*3.5 - 4 stars*
This novel follows a complicated and interesting relation between Beatrice, a young woman and 500 year old vampire, Dr. Giovanni Vecchio as they set out to discover the secrets of the past and, perhaps, some love along the way. From the University library halls in Texas, to Greek islands, and South American retreat, Beatrice and Gio find themselves on a quest that will test them in many ways…
It is a wonderful debut novel by Elizabeth Hunter. Creative and well-written, it is an easy and enjoyable read. I picked this book based on a friend’s recommendation, and I would recommend it to others, especially since book #1 is available free on Kindle and the series is now complete at 4 books total. The novel is part mystery, part paranormal romance, and dialogue is often filled with fun and sarcastic lines that make the book that more enjoyable.
Beatrice is a strong, independent heroine. I really enjoyed her character, and loved her often “spicy” comments, especially towards Giovanni. She certainly held her own, against many male characters, who were often older and more powerful than her. The only downfall of hers, that probably was more of a necessary plot device, was her sudden mid-book reliance on Gio, which eventually led to a rift in their relation.
Giovanni, on the other hand, was a classic male hero – often found in the modern PNR novels. A handsome professor type, rare books dealer, with money to spend; he hides many secrets, but when Beatrice comes along he slowly starts to peel off his layers for her. He certainly had all the “required” qualities of the literary hero, and he played well against Beatrice, but there was something about him that just didn’t click for me – perhaps, I don’t go for the Italian “perfect male specimens” – too much perfection for my taste.
The other supporting characters were interesting: from Caspar – Gio’s butler, and Isadora – B’s grandmother, who form a cute relation of their own, to Carwyn and Tenzin – the two vampire friends of Gio’s. Carwyn, by far was my most favorite character – he was lovable, funny, and his nights at the library with B, passing notes to each other – were simply hilarious. I wish there is more Carwyn in the following books – he certainly deserves a story of his own.
At the end, the story was interesting and captivating. I felt involved in Beatrice and Gio’s story and look forward to their future adventures together. Few downfalls of this novel: 1) copy-editing – this book certainly could have used it – there were a lot of little mistakes, but otherwise the writing was good. I guess you can’t complain when it’s free? 2) I felt there was no real resolution to the story – it seemed that neither Gio nor Beatrice really ended up with what they were looking for – so it is my expectation that the following books will find our characters on a continued quest and provide some needed answers. Without giving anything further away, I would recommend this novel to those looking for a good PNR story. Happy reading!