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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Plot (from the book cover) : When Nicole Whitcomb's car runs off a Colorado mountain road during a blinding snowstorm, she is saved from death by a handsome, fascinating, and enigmatic stranger.
Snowbound with him for days in his beautiful home high in the Rockies, she finds herself powerfully attracted to him. But there are things about him that mystify her, filling her with apprehension. Who is Michael Tyler? Why does he live in such a secluded spot and guard his private life so carefully? What secret—or secrets—is he hiding?
Nicole has secrets of her own and a past she is running from—but Michael understands her better than anyone she has ever known. Soon, she is falling as deeply in love with him as he is with her— a profoundly meaningful experience that is destined to change their lives forever.
As the sexual tension between them builds, however, the clues mount up. When Nicole learns her host's terrifying secret, there is nowhere for her to run but into the blizzard raging outside, and Michael may be the only one who can save her life.

Filled with unexpected twists and surprises, Nocturne is a page-turning, haunting, and deeply romantic story of forbidden love that will grab your heart and not let go.
If you knew my dislike for vampires, zombies, ghosts and monsters in general, you should be really stunned at reading this post/review,  as  much as  I myself was puzzled while reading this novel : I was being charmed by one of those creatures I had always disliked! Dracula? Never got to the last page. True Blood with its gorgeous hotties ? No, thank you. The Twilight Saga? Just watched the first movie to understand why many of my students liked it so much. Now... why did I buy and read NOCTURNE all in one go? Though it is easy to guess, I'll try to explain. 

I interviewed Syrie James for one of my Austenesque events  on My Jane Austen Book Club, " Talking Jane Austen with ... " . She answered my questions about auntie Jane, about  The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, but she  presented her latest release, Nocturne, as well,  and what she said about it - without mentioning any supernatural creature -  made me curious. I went on reading about her new book on her blog and when I received her February Newletter, I made up my mind and ordered it from bookdepository
What had I read that made me want to read it? Syrie's blog at The Romance Dish and, most of all, I had seen the photo she chose for her Michael Tyler:

Vanguard Press so loved Dracula, My Love, they asked me to write a steamy, contemporary romantic novel for them featuring a vampire. I was thrilled to comply. Nocturne is a passionate love story about two wounded souls who, for four magical days, find shelter together from a raging storm, both literally and figuratively. I knew at once that my hero, Michael Tyler, had to be British. He was thrilling to conceive because even though the story takes place today at Michael's retreat in the Colorado mountains, he could be young and gorgeous yet centuries old—and thus be the kind of cultured, highly accomplished, dashing gentleman with a luscious accent of whom I'm so fond of writing. I believe that a vampire retains his humanity, so adding the paranormal element to this decent, charismatic hero just made him that much more compelling to write about. There's a reason Michael lives alone in this secluded spot; he wages a constant struggle against his darkest desires not to harm anyone. Both Nicole and Michael are running from their past, and Michael has a great deal to atone for, but through his character and actions, he shows us the power of redemption. He is brilliant, tender, and extremely romantic; a master pianist, among other artistic skills, who has taught himself to communicate with horses—which I find sexy, even if his very touch didn't make Nicole tremble with desire… And about the sex: it's guaranteed to curl your toes. I think vampire sex should be the best sex a woman's ever had. After all, they've had centuries to practice! (read the whole blogpost HERE)
Syrie had already mentioned Richard Armitage in my interview and in her February Newsletter, and clearly HE was the Michael she had in her mind while writing Nocturne. I read it and my suspicions proved correct.
I had never loved a vampire before, but if this vampire looked like RA and was like Syrie said in her presentation I couldn't resist. I didn't. Totally caught in the romance,  I forgot my previous prejudices. I liked the story and its hero.
Syrie James's skill at making her narration visual helped, she's also a successful screenwriter and that means a lot. Try to figure out this scene in your mind, then, tell me if you don't want to go on reading:
Nicole’s heart began to beat erratically. She’d heard scary things about mountain men who’d lived too long in isolated places. Who was this guy? He seemed cultured and spoke very formally, as if he belonged in the Queen’s court or in a palace surrounded by servants.
What was an Englishman doing in this remote corner of the Colorado mountains, unless he was hiding from something? But if he was a killer, surely he would have murdered her already, instead of carefully tending to her wounds. Wouldn’t he?
“You haven’t told me your name,” she said, straining to keep her voice even.
“Haven’t I? I beg your pardon. Michael Tyler.”
“How is it that you live up here? I thought this was national forest land.”
“It is. But there are pockets of private land scattered throughout.”
“Do you live here all year long?”
“I do.”
“By yourself, or …”
“I live alone.”
Her questions seemed to annoy him. He stood up and Nicole sensed that he was about to leave the room. In an effort to lighten the mood—or maybe just to put herself more at ease—she glanced at the grand piano and said with a forced smile, “So I take it it’s either you who plays that piano, or the resident ghost?”
A surprised twinkle lit his blue eyes. He sat back down in his chair with the first hint of a smile. “Definitely the ghost. Watch out for her. She plays at the oddest hours and has been known to leave candles burning in the most unlikely places.”
“A raven-haired beauty. From her clothing and hairstyle, I deduce that she’s from the previous century. Which is strange when you consider that I only built the house ten years ago.”
Nicole laughed. His smile was charming. His accent was so lovely, she could listen to it all day long. Maybe there was nothing to be afraid of after all…” (pp. 24-25)
Did I like it then? Yes, it was a very pleasant reading. Easy, light and sometimes foreseeable, but a real delight, a gripping romantic tale.
First time I like a vampire. More than like, actually. Obvious, I know: he was very tall, dark haired, blue-eyed and British. And much more.


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