding something and Caroline is torn.  One side of her wants to find out the truth about him, and the other side just wants him!  It doesn't help that he obviously wants her too!  How dare he, when he's supposed to be courting her sister! Stolen kisses and his enigmatic answers to her questions aren't helping.  The stakes are upped when she finds out her sister Vivienne is being used as bait to catch the real vampire in the story.  Will Caroline risk her own life to save her sister, and unwittingly put her other sister, Portia's life in grave danger?  Can she forgive Adrian for lying to her and putting Vivienne in such danger?

Lots of questions and dilemmas that made this a really fun read.  I loved the vampire slayer aspect to it without it being too heavy handed.  It didn't dominate the story which is basically a romance.  There were humorous parts that made me laugh, particularly the way Adrian and Caroline sparred with one another, yet somehow she always seemed to wind up in his arms and ultimately - his bed.  There was also just enough suspense and mystery to it to make it compelling all the way to the finish with room for a sequel, which I'll definitely be reading!

I highly recommend.  An entertaining and worthwhile read!



Marie-Thérèse said...

I really enjoy Teresa Medeiros regular historical novels-she manages to almost always strike the right balance between humour and emotion and her heroines are strong, interesting and self-sufficient without seeming wildly anachronistic. Because I'm not a paranormal fan, I've never read one of her vampire books but this sounds so good, I think I'll have to remedy that lack very soon!

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

M-T - I've only read two other books by her and they were Scottish historicals and I admit I was less than thrilled with them. This paranormal was so fun though, I'll definitely read the sequel and give some of her others another chance.

Marie-Thérèse said...

Julie, were the others early books by her? I don't like her early medievals which are really nothing like her mature books. The early books seem like she was writing to the market and in a style not very congenial to her, one that really didn't play to her strengths.

Have you read 'The Bride and the Beast'? It's a Scottish historical set in the late 18th century and follows the Beauty and the Beast theme. It has a nice balance of angst and humour and the small Scottish village setting is rather unusual. It's part of a series based around fairy-tales. The other two are 'Fairest of Them All' and 'A Kiss to Remember'. All three are good but I think 'Bride' is my favourite.

You might also like 'Yours Until Dawn', which is a more angsty novel (hero is blind as the result of a war injury and is quite bitter). We read it as a book club read over at Library Thing about a year ago so you can check out our thoughts there. I prefer Medeiros' more humourous, lighter books but many readers really love this one.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

M-T - I haven't read the books you mentioned, I read the first in the fairy tale series, "To Pleasure a Prince" and wasn't too into it, and I also read "A Whisper of Roses" which did nothing for me. But, I'll take your suggestions, although I think I'll skip "Yours Until Dawn" for now, doesn't sound like my cup of tea, but the other recs sound good!

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